Oleh Pankevych
Deputy of Ukraine
Member of the political council of "Svoboda"

April 17 2014 At the initiative of Oleh Pankevych was held a round table on Ukrainian migrants' voting rights

April 15, 2014 in the conference hall of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine was held a round table on "Ways of eliminating discrimination of voting rights of Ukrainian citizens abroad". The event was initiated by the MP of Ukraine from Svoboda Party, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for European Integration Oleh Pankevych.

During the roundtable the draft law of Ukraine № 4595 "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on ensuring voting abroad" was discussed. In his opening remarks, the event moderator Pankevych Oleh said that the adoption of this bill is extremely important for protection of the voting rights of Ukrainians abroad.

The roundtable participants discussed the creation of new polling stations for Ukrainian immigrants' voting; because of the small number of districts process of expression of will is much more difficult. Chairman of the Association of Ukrainians in the region Murcia (Spain) Larysa Ponamarenko said that the distance from her residence to the nearest polling station in Malaga (Spain) is 460 km. "The polling station itself, located in our consulate, doesn't not accommodate everyone who wants to vote. In 2012, voted 1200 voters, but this year we added to the voters list 1200 more persons. Polling station is located on the second floor of a dwelling house - it creates a lot of inconvenience. During the last two weeks in Murcia I collected about a thousand signatures asking us to open a separate station", - said Larysa Ponomarenko.

The bill proposes to increase the number of polling stations. This requires appeals of Ukrainian NGOs "based on at least 500 petitions of Ukrainian citizens on the opening of the polling station at the place of compact residence within the same local government area".

The Head of Migration Service "Caritas Ukraine" Hryhorii Seleshchuk said that the next step after the adoption of this document should be a bill on distance voting. "The world practice has postal, electronic voting. Providing these opportunities is another step towards the realization of the will of every Ukrainian", - said Hryhorii Seleshchuk.

During the roundtable were also raised issues on amendments to laws on election regarding amendments to voting list on the election day. This idea belongs to the Deputy Chairman of the Central Union of Ukrainians in Germany Oleksii Omelianenko. "We had a precedent - said civic activist - when during the elections in 2010 changes in lists could be made on election day, in Frankfurt am Main voted 860 Ukrainians. In 2012, when the final changes could be made only six days before the voting, in Germany voted 340 people. Norm when a person on the same day will have the opportunity to be included into the lists of voters will decide 80% issues on voting of Ukrainians abroad".

Director of the Consular Department of the MFA of Ukraine Andrii Sybiha said that the roundtable was a very important and useful initiative. "We should hear each other and exchange views - said the official. - Overseas legally live about four million Ukrainian - we have to take into account their right to vote".

Press Service of Deputy of Ukraine Oleh Pankevych