The amendments (Article 64) make a significant change in the election system for national minority candidates in local elections. Previously, the election system for local elections was a proportional representation system that required mandates to be allocated to candidates on lists in accordance with special rules to ensure that members of a national minority received a number of mandates corresponding to census population strength. The amendments raise concerns about equal suffrage and non-discrimination as they create separate electoral systems on the same ballot. One system is a proportional representation system for the general population of election contestants and the second system is a plurality or “first-past-the post-system” (FPTP) for national minority candidates. Under the proposed new Article 13.14 of the Election Law, a voter has one vote and chooses an election, either the PR election or FPTP election for national minorities, in which the voter will participate. The “weight” of vote and “equality” of suffrage depends on which election the voter opts for when the voter marks the ballot. This joint opinion does not provide a mathematical analysis of the potential consequences of the hybrid PR/FPTP two elections/one vote ballot system. However, in general, it can be seen that there may be some issues presented concerning equal suffrage and non-discrimination in the exercise of suffrage rights. It is recommended that there be careful consideration before this system is adopted and that potential adverse consequences, both mathematically and legally, are evaluated fully.
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