Presidential election 2019 in Ukraine. Monitoring of “Uspishna Varta”

Presidential election 2019 in Ukraine. Monitoring of “Uspishna Varta”. January 20-27, 2019

The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform was registered with the Central Election Commission (CEC) as an official observer during the 2019 presidential elections. All the information collected by us will be included in our reports and published on our website: https://uspishna-varta.com/en

According to the results of observation between January 21st-27th, the following results were recorded.

Managing the election process. Currently, the CEC as a whole works effectively and complies with all deadlines established by law. The process of registering candidates takes place in accordance with legislative requirements. As of January 25th, the Commission has registered 20 candidates for the post of President of Ukraine. Registration was denied to 9 candidates due to significant errors in the submitted documents or failure to pay the deposit.

Voter registration. The preliminary list of voters in the presidential election on March 31st includes 35,625,855,000 people, but this number is not final and will change several times. This is the data of the State Voter Register from December 31st 2018.

Conditions for the implementation of campaigning. In the framework of the presidential electoral campaign in March 2019, observers record the following violations as a part of the campaign of candidates:

The distribution of the campaign materials of the registered presidential candidates without the initial data demanded by the law (circulation, the client, the organization that carried out printing). The distribution of such materials (billboards, leaflets) was recorded by the following candidates: A. Sadovoy, A. Shevchenko, Yu. Boyko, S. Kaplin, E. Murayev, Yu. Tymoshenko, A. Gritsenko, V. Skotsyk, O. Bogomolets.

Hidden campaigning (meetings between deputies from parties whose candidates are running for office and employees of public institutions, holding charity events, etc.).

Placing the campaign materials of the current President Poroshenko (before his nomination) in the premises of government and communal institutions. Such cases were recorded in Vinnytsia, Rovno, and Zaporozhye. According to the law on presidential elections, it is prohibited to use the premises of state and local authorities for electoral campaigning (part 20 of article 64) and placing campaign materials and political advertising inside them (part 21 of article 64)

In addition, in the Odessa region the activity of the “Mobile Polyclinic”, which provides free medical examinations and patient consultations under the auspices of President Poroshenko, was documented. In the villages of the Lvov region residents are invited to discuss the development plan of villages on the initiative of the President. Such activities bear signs of indirect campaigning for Petro Poroshenko as a potential presidential candidate.

In a number of regions of Ukraine (Sumy, Odessa, Lugansk) the carrying out of a so-called "Sociological survey" regarding the willingness to vote for the current president Poroshenko was recorded. Formally, it is conducted not by the party headquarters of the “Bloc of Petro Poroshenko”, but by the public organization “Institute for the Development and Promotion of Democracy” (established in December 2018). As journalistspreviously found out, employees of budgetary institutions are involved in conducting such a survey on a fee basis. According to the election law (part 6 of article 64), the conclusion of paid agreements for electoral campaigning with voters at the expense of the election fund is prohibited. In this case, hidden campaign activities are actually carried out under the guise of sociological research and outside the framework of the expenses of the electoral fund.

In a number of regions (Kherson, Dnepr, Cherkassy, etc.) the damaging of the campaign materials (billboards) of a number of presidential candidates was recorded. In some cases, representatives of the right-wing radical group “C14” reported about damaging the billboards of opposition candidates (Vilkul, Murayev) on their social network pages. Such actions may fall under part 2 of article 157 of the Criminal Code - impeding the activities of the electoral process.

Observers. As of January 25th, the CEC granted permission to 88 public organizations (full list here) to have their official observers present at the elections. The registration of observers from foreign states and international organizations has also begun. On January 25th the CEC registered official observers from the Federal Republic of Germany.

At the same time, human rights activists are concerned about the provision of observer status to right-wing paramilitary groups (“National Druzhina”, “Governmental Initiative of Yarosh”). The participation of these groups, which had previously repeatedly participated in acts of aggression against dissidents in Ukraine, can lead to candidates and voters being intimidated, as well as to forced behaviour at polling stations on election day.

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