The observers of “Uspishna Varta” are concerned about Poroshenko’s use of his administrative resources during the electoral process

The observers of “Uspishna Varta” are concerned about Poroshenko’s use of his administrative resources during the electoral process

The observers of the public organization “Uspishna Varta” are concerned that President Petro Poroshenko uses his official position during his trips to regions, since such trips are electoral campaigning. This was reported during a round table on February 28th in the press center of “Ukrainski Novini” by the representative of the organisation Nataliya Natalina.

The event was attended by the official observers of “Uspishna Varta” from different regions of Ukraine, who discussed the main violations of the electoral process that were recorded in the first two months of the campaign, as well as recommendations to ensure that the 2019 Ukrainian presidential elections are competitive and transparent.

According to Natalina, a number of serious violations have already been recorded during the current electoral campaign. “Concerning the current electoral campaign, a number of trends and violations have already been recorded that cause observers to be concerned in terms of influencing the free will of citizens,” she said. According to her, seeing the rules of the game change during the electoral process is alarming.

“Attempts are being made to amend the Criminal Code in order to toughen liability for election-related violations, and a law has been adopted to limit the participation of observers in the electoral process. Although all changes in the legislation must be made before the start of the electoral process, so that everyone can understand how the process will take place before it starts,” said Natalina.

She noted that radical organizations interfere in the work of the district election commissions. “The case of Dnepr - we do not exclude that this may happen in other regions,” she added. According to her, the number of Presidential candidates complicates the electoral process and affects the competitiveness of elections. In her opinion, the next presidential election should stipulate a qualification for candidates - a certain level of electoral support for the candidate at the time of nomination or a certain number of signatures of citizens in support of the candidate.

As a positive, Natalina cited the simplification of the procedure of temporarily changing the place of voting for internally displaced persons by the Central Election Commission. She noted that in past elections there were problems in this regard, in particular among Crimeans. According to her, the obstacles placed in front of campaigning are minor. “Defacing billboards and attacks on campaign tents...A number of such violations by right-wing radical groups are not investigated and remain unpunished,” said Natalina.

The public organization is concerned about the President's use of his powers and administrative resources during his trips to regions. “This can be regarded as electoral campaigning,” said Natalina. The third point that “Uspishna Varta” finds alarming is the problem of voter bribery, including through the legal payment of social assistance and the monetization of subsidies. “This factor can significantly affect the will of citizens,” stressed the speaker.

Observers are also concerned about the fact that law enforcement bodies are involved in politics on the side of specific candidates. “We submit all violations that we record to law enforcement bodies. We pass on all our conclusions to our international partners,” summed up Natalina. On election day on March 31st “Uspishna Varta” will monitor the electoral process at the precinct election commissions.

At the initiative of the public activist and journalist Dmitry Vasilets, monitoring is also being prepared on election day at foreign polling stations too. Vasilets emphasized that in the event that parties and public organizations don't nominate their observers there, then the results of voting will be completely under the control of only employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The official observer of “Uspishna Varta” Artur Zhurbenko noted that the upcoming elections will be the most manipulative in the history of independent Ukraine. According to Olga Sagan from Lutsk, the reason for such a large number of violations is the low level of legal culture among the population of Ukraine, as well as the manipulation of public opinion by the media.

Also, during their speeches, the participants talked about the electoral campaign in Lvov and Kharkov, drew attention to the "war of sociology" and the standoff within Ukrainian law enforcement bodies, and expressed concern about the appearance in the register of voters of about a million previously unaccounted citizens and the objectivity of vote counting.

Human rights activists presented an interim report on the monitoring of the electoral process for January-February 2019 concerning preparations for the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election and violations that may affect the free will of citizens and the results of the elections. Human rights activists noted that they will send the prepared report to the Ukrainian authorities, international observation missions, and headquarters of candidates.

As was previously reported by the human rights activists of “Uspishna Varta”, on January 18th 2019, the "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform received permission from the CEC to have its official observers in the elections.


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