In November, potential candidates for the President of Ukraine have been active in their public activities accompanied by various forms of campaigning in 18 of 25 regions of Ukraine. This information was shared on 29 November press-conference by Head of the Board of Civil Network OPORA Olha Aivazovska and OPORA's analysts Oleksandr Kliuzhev and Oleksandr Neberykut.

Although the Presidential campaign hasn't officially started yet, the level and variety of public events, participated by a growing number of potential candidates, gives us the grounds to say this is a full-scale early election campaign.

“The election campaign is on a full swing, judging from the scale of events organized in regions. While in September potential candidates have been developing a network, and now we may say that this process is about to end. The list of candidates, who are ready to compete, is more or less fixed,” – Oleksandr Kliuzhev said.

According to Olha Aivazovska, the organization noticed active public involvement of potential candidates in 18 of 25 regions of Ukraine in November 2018, accompanied by various forms of campaigning activities. Outdoor advertising is the most popular type of campaigning, used by potential candidates in November. The leaders in amount of outdoor advertising are the same candidates, who used it the most in the previous reporting period: Yuliia Tymoshenko, Petro Poroshenko and Andrii Sadovyi.

“This advertising, according to our information, is funded from state financing of political parties, what is proven by preliminary data from political parties, except for Petro Poroshenko. It is quite difficult to provide the access to information about financing sources of this advertising and its division based on the content and context of direct presidential responsibilities,” - she stated.

Ms. Aivazovska has also added that key potential candidates demonstrate high level of personal involvement in early campaigning efforts, setting up direct communication with voters and local elites during regular regional visits.

“Oleksandr Shevchenko became a November leader in this aspect of early campaigning. Thus, he made 11 visits in 9 oblasts of Ukraine, explaining such activities as internal party primaries. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko visited 8 oblasts, Yuliia Tymoshenko – 7. Arsenii Yatseniuk, who had also made frequent visits, entered the list of active potential candidates,” – Ms. Aivazovska said.

The following potential candidates visited the biggest number of settlements: Oleh Liashko (18), Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (13), Yuliia Tymoshenko (12), and Oleksandr Shevchenko (11). At the same time, Yuliia Tymoshenko has organized the biggest number of events during her regional visits (28 events) in November.

There is also a problem that public officials participate in events organized during regional visits of potential candidates. Besides that, OPORA has noticed around 70 individuals visiting regions, which could be characterized as VIP campaigners of potential candidates. Most of them (23 persons) are Members of Parliament. The majority of visits were one-time visits. Maryna Poroshenko travelled the most often. Thus, she visited 5 regions (Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Poltava, Chernihiv, and Zhytomyr oblasts) to present the program of inclusive education. According to the data from observers, she didn’t participate in campaigning events. Oleksandr Ponomariov visited 4 regions (Ternopil, Zaporizhia, Rivne, and Chernivtsi oblasts), where he performed on public events with participation of Yuliia Tymoshenko.

In September-November 2018, OPORA has noticed that the number of pre-electoral charities has increased, including activities of charitable organizations (funds).

According to the Analyst of Civil Network OPORA Oleksandr Neberykut, almost one third of charitable events (41 of 144), organized by parties and candidates, which will probably participate in the future presidential and parliamentary elections, do have campaigning features and should be considered as early campaigning. Local party cells and charitable organizations, which are connected with MPs and parties, use open or undercover material influence on voters the most often.

The biggest number of charitable initiatives, which have features of campaigning, was noticed lately in Zakarpattia oblast (13 events), as well as Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytsk, and Donetsk oblasts. At the same time, pre-electoral charity is used the least in Rivne and Sumy oblasts. As for activities of potential presidential candidates, they were not directly involved in charitable activities, but such events were often related indirectly to electoral interests of Petro Poroshenko (19 events) Yuliia Tymoshenko (14), Oleksandr Shevchenko (10) and Andrii Sadovyi (9).

At the same time, around 50% of all charitable activities, which OPORA's observers have noticed over the last three months, were conducted not at the scale of an oblast, but stayed within electoral constituencies of the certain MPs.

According to Electoral Programs Coordinator at Civil Network OPORA Olha Aivazovska, there will be no influence on presidential campaign, if the martial law is not declared.

At the same time, she said that the Parliament should amend the law on local elections, so that united territorial communities, where the CEC may stop election process because of the martial law, would clearly understand that it will be re-appointed or restored.

For comment, please contact:

Olha Aivazovska, Head of the Board of the Civil Network OPORA

(044) 591 44 44


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