In November, OPORA continued the monitoring of the pre-election situation in the regions of Ukraine, and analyzed the course and content of the early campaigning of prospective candidates and the related political parties and organizations. Civil observation of OPORA is a kind of proactive activities of the network intended to produce the unbiased evaluation of the preparation process and the conduct of election.  The goal of the observation is identification of key challenges in the electoral process, developing the evidence, and preventing fraud through comprehensive public control, both during the official course of election, and also during the period between the election.


The budget administrative resource, which consists in using budget funds and means in favor of individual parties and candidates, is one of the most dangerous breaches of the electoral process standards. After all, the abuse of such a kind of administrative resource often occurs without any breach of the formal requirements of the law, but it has devastating consequences for the competitiveness of the election. 


On the eve of the official launch of the Presidential election campaign in Ukraine in December 2019, the Civil Network OPORA presents its preliminary analysis of Ukraine's compliance with the recommendations from national and international observation organizations, international non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, the diplomatic representatives of the partner countries of Ukraine on elections. With the approach of elections crucial for the democratic development of the country, it is important to conduct the audit of the status of meeting the observers' recommendations. Despite the politically motivated prolongation of the full-fledged election reform in Ukraine, the state still has a chance to improve law and practices before 2019 presidential elections.


Political parties took a great interest in the first local elections held in 252 united territorial communities on October, 29 and December, 24, 2017. These elections also show that the government faces significant challenges on the way to establishing adequate electoral standards. On October, 29, 2017, mayors of UTCs and deputies to local councils were elected in 201 territorial communities, while on December, 24 – in 51 territorial communities.


On 29 October 2017, the first elections in 201 united territorial communities will take place. The election process started on 9 September covering territorial communities in all oblasts of Ukraine. The largest number of united territorial community elections will take place in Dnipropetrovska (19) and Volynska (19) oblasts, while in both Zakarpatska and Mykolaivska oblasts, elections will take place in only one community.


The major problem in the end of the voting day is still the issuance of ballots without passport verification, despite the percentage of such incidents is much lower, reaching only 3.3% compared to the first half of the election day. In most cases, OPORA's observers prevented the commitment of such criminal offenses. However, even though independent observers respond to such violations, the illegitimate issuance of ballot papers is tolerated by election commissions. Moreover, there were even attempts to legitimize such actions by collegial decisions of commissions.


Observers of Civil Network OPORA continue watching the voting process and the functioning of precinct election commissions in the first local elections in united territorial communities.  According to the data gathered by OPORA on the basis of statistically-based sampling as of 12:00 PM, the major violations detected by observers are attempts to issue ballots without passport verification. Thus, such incidents were detected at 7.4% of PECs (particularly in Sumy and Zhytomyr oblasts). Ballot papers shall be issued to the voters exclusively after they present their passports or a temporary Ukrainian citizenship certificate. 92.6% of election precincts consistently follow this regulation.


According to OPORA's data, received from a statistically-based sampling of polling stations, 85,6% of PECs started their preparatory meetings not earlier than 45 minutes before voting, providing observers and other electoral subjects an opportunity to watch the preparation of polling stations to the voting. However, 14,4% of PECs started their preparatory meetings at 7:15 AM. When the PECs ignore the legislative requirements concerning the timing of preparatory meetings on the election day, electoral subjects can't verify the number of ballot papers at an election precinct, examine ballot boxes and sign control sheets, which are put to the corresponding boxes.


With the election day in 201 united territorial communities coming closer, the candidates became more active in their election campaigns. In particular, there are more incidents of pre-electoral charity, which may be classified as indirect bribery. 


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