Opora

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.

SUMMARY

18 out of 25 regions of Ukraine showed signs of active public activities of prospective candidates

Despite the fact that the Presidential campaign has not entered the official phase yet, the intensity and variety of public events engaging the record high increase of the prospective candidates permits ground to state the full-scale unfolding of the early campaigning. In November, 2018, in 18 out of 25 regions of Ukraine, there was recorded intense public activities of prospective candidates resorting to varied forms of campaigning at the same time.

Outdoor political advertising, as the most popular means of communication of prospective candidates with the voters in November, extended beyond the oblast centers, and covered also smaller locations. The leaders in this segment of advertising, the same as in other reporting periods, are Yuliya Tymoshenko, Petro Poroshenko, and Andriy Sadovyi. The early campaigning with the use of outdoor advertising media by other prospective candidates has smaller scale, geographically, or remains local only. As to other segments of early campaigning (printed materials and audiovisual media), Yuliya Tymoshenko prevails, along with Oleh Liashko, Andriy Sadovyi, and Petro Poroshenko.

Key prospective candidates also show high levels of personal engagement into the early campaigning by establishing direct communication with the voters and local elites during regular regional visits. In November, the leader in this aspect of early campaigning was Oleksandr Shevchenko who had 11 separate visits within 9 oblasts of Ukraine. He presented such activities as internal party primaries. Valentyn Nalyvaychenko visited 8 oblasts, whereas Yuliya Tymoshenko covered 7 regions. Compared to the previous period, the list of active prospective candidates added Arseniy Yatseniuk who was also a rather frequent visitor to the local areas. As to the number of personally visited localities within oblasts, the most intense early campaigning was conducted by Oleh Liashko (18 settlements), Valentyn Nalyvaychenko (13), Yuliya Tymoshenko (12), and Oleksandr Shevchenko (11). At the same time, the most intense agenda of visits in November was typical for Yuliya Tymoshenko. She conducted the most of individual events during her visits to all oblasts (28 events).

During the regional visits of prospective candidates, there also emerges an issue of participation of local government officials in the joint events. It is equally unacceptable in terms of maintaining the parity principle and political neutrality, irrespective of whether such participation was voluntary or due to any possible political or managerial influence on the officials. Thus, for instance, during the 5 visits to different regions of Ukraine by Arseniy Yatseniuk, his events were attended by high officials. During Yuliya Tymoshenko’s visits to local regions, there were representatives of several oblast councils (Lviv, Chernivtsi,  Ternopil oblasts). Some cases of engaging local government officials were also recorded during the visits of other prospective candidates. There still remains an open issue about a clear distinction of political and occupational activities of the President of Ukraine during the coming electoral campaign.

OPORA recorded visits to the regions of about 70 persons

Activities of persons who could be treated as VIP-electioneerers in favour of prospective candidates, in November, stayed on the same level as in the previous month. OPORA recorded visits to the regions of about 70 persons, whereas the largest group (23 persons) is made of the people’s deputies. The absolute majority of visitors had one-time visits. The most frequent traveler was Maryna Poroshenko who visited 5 regions (Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Poltava, Chernihiv, and Zhytomyr oblasts), as part of the roadshow for inclusive education program. According to observers’ estimates, she had not been engaged in campaigning activities. Another very active visitor was Oleksandr Ponomarov who visited 4 regions (Ternopil, Zaporizhzhya, Rivne, and Chernivtsi oblasts), where he gave concerts within the agenda of public events engaging Yuliya Tymoshenko.

Of all the cases of charitable activities by the parties and the candidates prospectively running for the future presidential and parliamentary election recorded by OPORA, some one third of the events (41 out of 144) were de-facto accompanied by campaigning. Key subjects exerting either explicit or implicit material influence on the voters are still the local party structures and charities related to people’s deputies and the parties. In terms of activities of prospective candidates for the Presidential office, the charitable efforts have not been conducted with their direct participation, but indirectly, such cases were most often related to electoral interests of Petro Poroshenko (19 cases) and Yuliya Tymoshenko (14 cases), and to a fewer extent, were conducted in favour of Oleksandr Shevchenko (10 cases) and Andriy Sadovyi (9 cases).

At the same time, about 50% of all charitable activities recorded by OPORA observers over the last three months were organized not on the scale of the entire oblast but were limited to the boundaries of constituencies of the people’s deputies.

The chaotic and uncontrollable unfolding of the early campaigning accompanied with the unregulated expenses highlights the problem of the lack of effective laws, institutional safeguards and a system to counteract abuse and manipulations in the context of actual illegal electoral activities of the parties and of prospective candidates.  Clarifications coming from the CEC about the unacceptable acts and problematic aspects of the electoral process play an important informative role but do not in themselves cause any changes in the established common practices.

Martial Law in the Context of Election Process

The discussion about the need and peculiarities of introducing the martial law was not accompanied by any risk analysis and the assessment of the electoral process needs.

Implementing the policy of the martial law during the 30-day period in 10 oblasts of Ukraine could collide with the unfolding of the early campaigning and the process of preparing for the official start of the Presidential race. It is going to have the unpredictable consequences, and pose a risk of failure to respect all fundamental rights and exercise the principles of democratic election. In addition, it would degrade the expected effect from introducing the martial law in the context of providing for defense of Ukraine and safeguarding security for citizens.

The discussion about the need and peculiarities of introducing the martial law was not supported by any risk analysis and assessment of electoral process needs within the new legal framework, in order to take into account the security-related, political, and legal factors in the context of running the first local election in amalgamated hromadas and the future presidential election.

At the same time, the response to the conflict due the politicization of the process of introducing the martial law confirmed the firm social perception on the importance of consolidating democratic practices and social demand for the unconditional conduct of election in line with the provisions of the Ukrainian law and security guarantees.

Early Campaigning of Prospective Candidates for the Presidential Office in Ukraine, and of Political Parties

In November, 2018, the prospective candidates for the Presidential office in Ukraine and their political teams were actively campaigning to the voters to win their support.

In November, 2018, OPORA observers evaluated the intensity of pre-electoral campaign. The evaluation included the analysis of information about the number of events run by political teams and visits of their leaders, their representation in the segment of outdoor advertising, in media, dissemination of printed materials, and organization of mass events.

The generalizing assessment of the scale of various forms of activities of future candidates implies intense nature of the campaign in 18 out of 25 regions of Ukraine (the AR Crimea and Sevastopol were not taken into account due to their temporary occupation). OPORA observers identified the low intensity of early campaigning in Transcarpathia, Poltava, Kherson, Khmelnytskyi, Odesa, and Dnipropetrovsk regions.  Varied levels of developing the campaigns in the regions are attributed to the peculiarities of local party organizations and their activities, the rate of visits of political leaders, different volume and pace of placing political advertising in the media.

TOP-3 prospective candidates who posted external political advertising on a large scale: Yuliya Tymoshenko, Petro Poroshenko, Andriy Sadovyi

Civil Network OPORA conducted the monitoring of activities of prospective candidates in a number of segments of the early pre-electoral campaigning: 1) placing outdoor political advertising; 2) early campaigning in audiovisual and printed media; 3) dissemination of printed materials on the early campaigning.  Observers evaluated the spread of such forms of de-facto campaigning in different localities in the regions, the scale of events, and the provisional scale of the political advertising placed and the materials disseminated. The research findings reveal major trends in the candidates unfolding the de-facto pre-electoral campaigning,  and shall not be taken as the comprehensive evaluation of all activities of political leaders. The list of prospective candidates with their activities under evaluation shall not be considered as complete.

According to OPORA, the Top-3 prospective candidates who were posting outdoor political advertising on a large scale include the head of the deputies faction “Batkivshchyna” Union  Yuliya Tymoshenko (mass placing of outdoor advertising in 25 regions), the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko (24), and Lviv city mayor Andriy Sadovyi (18).

Mass placements of outdoor political advertising of Yuliya Tymoshenko and Petro Poroshenko covered all or almost all regions of Ukraine. OPORA observers recorded a sporadic (not en-mass) nature of political advertising of Petro Poroshenko in Zaporizhzhya oblast, some individual cases were recorded for the outdoor advertising in favour of Andriy Sadovyi in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Cherkasy, Odesa, and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts.

The mass placement of outdoor advertising means that this form of early campaigning covered a significant number of settlements in oblasts, while the volume of placing the advertisements are large. Some sporadic cases of placing outdoor advertising or the lack thereof were not taken into account. It must be noted that the outdoor advertising in November, 2018, was the most popular means of communication of prospective candidates with the voters.

The head of the deputies faction RPL, Oleh Liashko (15 regions), leader of the “Popular Front” Arseniy Yatseniuk (13), leader of “Osnova” party Serhiy Taruta (12), and head of “Hromadianska Pozytsiya” Anatoliy Hrytsenko (10) were represented with the outdoor advertising less than Yuliya Tymoshenko, Petro Poroshenko, or Andriy Sadovyi. However, their outdoor advertising was massively placed in a big number of oblasts (from 15 to 10 regions, respectively).  

Some prospective candidates only bound themselves with mass outdoor advertising in certain regions. In particular, the outdoor advertising of Oleksandr Vilkul, one of the leaders of the “Opposition Block” party, is represented rather massively only in Kyiv, Luhansk, Mykolayiv, and Poltava oblasts, with only some preliminary signs in the city of Kyiv.  Meanwhile, the outdoor advertising with the message “President is the Servant of the People” associated with the art director of the Studio “Quarter 95” Volodymyr Zelenskyi also started massively coming out in a number of regions (Volyn, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk oblasts, etc.). Despite the unequal distribution of political leaders in the outdoor advertising of different regions in Ukraine,  currently, there is not enough evidence to conclude about their unequal interest in winning trust of voters in various macro-regions. The differences might be due to local peculiarities of electoral entities and the activities of local party organizations.

Activities of Prospective Candidates in the Segment of Outdoor Advertising

Prospective candidateNumber of regions with mass placement of the outdoor advertising for the candidate  (sporadic cases are not taken into account)
Yuliya Tymoshenko25
Petro Poroshenko24
Andriy Sadovyi18
Oleh Liashko15
Arseniy Yatseniuk13
Serhiy Taruta12
Anatoliy Hrytsenko10
Volodymyr Zelenskyi5
Oleksandr Vilkul4

OPORA observers recorded rather intense practices to disseminate among voters the printed materials for early campaigning in favour of certain political leaders. 

In 18 regions out of 25, the process of disseminating the printed materials of the AUU “Batkivshchyna” and Yuliya Tymoshenko is massive. According to provisional estimates, this political power is the most active to use this particular way of communication with citizens. Second most active player in this segment of early campaigning is Andriy Sadovyi and the “Self-Reliance” Union. Political powers of Oleh Liashko (Liashko Radical Party), Arseniy Yatseniuk (“Popular Front”), Petro Poroshenko (“BPP “Solidarity”), and Oleksandr Shevchenko (UKROP) are less active on that, but still they rather substantially disseminate printed materials of early campaigning to interact with the voters. As to the number of regions with massive dissemination of printed materials for early campaigning, 7 and 8 position belong to Andriy Biletskyi, the leader of the “National Corps” and Anatoliy Hrytsenko, leader of “Hromadyanska pozytsiya.”

Activities of prospective candidates or their local teams in disseminating printed campaigning materials with the de-facto campaigning content

Prospective candidateNumber of regions with the massive dissemination of materials (sporadic cases are not taken into account)
Yuliya Tymoshenko18
Andriy Sadovyi13
Oleh Liashko10
Arseniy Yatseniuk10
Petro Poroshenko9
Oleksandr Shevchenko9
Andriy Biletskyi7
Anatoliy Hrytsenko

6

On the regional level, according to OPORA’s provisional data, prospective candidates use audiovisual media (television and radio), and printed media less intensely than the outdoor advertising and dissemination of printed materials. In the segment of early campaigning on local television and radio, the “Batkivshchyna” AUU (Yuliya Tymoshenko), Oleh Liashko Radical Party, and “Petro Poroshenko Block” are the most actively represented. These prospective candidates are massively represented on television and radio in most regions.

Activities of prospective candidates in early campaigning in audiovisual media (TV and radio)

Prospective candidatesNumber of regions with en-mass placement of early campaigning on TV and radio (sporadic cases are not taken into account)
Yuliya Tymoshenko9
Oleh Liashko8
Petro Poroshenko6
Vadym Rabinovich4
Andriy Sadovyi4
Anatoliy Hrytsenko2
Yuriy Boyko2
Oleksandr Shevchenko2

In the segment of regional printed media, the most widely represented prospective candidates are Yuliya Tymoshenko, Petro Poroshenko, Oleh Liashko, and their political actors.

Activities of candidates in placing early campaigning materials in the regional printed media

Prospective candidateNumber of regions with en-mass placement of early campaigning in the printed media (sporadic cases are not taken into account)
Yuliya Tymoshenko16
Petro Poroshenko13
Oleh Liashko7
Serhiy Taruta5
Anatoliy Hrytsenko4
Vadym Rabinovich3
Oleksandr Shevchenko3

Assessment of activities of candidates proves the prospective candidates unfold the full-fledged campaigning before the start of electoral process. The activities are legal, in case of running costs therefor come from the lawful funding sources, and provided that other legal requirements are met. However, the practices of conducting early campaigning by prospective participants of election produces challenges for the process of keeping in line with the parity principle and transparency of funding electoral and political processes. If one candidate starts campaigning only after the official registration he might find him/herself in a non-competitive situation as compared to the candidate who had run the de-facto large-scale campaign before the start of election and without establishing the electoral fund.

Pursuant to the Law of Ukraine “On Election of the President of Ukraine,” the pre-electoral campaigning shall be launched by the candidate to the Presidential post in Ukraine on the next day upon his/her registration by the Central Election Commission, and shall end at 12:00 p.m. on the last Friday before the election day.

The electoral law sets a number of restrictions to run pre-election campaign, including also a ban to cover the expenses not from the electoral fund. This regulation, among other things, shall guarantee parity for the candidates.

An important problem caused by the massive early campaigning is non-transparency and non-accountability of funding the events by prospective candidates. The early campaigning is run beyond the scope of electoral funds, while the funding sources and the scope of spending remain unknown. Particularly critical is the non-transparency of funding the early campaigning by the actors that are formally independent from political parties. At least, the parties are obliged to present comprehensive reports, pursuant to the Law of Ukraine “On Political Parties.” Similar reporting does not apply to informal political teams, individual political leaders, or quasi-civil initiatives.

Instead, the Law of Ukraine “On Political Parties” stipulates the list of rights of political parties based on their free activities within the scope provided by the Constitution of Ukraine and the Laws of Ukraine. The parties shall be entitled to publicly present and defend their positions on public and social matters, and use state-funded and non-governmental information media. In Ukraine, there are no time limitations, or formats for events of parties, or civil groups as to communication with voters before the official start of election.  

With account for the signs of incompatibility between keeping the parity standards for the candidates and massive early campaigning by prospective candidates, on November, 15, 2018, the Central Election Commission made a public statement. In the statement, the CEC called for all electoral actors not to do any early campaigning and consistently keep in line with the generally recognized standards for running the election, and to create conditions to run the genuinely competitive process. The Commission noted the lack of any legal mechanisms to respond to early campaigning of prospective candidates, but they reiterated the risk of abusing the parity principle between the candidates (available at: http://www.cvk.gov.ua/news/news_15112018.htm).  

OPORA stated the positive role of information clarifications of the CEC to actualize problematic aspects of electoral and inter-electoral process. Despite the dogmatic nature of some provisions of the CEC statement on early campaigning (the CEC statement title – “Early Campaigning Goes Beyond the Law”), the fact that the Commission initiated the practice to communicate with the voters on keeping with the electoral standards is an important initiative. In addition, OPORA calls for Verkhovna Rada to provide the full-fledged electoral reform that would include the issue of implementing efficient control over funding of political and electoral processes in Ukraine.

Visits of Prospective Presidential Candidates to the Oblasts of Ukraine

OPORA has traditionally traced the visits of the prospective and the registered candidates of Ukraine to the regions of Ukraine on the stage of early and official pre-electoral campaign. This aspect of monitoring enables establishing the facts of personal engagement of political leaders into the process of interaction with the voters, of development of local electoral structures and communicating with local political elites.

According to OPORA, in November, 2018, the largest number of regional visits was made by Oleksandr Shevchenko, the leader of party “Ukrainian Union of Patriots – UKROP”. This prospective candidate paid 11 separate visits that covered 9 oblasts of Ukraine. The busy schedule of Oleksandr Shevchenko’s visits was usually related to his participation in the internal party primaries. Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, leader of Civil Political Movement “Spravedlyvist”  visited 8 oblasts in this month. The people’s deputy of Ukraine Oleh Liashko had 8 separate visits within the territory of 6 oblasts. Meanwhile, Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of AUU “Batkivshchyna” visited 7 oblasts. Other candidates were less active on the regional level (see the Table below). It must be noted that in November, the President of Ukraine, a prospective candidate Petro Poroshenko, had only two trips. All visits of the Head of State were made in his official status. During the reporting period, the regions were rather actively visited by Arseniy Yatseniuk, leader of the “Popular Front” party, ex-Prime-Minister of Ukraine.

Intensity of Visits of Prospective Presidential Candidates to the Oblasts in Ukraine

CandidatesNumber of separate visits to the regionsNumber of regions the candidate covered at least in one visit
Oleksandr Shevchenko119
Valentyn Nalyvaychenko88
Oleh Liashko86
Yuliya Tymoshenko77
Yuriy Boyko54
Yuriy Derevyanko55
Anatoliy Hrytsenko55
Arseniy Yatseniuk55
Serhiy Taruta44
Roman Bezsmertnyi33
Ruslan Koshulynskyi33
Serhiy Kaplin33
Mishel Tereshchenko34
Petro Poroshenko22
Illya Kyva22
Dmytro Dobrodomov22
Andriy Biletskyi21

According to the number of personally visited settlements, the most intense early campaigning is run by Oleh Liashko (18), Valentyn Nalyvaychenko (13), Yuliya Tymoshenko (12), and Oleksandr Shevchenko (11).

Number of Settlements Visited by Prospective Candidates During all the Visits to the Regions Made in November, 2018

Prospective candidateNumber of the Visited Settlements in All Regions
Oleh Liashko18
Valentyn Nalyvaychenko13
Yuliya Tymoshenko12
Oleksandr Shevchenko11
Arseniy Yatseniuk7
Roman Bezsmertnyi6
Yuriy Derevyanko6
Ruslan Koshulynskyi6
Yuriy Boyko5
Anatoliy Hrytsenko5
Serhiy Taruta5
Petro Poroshenko4
Dmytro Dobrodomov4
Serhiy Kaplin3
Mishel Tereshchenko3
Illya Kyva2
Andriy Biletskyi2
Andriy Sadovyi1

Leader of the AUU “Batkivshchyna” Yuliya Tymoshenko had the largest number of events during the visits to all regions (28). Over 10 separate events were run by Oleh Liashko (22), Valentyn Nalyvaychenko (20), Arseniy Yatseniuk (17), Oleksandr Shevchenko (13), and Yuriy Derevyanko (12).

In order to identify the facts of abuse of principles of political impartiality by officials, OPORA evaluated their engagement with the early campaigning of prospective candidates. Therefore, attention is called by the activities of a former Prime-Minister of Ukraine, a representative of the “Popular Front” Arseniy Yatseniuk. During his 5 visits to different regions of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatseniuk took part in events attended by high officials.

In particular, on November, 7, 2018, Arseniy Yatseniuk,  the candidate for the position of the President of Ukraine, carried out the inspection of the bridge in the Obyizdnyi lane in the city of Kropyvnytskyi, attended by the Minister for Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelian, and head of Service of Roadways in Kirovohrad oblast Vadym Koyudenko. In the same oblast center, Arseniy Yatseniuk attended a sports event on the premises of the Physical Education Faculty of the Vynnychenko Central Ukrainian Pedagogical University, that was also attended by the Minister for Youth and Sports Ihor Zhdanov. Moreover, on November, 3, Arseniy Yatseniuk had a meeting with the representatives of the National Police and the State Service for Emergencies in Chernivtsi. The politician, together with the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov, head of the National Police of Ukraine Serhiy Kniazev, and head of the State Service for Emergencies Mykola Chechotkin, presented a new program for social welfare for police staff and emergency service staff. During his stay in Kharkiv, on November, 24, 2018, Yatseniuk had a meeting with the staff of the National Police of Ukraine, attended by the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov, and local government officials. According to provisional estimates of Civil Network OPORA, 10 out of 17 events conducted by Arseniy Yatseniuk in the regions were carried out jointly with officials of different ranks. Since the leader of the “Popular front” party has no official duties in the authorities, there comes an objective question on the need of clear distinction of political and official events during the visits to the regions by this politician.

The meetings of other prospective candidates were also sometimes attended by representatives of local authorities. For example, during visits to the regions of Yuliya Tymoshenko, her events were attended by representatives of a number of oblast councils (Lviv, Chernivtsi,  Ternopil oblasts). Usually, the meetings of the prospective candidate had no relation to activities of local authorities. In Myropil hromada of Zhytomyr oblast, the city mayor accompanied the people’s deputy of Ukraine, a former co-chair of the deputy faction “Opposition Block” Yuriy Boyko. Participation of officials in political events of prospective candidates is legal in case they were not organized by authorities and carried out outside working hours. However, even in case of complying with the formal restrictions, officials should maintain the principles of political impartiality.

In November, 2018, the President Petro Poroshenko visited Zhytomyr and Cherkasy oblasts, when in his official status. Petro Poroshenko’s visits included meetings with officials from local authorities, visits to military units, and communication with political and civil activist core of the regions. In case the Head of State runs for the coming election campaign, it is important to provide for clear distinction of his occupational and electoral activities, which would support parity of conditions and opportunities for the Presidential candidates in Ukraine.

Number of Separate Events Carried Out by Prospective Candidates During Their Visits to Settlements in All Regions

CandidateNumber of eventsNumber of events attended by the officialsNumber of events with no attendance of officials% of events engaging officials (positions could be of crucially different significance)
Yuliya Tymoshenko2832511%
Oleh Liashko222209%
Valentyn Nalyvaychenko200200%
Anatoliy Hrytsenko180180%
Arseniy Yatseniuk1710759%
Oleksandr Shevchenko130130%
Yuriy Derevyanko12090%
Roman Bezsmertnyi91811%
Ruslan Koshulynskyi82625%
Serhiy Taruta81513%
Yuriy Boyko73443%
Dmytro Dobrodomov7070%
Petro Poroshenko65183%
Mishel Tereshchenko5050%
Serhiy Kaplin43175%
Andriy Sadovyi3030%
Illya Kyva21150%
Mykola Kokhanivskyi2020%
Andriy Biletskyi2020%
Inna Bohoslovska1010%
Yevheniy Muraev1010%

Pre-electoral charitable activities

In the context of lack of proper legal regulation for the phenomenon of early campaigning, the process is accompanied not only with the uncontrollable dissemination of campaigning products and different forms of public activities of prospective candidates, but also by the unfolding of the so-called pre-electoral charitable activities. OPORA’s objective on this stage of observation was to analyze the infrastructure and key manifestations of pre-electoral charitable activities, the scale and intensity of their exploitation for the purpose of early campaigning.   

In the course of previous election campaigns, the charitable activities were massively used by candidates as a tool of implicit campaigning in the format of carrying out various one-time events, and also assumed the institutionally incorporated forms – as activities of charitable organizations. During the observation over the process of different subjects preparing for the Presidential election in Ukraine in September-November, 2018, OPORA recorded the growth in intensity of events of pre-electoral charity in different forms, including also through stirring up of activities of charitable organizations (funds).

From all the cases of charitable activities coming from parties and candidates who are the prospective participants of future presidential and parliamentary election, about one third of events (41 out of 144) have signs of campaigning and de-facto they shall be considered as early campaigning.

Key subjects exerting either explicit or implicit tangible influence on the voters are still the local party structures and charitable organizations related to people’s deputies and the parties. Most of cases of charitable activities identified by observers on this stage of electoral campaign are non-systemic in nature and are mostly carried out on behalf of the people’s deputies and the parties, but not directly by prospective candidates for the Presidential office. OPORA identified only an indirect link between the pre-electoral charity coming from different civil and party structures and the early campaigning of prospective presidential candidates.

A key form of politically related form of charitable activities are the officially registered charities which activities are regulated by the Law of Ukraine “On Charitable Activities and Charity Organizations.” Other kinds of institutionally active subjects of the pre-electoral charities are local organizations of political parties.

The key audience in the list of the target groups who receive assistance from charitable funds includes establishments and institutions (schools, hospitals, foster care schools, social care institutions), and individual persons, to a lesser extent.

Rendering goods and services is a dominant form of pre-electoral charitable activities, whereas the monetary form of assistance is a rare case but is also used, such as by way of presenting gift certificates to the winners of various contests.

A leader in the number of charitable initiatives with signs of campaigning implemented recently is the Transcarpathian oblast (13 cases), and also Dnipropetrovsk, Khmelnytskyi, and Donetsk oblasts. Instead, the least intense pre-election charity used as a technology for early campaigning is observed in Rivne and in Sumy oblasts.

In terms of activities of prospective presidential candidates, the charitable activities were not carried out with their personal attendance but such cases most often indirectly pertained to electoral interests of Petro Poroshenko (19 cases) and Yuliya Tymoshenko (14 cases), and in fewer cases, in favour of Oleksandr Shevchenko (10 cases), and Andriy Sadovyi (9 cases). In particular, charitable activities in favour of a prospective candidate Petro Poroshenko were carried out mostly by local party organizations of the “BPP “Solidarity” (such cases were recorded by observers in Donetsk, Vinnytsia, Dnipropetrovsk oblasts). Moreover, regional charitable events were conducted on behalf of the Poroshenko Fund but with no explicit signs of campaigning.   

Charitable activities that were indirectly used as an element of early campaigning in favour of the prospective presidential candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko were usually carried out by local party organizations or local deputies representing the AUU “Batkivshchyna” (such cases were most often recorded by observers in Transcarpathian and Luhansk oblasts).

The pre-election charity activities in favour of a prospective candidate Oleksandr Shevchenko are carried out on behalf of his personal charity fund which activities were recorded by observers in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, and Chernivtsi oblasts. 

“Self-Reliance” uses public charity events on the regional level, usually on behalf of the civil union, more seldom – on behalf of local organization of the political party. The events only have an indirect relation to the early campaigning of Andriy Sadovyi.  

A key indicator to the fact that the charitable activities were election-dependent and contained latent campaigning signs in favour of the MPs in the first place, is its territorial concentration within the one-mandate constituencies where the current deputies were elected from. About 50% of all charity activities recorded by the OPORA observers over the last three months were conducted not in the scale of the entire oblast but were limited to the constituency boundaries. The list of current deputies resorting to charity in the context of their political activities in the constituency on the most systemic basis includes the following:

  • Stepan Ivakhiv (“Patriots of Volhynia” Charity Union, Volyn oblast);
  • Oleh Kryshyn (Charity Union “Charity Fund of Kryshyn Oleh Yuriyovych,” Dnipropetrovsk oblast);
  • Vadym Nesterenko (Charity Union “Charity Fund “Your Native Land”, Dnipropetrovsk oblast);
  • Oleksandr Vilkul (“Ukrainian Prospects” Fund, Dnipropetrovsk oblast);
  • Boryslav Rozenblat (“Rozenblat Family Fund,” Zhytomyr oblast);
  • Kostiantyn Zhevaho (“Charity Fund of Poltava Mining and Processing Works,” Poltava oblast);
  • Dmytro Shentsev (Charity Union “Regional Charity Fund of Dmytro Shentsev,” Kharkiv oblast;
  • Dmytro Sviatash (Chairty Union “CF “Peresvet,” Kharkiv oblast);
  • Oleksandr Feldman (“Oleksandr Feldman Fund,” Kharkiv oblast);
  • Viktor Bondar (Charity Fund “Development of Native Land of Podillia,” Khmelnytskyi oblast);
  • Serhiy Labaziuk (Charity Fund of Serhiy Labaziuk “We are There For You,” Khmelnytskyi oblast);
  • Volodymyr Melnychenko (Charity Fund “We Kamyanets Citizens,” Khmelnytskyi oblast);
  • Roman Matsola (Charity Union Charity Fund “Civil Initiative of Roman Matsola “Institute of Solidarity of Hromadas,” Khmelnytskyi oblast);
  • Oleksandr Gerega and Andriy Shynkovych (Khmelnytskyi Regional Civil Organization “For Tangible Deeds,” Khmelnytskyi oblast);
  • Valeriy Dubil (Charity Fund “Europe”, Chernihiv oblast);
  • Serhiy Shakhov (“Nash Kray” Political Party, Luhansk oblast);
  • Vasyl Yanitskyi (“Charity Fund of Vasyl Yanitskyi Nash Kray,” Rivne oblast);
  • Pavlo Dziublyk (Charity Union Charity Fund of Pavlo Dziublyk, Zhytomyr oblast);
  • Bohdan Dubnevych and Yaroslav Dubnevych (Charity Union of the Dubnevych Brothers, Lviv oblast);
  • Andriy Lopushanskyi (“Charity Fund named after Lopushanskyi Andriy Yaroslavovych,” Lviv oblast).

Despite the fact that charitable activities of these deputies do not have any noticeable impact on the course of early campaigning of prospective presidential candidates, the risk still remains. It is particularly dangerous for the implementation of parity principle in the context of future parliamentary election, and under current electoral system.

RECOMMENDATIONS

to prospective electoral subjects

  • on their own initiative, to make public the volume and sources of funding for the early campaigning events.
  • to provide for due distinction between occupational and political activities, with respect for democratic standards of competitive political and electoral processes.
  • in due time beforehand, and on their own, to provide for the training of prospective members of election commissions in order to prevent professional activities in the area of administering election.

to Central Election Commission

  • to facilitate the large scale awareness campaign among voters on the temporary change of voting stations without the change of voting address.
  • to reinforce the standards of transparency and openness in the CEC operations, including the beforehand publication of agendas and draft resolutions of the Commission, transcripts and minutes of its meetings, and other documents.
  • to provide for due informing of media and other stakeholders about the conduct of meetings and other events of the Commission, to guarantee consistent access of journalists to public events of the Commission.

to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

  • to urgently consider at the plenary meeting the government draft Law of Ukraine No 8270 on providing for the inescapable nature of punishment for electoral fraud and the alternative draft versions submitted thereto.
  • to quickly adopt changes to the law in the area of liabilities for abusing the electoral law.
  • to provide for the consideration and approval of the draft Law of Ukraine on securing voting rights to internally displaced persons and other mobile citizens within the country.

to administrative and government officials

  • to comply with the national law and international standards in the area of preventing unlawful interference of public officials with the political and electoral processes.
  • in due time beforehand, to bring awareness to public officials and local self-government officials on the legal restrictions of electoral process.

to law-enforcement agencies of Ukraine

  • to develop and implement inter-agency and internal organizational mechanisms to coordinate activities intended to prevent abuse of law during election.
  • to implement in due time beforehand the trainings on electoral process for law-enforcement officers.

© Civil Network OPORA 2006 - 2018