In January, 2019, 28 persons launched proactive campaigning activities. Most of them have not been registered as Presidential candidates when campaigning. The absolute leaders in the scale and intensity of campaigning in January, 2019, are still Petro Poroshenko and Yuliya Tymoshenko. The same active approach but covering less areas was typical for the campaigns of Oleh Liashko and Andriy Sadovyi.
Anatoliy Hrytsenko and Volodymyr Zelenskyi have selectively used different forms of campaigning, while the scale of campaigns has varied in different regions of Ukraine. Oleksandr Shevchenko and Ruslan Koshulynskyi are active in their campaigning, particularly in outdoor advertising. However, Shevchenko focused on media advertising, while Koshulynskyi was far more active in holding public events. Electoral campaigns of other active candidates (Oleksandr Vilkul, Yuriy Boyko, Serhiy Kaplin) in January were not of the national scale but only focused locally. The registered candidates who have not conducted any large-scale campaigning activities are Vitaliy Skotsyk, Roman Nasirov, Oleksandr Moroz, Arkadiy Kornatskyi, and Oleksandr Danyliuk.
Pre-election campaigning of the candidates in January was less intense as compared to the previous period. Political advertising was the form of campaigning used by all registered and not registered candidates. The number has decreased for street and public events as parts of candidates’ visits to the regions of Ukraine; campaigning tents became slightly fewer.
A strong lead in largely using advertising on billboards and city lights belongs to Andriy Sadovyi, Petro Poroshenko, Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Oleh Liashko, Yuliya Tymoshenko, and Volodymyr Zelenskyi. Among the non-registered candidates, in addition to Petro Poroshenko, another leader therefor is Arseniy Yatseniuk. His electoral campaign seems to be oriented on parliamentary rather than Presidential election.
The campaigns disseminating printed materials have been fully launched by 12 persons, including also politicians who do not intend to run for Presidential campaign or those who have not yet registered (Petro Poroshenko, Arseniy Yatseniuk). At the same time, this form of campaigning is not used by Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Valentyn Nalyvaychenko who are some of the most active candidates in other forms of campaigning. The leaders in disseminating printed campaigning materials in January, 2019, are Andriy Sadovyi (large-scale dissemination recorded in 21 regions), Yuliya Tymoshenko (20 regions), and Oleh Liashko (19 regions).
Over 20 persons run the proactive campaigning using regional printed media. The largest scale coverage of this campaigning component is recorded for Petro Poroshenko (large scale publication in 24 regions), Yuliya Tymoshenko (23 regions), and Oleh Liashko (20 regions).
Online media and social media are used for campaigning almost by all registered candidates. However, the most active users of this campaigning component are 6 non-registered Presidential candidates (Yuliya Tymoshenko, Oleh Liashko, Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Andriy Sadovyi, Volodymyr Zelenskyi), and Petro Poroshenko, whose share is by fare larger than others.
In January, 2019, 14 persons used the regional audiovisual media for campaigning on a large scale. The leaders in campaigning on television and radio are Petro Poroshenko (mass placement in 20 regions), Yuliya Tymoshenko (17 regions), and Oleh Liashko (15 regions). As to the content of reports, more information on program activities of the candidates has been published, as well as about the process of their nomination and registration.
The least widespread form of campaigning for the candidates in the first month of the official electoral campaign period was running outdoor events – 13 persons only used this method. In terms of coverage and geography, the largest scale public events and street activities were run by Petro Poroshenko and Andriy Sadovyi (in 12 regions), and also by Oleh Liashko (in 10 regions). As to the outdoor events, they were organized in January not by all candidates who usually lead in using other campaigning forms. In particular, it holds true about Volodymyr Zelenskyi. Electoral campaign of Petro Poroshenko (who did not have a status of the registered candidate at the time) organized a nation-wide survey which de facto is a form of street campaigning (“door-to-door” campaign). The activities engaged on a paid basis not only the candidate supporters or neutral persons, but also the staff of the budgetary institutions. The activities are evidence to the unlawful spending of electoral finance (before the moment of establishing an electoral fund), and also have signs of abusing administrative resources.
Since the official start of the election campaign, there has reduced the number of visits of Presidential candidates or prospective candidates to the regions of Ukraine. As of January, 29, OPORA observers recorded 56 regional visits. The most frequently visited regions in January were Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions. The regions were visited by 4 Presidential candidates each. Zaporizhia, Kyiv, Poltava, and Dnipropetrovsk regions were visited by three candidates each (prospective candidates). On the other hand, in their trips, the candidates have ignored three western regions of Ukraine (Transcarpathia, Lviv, and Chernivtsi), as well as Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Khmelnytskyi.
Monitoring of regional visits of candidates and prospective candidates by OPORA observers showed 10 cases when they handed out goods to citizens either on their own behalf, or on behalf of the party. The pool of cases includes participation of political leaders in official presentation of goods procured for the budgetary funds. This campaigning format was most often used by Oleh Liashko (4 episodes) and Petro Poroshenko (3 episodes).
During the first month of the electoral process, the most widespread breach of the law was production and dissemination of printed materials of pre-electoral campaigning without the source data, or funding the campaign from sources other than the candidate’s electoral fund. Mass incidents were related to the following two key factors: the materials of early campaigning of candidates have not been changed after their official registration; or, the new campaigning materials were produced and disseminated with no indication of source data, and before the candidate’s official opening of the electoral fund.
According to the operational data, in January, 2019, OPORA observers submitted 239 requests and claims to local offices of the National Police of Ukraine. The absolute majority was related to the dissemination of printed materials with no data about the company printing them, about the circulation, persons in charge of the issue, or the commissioner of the materials. Most recorded cases of dissemination of printed materials without the source data was related to the campaigning of Andriy Sadovyi and Anatoliy Hrytsenko.
Local organizations of political parties and the electoral bodies of the Presidential candidates combined their campaigning activities with the personal data collection from citizens (“Petro Poroshenko Block “Solidarnist”, Oleh Liashko Radical Party, “Public Position,” “Samopomich” Union). The largest scale collection of personal data occurred during surveys of citizens in the interests of a prospective Presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko. On the other hand, Oleh Liashko Radical Party accumulated the data on citizens in order to file the subscription for the party newspaper.
According to OPORA monitoring findings, personal data collection from citizens was followed by shortfall or incomplete abidance of the specific law. There are recorded cases when campaigners have not collected a consent for personal data processing while the intentions for data collection and processing have not always been explained or made clear for citizens.
Civil Network OPORA filed a request to the Human Rights Ombudsman of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ludmyla Denisova to conduct the inspection of the facts of breaching on the law collected by observers in the context of personal data protection. At the same time, voters should avoid granting their personal data to third persons if they fail to understand the intention, storage period, or forms of use of the data.
The large scale survey of voters in the regions of Ukraine, collection of their personal data and signatures in support of the program of a prospective candidate Petro Poroshenko actualized the discussion on the need to prevent cases of material motivation of voters such as paying to them for their campaigning work. Current version of the Law of Ukraine “On Election of the President of Ukraine” directly bans concluding any paid contracts with voters at the expense of the electoral fund for pre-electoral campaigning (part 6 Article 64 of the Law).
Civil Network OPORA encourages the registered Presidential candidates not to allow for any payments to voters for performing the pre-electoral campaign activities. Instead, the candidates not registered at the moment shall take measures to stop funding campaigning activities or offering material motivation to voters for their involvement in de-facto campaigning activities.
Forcomments, please, contact:
OlhaAivazovska, electoral programs coordinator at OPORA Civil Network
tel 044 591 44 44