On November 27 and December 22, 2020, the Central Election Commission called the by-elections of people’s deputies in single-member constituencies No.50 (Donetsk oblast) and No.87 (Ivano-Frankivsk oblast), correspondingly. By-elections were called in connection with the victory in regular local elections gained by MP Ruslan Trebushkin, who ran for mayor of Pokrovsk, and MP Zinoviy ​​Andriyovych, who was elected head of Nadvirna territorial community.

The electoral process in by-elections is governed by the Law of Ukraine “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” that ceased to be in force and effect following the adoption of the Electoral Code (except for provisions relating to the organization, preparation and conduct of by-elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine). This led to a number of organizational and legal problems, in response to which the CEC published several clarifications on the matter of preparation of various stages of the electoral process.

Nomination and registration of candidates, formation of district election commissions and campaign rollout were the key organizational stages in the first month of electoral process taking place under quarantine restrictions and red-alert level of epidemiological risk in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast.

OPORA’s observers would like to draw stakeholders’ attention to unsatisfactory situation with regard to implementing the government resolution on the procedure for undertaking anti-epidemic measures during organization and conduct of elections. First of all, this problem manifests itself in inadequate supply of personal protective equipment to the election commissions, non-compliance with relevant technical procedures and failure to inform voters about specifics of implementing anti-epidemic measures in the course of organization and conduct of elections. Continuation of current practice in a pandemic environment poses the risk of destabilizing the final stage of electoral process, including the vote on Election Day – March 28.

In the process of examination of submitted documents the CEC refused to register 30 potential candidates on reasonable grounds (as of March 1). The main reasons for denial of registration included non-compliance with the requirements for payment of security deposit and violation of the procedure for submitting financial declarations by persons authorized to perform the functions of the state or local self-government. Members of the CEC debated on the resolution to register Artem Marchevskyi as a candidate (nominated by the “Opposition Platform – For Life” party), whose election program called for restoring cooperation with Russia and the CIS countries and “putting an end to thoughtless Ukrainization”. As a result, four CEC members abstained from voting on the resolution. However, the CEC is not empowered to establish the fact of non-compliance of candidate’s election program with requirements of the law, while determination of such a fact does not constitute legal grounds for refusal to register a candidate.

As of the beginning of March, only 6 out of 25 registered candidates in district election constituency No.50 (administrative center – Pokrovsk) and five candidates in DEC No.87 (administrative center – Nadvirna) were conducting noticeable campaigns. Despite the absence of large-scale campaigning activity, it is evident that several parties and candidates launched their campaigns long before the official start of electoral process. Election campaign in the regions generated strong interest from parliamentary parties and national-level politicians. All parliamentary parties nominated their candidates in the by-elections of people’s deputies.

The practice of launching campaigns before official registration and setting-up of election fund accounts was the key problem of campaigning activity at the initial stage of electoral process. Legal uncertainty and the absence of formal requirements for regulating pre-term campaigning aggravate the problem of shadow campaign finance and prevent the public from exercising control over income and expenditures incurred by potential candidates. As a result, electoral subjects find themselves in unequal conditions which has a negative impact on the overall level of competition in the election campaign. 

Meetings with voters and outdoor advertising of candidates were the most commonly used methods of campaigning. According to our observations, the candidates refrain from making extensive use of traditional media at local level, while direct communication and political advertising on social media platforms, including Facebook, are gaining popularity.

Direct interaction in the form of meetings is aimed at certain social groups and institutions (the youth, senior citizens in the court-yards of residential buildings, health workers, religious community) and is often accompanied by covert agitation combined with provision of material benefits to voters and organizations under the guise of charitable assistance. In practice, charitable foundations are officially in charge of such activities performed on behalf of candidates, since the law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” does not expressly prohibit their involvement in pre-election campaigning. For instance, candidate Oleksandr Shevchenko standing for parliament in the election constituency No.87 is involved in public events of charitable fund “Tilky Razom” founded by Ihor Palytsia (candidate’s fellow party member). Charitable fund “Association of coal mining cities of Donbas region “Shakhtarskyi kharakter” founded by potential candidate Andriy Aksyonov performs similar activities in the election constituency No.50. According to OPORA’s observers, candidates Ruslan Koshulynskyi and Marusya Zvirobiy-Bilenka also provided charitable assistance.

Candidates are ready and willing to violate democratic election standards by taking advantage of the imperfection of electoral legislation while avoiding legal liability for provision of material incentives to voters. Law enforcement agencies and lawmakers must adequately respond to cases of “pre-election charity” that became a tradition for Ukrainian elections in single-member majoritarian constituencies.

In February, people’s deputies were actively involved in pre-election campaigning, which is neither prohibited nor allowed by the law “On Legal Status of People’s Deputy of Ukraine”. However, the risk of abuse of administrative resources in by-elections is primarily associated with the participation of state officials and incumbent MPs in the election campaign as candidates and their efforts to mobilize support from public administration representatives at various levels. For example, incumbent mayors of cities in election constituency No.50 demonstrated covert and outspoken support for one of the potential candidates, who wasn’t officially registered at that time, during working hours. Such actions create non-competitive advantages for certain electoral subjects, although they do not constitute formal grounds for prosecution of local government officials.

The situation with regard to organization of electoral process insofar as it relates to the functioning of district election commissions and reorganization of departments responsible for maintenance of State register of voters is still an unresolved and controversial issue. In particular, the absence of specially equipped premises in DEC No.87 resulted in inadequate supply of material and technical resources which made it impossible to organize proper maintenance and usage thereof. Furthermore, as of the beginning of March, the departments responsible for maintenance of State register of voters in the newly formed Ivano-Frankivsk and Kramatorsk rayons remain inoperative. These departments are authorized to provide (record keeping) services to voters in certain localities within the boundaries of single-member constituencies No.50 and No.87. The unresolved issue prevents voters from exercising the full range of rights conferred to them during organization of by-elections of people’s deputies.

Campaigning activity of electoral subjects

In February, none of the potential and registered candidates conducted large-scale campaigns in single-member constituencies. This month marked the end of candidate registration process. February 25 was the deadline for submitting registration documents to the Central Election Commission. March 2 was the final date for adoption of resolutions on registration or refusal to register candidates for people’s deputies. The majority of registered candidates obtained electoral subject status in the second half of February, which affected the intensity and scope of campaign as a whole. However, some candidates launched their campaigns before official registration. At the beginning of February, OPORA’s observers recorded various forms of public campaigning activity, including face-to-face meetings with voters, political advertising on outdoor and social media.

16 political parties nominated their candidates in single-member constituencies: “For the Future”, AUU “Svoboda”, “European Solidarity”, AUU “Platform of Communities”, “Servant of the People”, “Derzhava”, “Shariy Party”, “Holos”, “Opposition Platform – For Life”, AUU “Batkivshchyna”, “KMKS” Party of Hungarians of Ukraine, “Future of the Country”, “Opposition Bloc”, “Poryadok”, “Development and Prosperity”, “New Democracy”. These parties obtained electoral subject status in accordance with election law. However, the results of our analysis of election campaign show that several candidates exhibited high level of personal activity. In February, a total of six candidates actively campaigned in single-member constituency No.87 (administrative center – Nadvirna). The most intensive campaign is conducted by candidate Oleksandr Shevchenko who was nominated by “For the Future” party and registered by the CEC on February 9. Outdoor advertising media, direct communication with voters and political advertising on social media platforms are the most commonly used campaigning methods in the case of this particular candidate. After going through the registration procedure, the candidate held a number of meetings with personnel of educational and health care institutions as well as representatives of local communities (Nadvirna, Delyatyn, Chornyi Potik, Zarichchya, Havrylivka, Kaminne, Tsutsyliv, Pererisl, Fytkiv, etc.). Furthermore, the candidate visited several churches in the election constituency and delivered speeches to religious communities directly on the premises of these churches. Oleksandr Shevchenko has made heavy use of political advertising tools on Facebook. Since the moment of registration, the candidate’s page has distributed 98 targeted advertising messages. It should also be noted that the candidate has been actively involved in charity events on behalf of the leader of “For the Future” party and founder of charitable fund “Tilky Razom” Ihor Palytsia. Within the framework of charitable activities the candidate presented oxygen concentrators as a gift to medical institutions that provide services to the population of election constituency, namely Nadvirna central rayon hospital, Yaremche central city hospital, Solotvyno hospital and Kolomyia central rayon hospital.

Ruslan Koshulynskyi is another candidate that conducts a relatively strong campaign in the election constituency. He was nominated by “Svoboda” party and officially registered as a candidate on February 12. Meetings with voters and distribution of campaign materials with the involvement of electioneerers are the main formats of his campaigning activity. Since the moment of registration, the candidate has held a number of meetings with voters in different localities, including Nadvirna, Yaremche, Stari Bohorodchany, Bohorodchany, Delyatyn, Dobrotiv, Sadzhavka and Krasna. The candidate also made use of outdoor advertising media and Facebook for self-promotion purposes.

On February 12, Marusya Zvirobiy-Bilenka was registered as a candidate representing the “European Solidarity” party. Placement of campaign materials on outdoor advertising media and meetings with voters are the main formats of her campaigning activity. It should be emphasized that candidate’s meetings with voters were often held with the participation of VIP electioneerers, including people’s deputies of Ukraine and members of parliamentary faction “European Solidarity”. MPs Sofiya Fedyna, Akhtem Chiygoz, Mykola Kniazhytskyi, Mykhailo Zabrodskyi and Petro Poroshenko visited the election constituency to voice their support for the candidate. On February 26, Petro Poroshenko together with the candidate presented 6 oxygen concentrators as a gift to two hospitals in Nadvirna and Yaremche (Ivano-Frankivsk oblast). Political advertising on Facebook and traditional media is rarely used by the candidate.

On February 3, Mykhailo Nonyak became the first registered candidate in the election constituency. He is running for parliament as a self-nominee. Outdoor political advertising, distribution of printed campaign materials and advertising messages on Facebook are the most commonly used methods of campaigning for this candidate. The candidate also held several meetings with voters, including those residing in the villages of Ivanykivka and Markova. However, the second half of February was marked by a decline in candidate’s activity, which is probably due to the fact that he was recovering from coronavirus disease.

Observers also noted the launch of campaigns in support of Yuriy Golinei (“Platform of Communities”) and Vasyl Virastyuk (“Servant of the People”), who were registered as candidates on February 23. The candidates placed political advertising on outdoor media and Facebook, although the scale of their campaigns is not massive.

In February, five candidates conducted noticeable activities in single-member constituency No.50 (administrative center ­– Pokrovsk): Artem Marchevskyi, Andriy Aksyonov, Viktoriya Shylova, Mykola Holovko, Larysa Revva.

Artem Marchevskyi, nominated by the “Opposition Platform – For Life” party, was registered as a candidate on February 19. The candidate held numerous meetings with voters, organized intensive distribution of printed campaign materials and made heavy use of outdoor advertising media. Artem Marchevskyi installed campaign tents in Pokrovsk to collect contact details of voters who are interested in meeting him. The candidate was also involved in pre-election charity. In particular, he donated books and magazine subscriptions to village libraries in the election constituency, made a gift of laptop to a multi-child family, presented a microwave and tonometer to veterans of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Artem Marchevskyi is the general producer of TV channel “112”, which is why a significant number of news stories on national TV channels “112” and “ZIK” highlighted the problems of Pokrovskyi rayon forming part of Donetsk oblast. The candidate doesn’t use regional media for campaigning purposes. On February 23, the candidate opened his public reception offices in the cities of Dobropillya, Myrnohrad, and Pokrovsk that are located within the boundaries of election constituency No.50. People’s deputies representing the parliamentary faction of “Opposition Platform – For Life” Nataliya Korolevska, Volodymyr Moroz and Valeriy Hnatenko took part in the opening ceremony.

Andriy Aksyonov conducted an active campaign in the election constituency, despite the fact that he wasn’t officially registered as a candidate. In February, the CEC didn’t adopt a resolution on registration of potential candidate, even though he was nominated by “Poryadok” party on February 15. Aksyonov made heavy use of local media and outdoor advertising for campaigning purposes. Local media outlets published interviews with Aksyonov that carried a positive connotation, while Dobropillya territorial community holds the top spot in the ranking of Donbas cities based on regional capacity index. This achievement is associated with the current head of Dobropillya community Andriy Aksyonov. Printed campaign materials were distributed to residents of the constituency via mail. Aksyonov garnered the support of representatives of regional elite, including the Hero of Ukraine Leonid Baysarov and mayor of Myrnohrad Oleksandr Brykalov. The potential candidate came up with an initiative to establish the Association of coal mining cities. The initiative was signed by the heads of Myrnohrad, Pokrovsk and Dobropillya territorial communities.

Viktoriya Shylova, who was nominated by “Derzhava” party and became the first registered candidate on February 3, also performs noticeable activities in the election constituency. The candidate is focused on the meetings with voters and distribution of campaign materials. Viktoriya Shylova is using her personal page on Facebook as one of communication channels to promote key messages and publish the election program. She holds meetings with voters in Dobropillya, Myrnohrad, Pokrovsk and Rodynske as well as distributes campaign materials printed on A-4 sheets. Candidate Shylova announces fundraising events on a regular basis with the aim of raising money for the election campaign. Among other things her announcements mention the possibility of transferring funds from the Russian Federation or CIS countries to a card account.

Mykola Holovko also can be described as an active potential candidate in the month of February, although he hasn’t been registered yet. He focused on social media campaigning and communication, including through the use of personal page on Facebook. Potential candidate conducted an opinion survey on by-elections and political preferences of target audience. He made a public call for help in raising money to pay a monetary deposit in the amount of 60 thousand hryvnias required for participation in the election race. Mykola Holovko also created a Telegram group called “Toxic Trebushkin” where he promoted himself as a candidate. Furthermore, a survey was conducted in “Pokrovsk” group to find out if group members would provide financial support to Mykola Holovko for the purpose of his registration as a candidate. Holovko made active use of online communication channels and tried to establish a dialogue with the followers of his personal page and groups that are regarded as potential voters.

Larysa Revva, who was nominated by AUU “Batkivshchyna”, has also started campaigning activity. The campaign leaflet features a photo of Larysa Revva standing next to Yulia Tymoshenko and a slogan “Let’s win together”.

In February 2021, OPORA’s observers performed systemic analysis of various forms of public activity of registered and potential candidates. The results of analysis indicate that the candidates conducted campaigns of agitation in a limited way. Those candidates who launched their campaigns  ahead of schedule continued to exhibit intensive campaigning activity. Face-to-face meetings with with voters and outdoor advertising were the most commonly used campaigning methods. Face-to-face meetings were targeted at certain categories of the population: the youth, senior citizens in the court-yards of residential buildings, health workers, religious community. However, introduction of quarantine restrictions in the constituency No.87 due to red-alert level of epidemiological risk in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast may influence the pattern and specific features of campaigning activity. The candidates refrain from using local traditional media on a large scale, while communication and political advertising on social media platforms, such as Facebook, are gaining popularity. In addition, some candidates opened public reception offices to enhance communication with voters. For example, on February 23, candidate Artem Marchevskyi opened public reception offices in Dobropillya, Pokrovsk and Myrnohrad located in election constituency No.50. Prior to the opening of public receptions, OPORA’s observers recorded several cases of direct money contribution to electioneerers who were instructed on the mechanisms and ways of increasing candidate recognition ratio. Electioneerers communicate with voters in public areas, criticize the actions of local authorities and emphasize the problems that will be solved through the efforts of candidate Artem Marchevskyi representing the “Opposition Platform – For Life” party. Public reception office of “Poryadok” party that nominated Andriy Aksyonov as a candidate in election constituency No.50 also resumed operation in Pokrovsk. Mayor of Dobropillya Andriy Aksonyov has intensified communication with voters through the use of party reception office. At the meetings with voters he promises to solve the urgent problems of city residents. However, in general, the campaign headquarters of candidates exhibited zero activity in the constituencies. The majority of candidates provided financial and organizational support for their campaigns using their own resources.

Refusal to register potential candidates

On January 16, 2020, the CEC adopted a Resolution No.3 that clarifies the application of certain provisions of the Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” insofar as it relates to registration of candidates in the by-elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine. According to Resolution No.3, the Central Election Commission shall register a candidate upon receipt of documents provided for in Article 55 of the Law. In the case of absence or incompleteness of information in submitted documents, the CEC shall immediately notify the candidate for people’s deputy or the political party that nominated a candidate for people’s deputy of indentified shortcomings by means of sending a letter signed by member of the CEC via mail (or via other means, if possible) together with simultaneous delivery of telephoned message to contact numbers specified in the documents submitted to the CEC for registration of candidate for people’s deputy. The deadline for submitting corrected documents falls within statutory time limits for adopting CEC resolution on registration or refusal to register a candidate for people’s deputy and shall be indicated in the letter signed by member of the CEC as well as in the telephoned message. Corrected documents shall be submitted to the CEC by political party or a candidate for people’s deputy together with corresponding cover letter. In the event of failure to submit a corrected document to the CEC within statutory time limits, it shall be deemed to have been not submitted for registration of candidate for people’s deputy. According to clause 2 of section one of Article 60 of the Law, the Central Election Commission shall refuse to register a candidate for people’s deputy of Ukraine in the case of absence of documents specified in section one of Article 55 of the Law. Furthermore, according to clause 7 of section 1 of Article 60 of the Law, the Central Election Commission shall refuse to register a candidate for people’s deputy of Ukraine in the event of finding out that the potential candidate has a record of criminal conviction as a result of committing intentional crime and this conviction hasn’t been expunged or removed from official records in accordance with the law. According to Article 60, potential candidate can also be denied registration in the case of violation of legal requirement for permanent stay in Ukraine during the last five years.

As of March 1, the CEC had rejected registration requests from 30 potential candidates. The resolutions on refusal to register candidates for people’s deputy were well-reasoned and rested on firm legal foundation in accordance with Article 60 of the Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine”. The most common violations of the procedure for submitting registration documents were as follows:

1. Non-compliance with the requirements for payment of monetary deposit – 29 cases.

2. Violation of the procedure for submitting financial declaration of an official authorized to perform the functions of the state or local self-government – 28 cases.

3. Failure to provide properly formatted photos in hard and soft copy – 23 cases.

4. Absence of data on previous changes in the names of political parties in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, Individual Entrepreneurs and Public Associations – 12 cases.

5. Absence of autobiography or mandatory parts thereof – 9 cases.

6. Non-compliance with the requirements for execution of application for candidate registration – 3 cases.

7. Violation of legal requirement for permanent stay in Ukraine during the last 5 years – 2 cases.

8. Breach of statutory time limits for candidate nomination by political party – 2 cases.

9. Non-compliance with the requirement for clean record of criminal conviction – 2 cases.

10. Discrepancies in candidate’s patronymic name specified in the documents that were submitted for registration – 1 case.

 

 

 

Potential candidate

Vita Krutetska

Nominating entity

“BRAVO” party

Reasons of refusal

  • outstanding conviction
  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of candidate’s financial declaration, photos, autobiography and election program

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/2MuPMdd

 

Potential candidate

Mykhailo Sakhno

Nominating entity

“NATIONAL-DEMOCRATIC ASSOCIATION “UKRAINE” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of candidate’s financial declaration, photos, autobiography and election program

Reference to CEC resolution

https://bit.ly/2MuPMdd

 

Potential candidate

Lyubov Bogachenko

Nominating entity

“Women of Ukraine” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of candidate’s financial declaration, photos, autobiography and election program

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/2ZWPxuG

 

Potential candidate

Iryna Bobrovytska

Nominating entity

“Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of candidate’s financial declaration, photos, autobiography, application for registration, and election program

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/2ZZDXit

 

Potential candidate

Viktoriya Kolosovska

Nominating entity

“BRAVO” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of candidate’s financial declaration, photos, autobiography and election program

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3dTbWkE

 

Potential candidate

Ruslan Tokar

Nominating entity

“SPRAVEDLYVA KRAYINA” (“JUST COUNTRY”) party

Reasons of refusal

  • absence of financial declaration
  • improper monetary deposit

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3bIpyg1

 

Potential candidate

Artem Kirsanov

Nominating entity

“OBERIH” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration and photos
  • breach of statutory time limits for candidate nomination by political party

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3qVYksF

 

Potential candidate

Oleksandr Doroshenko

Nominating entity

“Maibutnye Krayiny” (“Future of the Country”) party

Reasons of refusal

Violation of legal requirement for permanent stay in Ukraine during the last five years

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3rdRWwQ

 

Potential candidate

Taras Necheporuk

Nominating entity

“Olimp” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper execution of application
  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of photos
  • violation of the procedure for submitting financial declaration, breach of statutory time limits for candidate nomination by political party

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/2ZZE9hH

 

Potential candidate

Anton Ivko

Nominating entity

“PARTY OF ECONOMIC REVIVAL OF UKRAINE”

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration, photos and election program
  • violation of legal requirement for permanent stay in Ukraine during the last five years

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3sDFpDv

 

Potential candidate

Oleh Pazyurych

Nominating entity

“Dynamo” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration, photos and election program
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register 

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3sH6pSo

 

Potential candidate

Mykhailo Sakhno

Nominating entity

“Altruists” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration, photos and election program
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register 
  • discrepancies in candidate’s patronymic name specified in the documents that were submitted for registration

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3sH6pSo

 

Potential candidate

Serhiy Shapovalov

Nominating entity

“Uspikh” (“Success”) party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration, photos and election program
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register 
  • improper execution of application

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3sH6pSo

 

Potential candidate

Yuriy Chikh

Nominating entity

Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Ukraine

Reasons of refusal

  • absence of financial declaration
  • improper monetary deposit

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3kBt8fW

 

Potential candidate

Olga Kvitka

Nominating entity

All-Ukrainian Party of Spirituality and Patriotism

Reasons of refusal

Improper monetary deposit

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3kBt8fW

 

Potential candidate

Volodymyr Novytskyi

Nominating entity

“Chance” party

Reasons of refusal

  • outstanding conviction
  • absence of financial declaration and properly formatted photos
  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b5Y5Wo

 

Potential candidate

Volodymyr Berezovskyi

Nominating entity

“Stolytsia” (“Capital city”) party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration, photos and election program
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b5Y5Wo

 

Potential candidate

Serhiy Volyanyuk

Nominating entity

“Zirka” (“Star”) party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration and photos
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b5Y5Wo

 

Potential candidate

Artem Kirsanov

Nominating entity

“Oberih” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration, photos and election program
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b5Y5Wo

 

Potential candidate

Volodymyr Kozoriz

Nominating entity

“Idea” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration and properly formatted photos
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b5Y5Wo

 

Potential candidate

Vladyslav Kupiyanskyi

Nominating entity

“Center” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration, properly formatted photos and election program
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b5Y5Wo

 

Potential candidate

Mykola Sinchuk

Nominating entity

Conservative Party of Ukraine

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration and properly formatted photos
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b5Y5Wo

 

Potential candidate

Oleksandr Tkachenko

Nominating entity

“Ukrainian Labor Bloc” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration, properly formatted photos and election program
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b5Y5Wo

 

Potential candidate

Andriy Usov

Nominating entity

“Social Party”

Reasons of refusal

  • improper monetary deposit
  • absence of financial declaration and properly formatted photos
  • absence of changes in the information about political party in the Unified State Register

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b5Y5Wo

 

Potential candidate

Mykola Mynya

Nominating entity

“Pobratymy Ukrayiny” (“Sworn brothers of Ukraine”) party

Reasons of refusal

  • violation of the procedure for submitting financial declaration
  • improper monetary deposit

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3kFVDZR

 

Potential candidate

Ivan Necheporuk

Nominating entity

Party of Afghanistan Veterans

Reasons of refusal

  • absence of autobiography, financial declaration and photos
  • improper monetary deposit

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3kFVDZR

 

Potential candidate

Oleksandr Sokolovskyi

Nominating entity

“Happy Ukraine” party

Reasons of refusal

  • incomplete autobiography
  • violation of the procedure for submitting financial declaration
  • improper monetary deposit

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3kFVDZR

 

Potential candidate

Leonid Timoshkov

Nominating entity

“People’s Democratic Party of Patriots of Ukraine”

Reasons of refusal

  • absence of autobiography, financial declaration and photos
  • improper monetary deposit

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3kFVDZR

 

Potential candidate

Taras Vlasiychuk

Nominating entity

“Christian Democratic Union” party

Reasons of refusal

  • improper execution of application
  • absence of autobiography, financial declaration, photos and election program
  • improper monetary deposit

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3b8sDXO

 

Potential candidate

Daniil Malyi

Nominating entity

self-nomination

Reasons of refusal

  • submission of unsigned financial declaration in hard copy
  • improper execution of document concerning the payment of monetary deposit

Reference to CEC resolution

http://bit.ly/3sDErXO

Ensuring adequate conditions for conducting by-elections

Central Election Commission

As a permanent collegial state body, the Central Election Commission heads the system of election commissions and performs controlling, advisory and organizational functions during the conduct of by-elections of people’s deputies. By-elections in single-member constituencies No.50 and No.87 are held in accordance with sub-clause 2 of clause 2 of section ХХХХІІ “Final and Transitional Provisions” of the Electoral Code of Ukraine insofar as it refers to organization, preparation and conduct of by-elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine. The Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” ceased to be in force and effect, except for the provisions relating to organization and conduct of by-elections. In view of the above, the CEC issued several clarifications with the aim of ensuring uniform application of certain provisions of the Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” insofar as it refers to registration of candidates, declaring of their property status, and the election funds. The CEC also published a collection of regulatory legal acts on organization, preparation and conduct of by-elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine that will take place in single-member constituencies No.50 and No.87 on March 28, 2021, as a means of assistance to district and precinct election commissions. Since the beginning of electoral process, the CEC has adopted 55 resolutions, of which 45 were directly related to the matter of organization of by-elections. On January 22, the CEC adopted a Calendar plan of key organizational measures for preparation and conduct of by-elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine that are scheduled for March 28, 2021.

In pursuance of electoral law, the CEC made several publications with the aim of providing informational support for by-elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine that will be held in single-member constituencies No.50 (Donetsk oblast) and No.87 (Ivano-Frankivsk oblast) on March 28, 2021. Furthermore, the CEC formed district election commissions and publishes information about changes in the composition of DECs no later than within one day of adopting a resolution on such changes in compliance with statutory procedures and deadlines. Information about boundaries of single-member constituencies, composition of DECs, and CEC resolutions on registration of candidates is published in relevant regional print media. The CEC also approved the resolutions of district election commissions concerning the exercise of powers delegated to commission members on a paid basis and a summary estimate of DEC expenditures. Since the beginning of by-election process, the Central Election Commission has complied with all the requirements specified in the Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” insofar as it relates to organization and preparation of electoral process.

The CEC acted in accordance with the law when adopting the resolutions. However, members of the CEC debated the procedure for applying the provisions of current law in the process of registration of one of the candidates. During the debate on registration of Artem Marchevskyi (the CEC registered him as a candidate in election constituency No.50 on February 19, 2021), CEC member Iryna Yefremova said that she won’t vote affirmatively on this issue. She drew the attention of those present to the fact that candidate’s election program promises to initiate impeachment proceedings against the incumbent president, restore cooperation with Russia and the CIS countries, and “put an end to thoughtless Ukrainization”. In his turn, CEC member Serhiy Dubovyk noted that all candidates have the right to present their action plans and visions of the future of Ukraine as they see fit, and so the CEC has no grounds for refusing to register Artem Marchevskyi. Chairman of the CEC Oleh Didenko emphasized that the Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” doesn’t provide for denial of registration on the grounds of “non-compliance of election program with legal requirements”. Therefore, members of the CEC shouldn’t be guided by this criterion when deciding on registration of candidates for people’s deputies. 11 members of the CEC supported the decision to register candidate Marchevskyi, while 4 members abstained from voting.

Activity of district election commissions

On February 5, 2021, Central Election Commission formed the district election commissions responsible for organization and conduct of by-elections in single-member constituencies No.50 and No.87. District election commissions commenced work within statutory time limits, although district election commission No.50 was vested with the necessary authority after expiration of statutory deadline due to misinterpretation of the Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine”. In general, the work of district commissions was organized in a proper manner. DECs approved the schedules of rotation of commission members, allocated roles and responsibilities, and selected the persons that perform their duties on a paid basis without undue delay. The activities of district commissions are transparent to all electoral subjects, draft decisions are prepared for consideration at the meetings, final decisions are adopted in the form of resolutions and published in the manner prescribed by DECs. In particular, the resolutions of DEC No. 87 are posted to its official page on Facebook, while DEC No.50 publishes its resolutions on the bulletin board. Furthermore, all resolutions are communicated to the CEC in compliance with the law.

However, material and technical support of DEC activities proved to be a critical issue. The requirements for DEC premises as well as the standards of material and technical supply are regulated by CEC Resolution No.164 as of August 8, 2020. According to this resolution, basic requirements for the proper functioning of district commissions must be covered by local authorities. As of 25 February, DEC No.50 remained underequipped due to the fact that the premises weren’t properly prepared and handed over to the election commission. The absence of adequate premises prevents the DEC from receiving all the necessary technical equipment since it’s impossible to ensure proper use and storage thereof. The premises that were initially proposed for handover to DEC (the house of culture owned by oil and gas production company “Nadvirnanaftogaz”) turned out to be unserviceable due to the absence of central heating and non-compliance with sanitary norms. As of today, the district election commission is still inoperative, because the premises at its current legal address (education department of Nadvirna city council) are not equipped for performing work. The meetings of DEC are held either at the premises of rayon state administration or in the city council hall.

On February 9, DEC No.87 addressed the chief of staff of Nadvirna rayon state administration and mayor of Nadvirna with a request to provide the election commission with adequate premises and all the necessary technical means, but to no avail. On February 22, the DEC submitted a similar request to the head of Ivano-Frankivsk oblast state administration.

The local authorities did a better job of providing material and technical support for the activities of DEC No.50. The district election commission wasn’t fully equipped with technical means during the first two meetings, but now the situation is almost back to normal. As of today, outsourced workers (the lawyer and system administrator) are the only ones who continue to experience lack of technical equipment.

Some problems with the functioning of district commissions may arise due to coronavirus pandemic, especially since Ivano-Frankivsk oblast finds itself in red-alert zone. During the quarantine period, elections are held in accordance with the Procedure for carrying out anti-epidemic measures in the course of organization and conduct of elections as approved by Government Resolution No.1236 as of December 9, 2020. According to this resolution, expenditures on implementation of anti-epidemic measures in connection with organization and conduct of elections shall be financed from local budgets (including at the expense of reserve funds of local budgets). However, OPORA’s observers noted that DEC members provide themselves with personal protective equipment using their own resources. Temperature screening procedure is not applied at the entrance, the premises allocated to DEC members are not equipped with alcohol-containing hand sanitizers (antiseptics), there is no information on anti-epidemic measures that are being implemented. So far, the epidemiological situation hasn’t affected the work of district commissions. DEC meetings are attended by two thirds of the total number of commission members, daily activities are carried out in accordance with the approved time schedule and calendar plan. However, cases of non-compliance with the requirements of Government Resolution under conditions of deteriorating epidemiological situation may adversely affect the process of organization of electoral process in general. Given the previous experience of holding 2020 local elections in a pandemic, it is safe to assume that negligence towards implemented quarantine measures may have a negative impact on key stages of preparation, conduct and completion of electoral process.

Functioning of the State register of voters

Two departments of the State register of voters didn’t commence work due to implementation of administrative-territorial reform. The activity of departments of the State register of voters in the by-elections of people’s deputies coincided with partial liquidation thereof and reformatting of the database of State register of voters. Introduction of changes to the administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine combined with formation and reorganization of rayon state administrations led to liquidation of some departments of the State register of voters and creation of new ones. Measures aimed at implementing the requirements of new structure of the state are regulated by CEC Resolution No.24 as of January 26, 2021. Termination of powers, rights, responsibilities of existing rayon state administrations and transfer thereof to rayon state administrations of newly formed rayons by way of public-authoritative succession was followed by partial reformatting of the database of State register of voters. The duty to keep records of voters registered in liquidated rayons was allocated to the body responsible for maintenance of State register of voters created by rayon state administration of newly formed rayon.

Field observers monitored the process of partial reformatting of Register data. According to employees of the body responsible for maintenance of State register, the process of reorganization didn’t have a critical effect on the work of its departments. Access to the database was restricted for a certain period of time (about a week) during the transfer of data to State register. All the information requests received during data transfer were processed as a priority immediately after restoration of access. Some heads of departments believe that the process of data aggregation will further complicate their work, although the Government Resolution No.973 as of November 27, 2019, provides for future increase in personnel.

Therefore, the situation with regard to departments of State register of voters and state administrations of new rayons that were formed on the basis of old rayon state administrations by way of public-authoritative succession is under control. However, the newly formed rayon state administrations and their structural subdivisions haven’t started working yet. The departments of State register of voters in Ivano-Frankivsk rayon of Ivano-Frankivsk oblast and Kramatorsk rayon of Donetsk oblast are inoperative since the corresponding rayon state administrations haven’t been established until now. The departments in Kramatorsk and Ivano-Frankivsk rayons provide services to a certain portion of localities within the boundaries of constituencies created for holding by-elections of people’s deputies. According to the calendar plan of key measures for the preparation of by-elections, the departments of State register must submit preliminary lists of voters to precinct election commissions on or before March 16. Furthermore, the information specified in Article 22 of the Law of Ukraine “On the State Register of Voters” must be submitted to the body responsible for maintenance of State register of voters on or before March 5 in order to update data in the registers that are still inoperative. As of February 5, the problem of updating voter data in certain rayons remained unresolved, while the process of reorganization was already underway and the old departments had no access to the database of State register. According to Article 16 of the Law of Ukraine “On the State Register of Voters”, in the case of inability of the body responsible for maintenance of State register to perform its duties, the database of State register of voters whose voting address is located on the territory that falls within jurisdiction of this specific body shall be updated under the procedure established by administrator of State register.

Besides the aforesaid issues with updating the information and administering the process of preparation of voters’ lists, citizens continue to experience difficulties in submitting personal applications to the departments of State register. While the majority of issues with submitting electronic applications to State register were resolved, it is mandatory for such applications to be endorsed by qualified digital signature which may not always be available to all voters. Those who intend to file a personal application for inclusion on the State register, change of personal data, change of voting address, change of “incapable for movement” status are required to contact the body responsible for maintenance of State register at their place of residence. The absence of departments responsible for maintenance of State register may lead to violation of legal relations between the voters and State register that fall within the scope of Article 10 of the Law of Ukraine “On the State Register of Voters”.

Violation of electoral law and democratic election standards

Pre-term campaigning, financing of election campaign from sources other than the election fund, violation of other rules of campaigning

Some of the candidates conducted quite active campaigns prior to official registration. Their campaigning activity was accompanied by distribution of printed materials, placement of political advertising on outdoor media and pre-election charity. According to the current law, political parties and candidates are allowed to start campaigning on the day following the adoption of CEC resolution on registration thereof. Therefore, activity of the majority of candidates can be considered as pre-term campaigning which is not directly regulated by legal norms. Pre-term campaigning may result in creating unequal conditions for electoral subjects, which constitutes a violation of the principles and standards of democratic elections. Furthermore, political parties and candidates in single-member constituencies are obliged to open an election fund account no later than within ten days after registration thereof. At the same time, the Law explicitly specifies that campaigning activities can be financed exclusively from election funds (clause 4 of section 3 of Article 3 of the Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine”). It should be emphasized that the Law of Ukraine prohibits financing of election campaign from party’s or candidate’s own resources or any other sources, including those provided on the initiative of voters. Pre-term campaigning was financed from resources that can’t be reflected in the financial reports of candidates. This practice once again highlights the problem of unaccountability and non-transparency of expenses on campaigning activities that are conducted before official registration.

However, campaign finance remains an unresolved issue even after official registration of candidates. According to the law, the banking institution that maintains the current account of candidate’s election fund must notify the Central Election Commission, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention and relevant district election commission in writing of the fact of opening of election fund account and its details. However, as of February 18, there were no such notifications from banking institutions in election constituency No.87 according to information provided by the CEC at the request of OPORA. At that time, there were six officially registered candidates in the constituency No.87, and some of them conducted active campaigns: Marusya Zvirobiy-Bilenka, Ruslan Koshulynskyi, Mykhailo Nonyak and Oleksandr Shevchenko.

Alleged facts of violation of requirements for campaign finance were also recorded in election constituency No.50. OPORA’s observers noted that candidate Viktoriya Shylova distributed messages on social media platform Facebook and video hosting service YouTube with the aim of raising money for her campaign. These messages included the details of card accounts opened with several banking institutions: Privatbank, Sberbank of Russia (Ukraine), Sberbank of Russia. According to electoral law, the election fund of a candidate for people’s deputy in single-member constituency shall consist of one current account for receipt of funds to finance the campaign. Therefore, the above-mentioned practice may constitute a violation of the rules of campaign finance. Furthermore, financing of campaign by foreigners is also a pending issue since Viktoriya Shylova receives contributions from Russian compatriots, which creates a risk of violating the procedure for election fund raising. According to the Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” and the Law “On Political Parties of Ukraine”, foreigners are banned from financing the campaigns of candidates for people’s deputies. In this regard, the law allows candidates to set up an election fund consisting of only one current account that shall be checked for conformity with the legal procedure for fund raising.

Candidate Oleksandr Shevchenko, who runs for parliament in election constituency No.87, took advantage of the absence of legal prohibition on conducting campaigning activities in churches. Although the matter of campaigning in churches is not regulated by electoral law, unequal access of candidates to religious communities (organizations) may create unequal conditions for electoral subjects. On February 16, the priest of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Yustin Boyko approached candidate Shevchenko with an open letter urging him to refrain from using the church for campaigning purposes. According to section 8 of Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations”, religious organizations shall refrain from participating in the activities of political parties, providing political support to political parties, nominating candidates for political office, campaigning or financing of election campaigns of candidates for political office.

In February, OPORA’s observers recorded cases of placement of campaign materials without indicating mandatory information about sponsor of these materials, printing company or the fact that these materials were printed with the use of party-owned equipment, number of copies printed, persons responsible for issuing these materials, which constitutes an administrative offence. In particular, this is the case of Oleksandr Shevchenko (“For the Future”), Ruslan Koshulynskyi (AUU “Svoboda”), Yuriy Golinei (“Platform of Communities”) and Mykhailo Nonyak (self-nominated candidate). In election constituency No.50, candidate Viktoriya Shylova (“Derzhava”) distributed campaign materials with incomplete source data, that is, without indicating the number of printed copies.

Provision of material incentives to voters

The Law of “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” prohibits pre-election campaigning accompanied by the provision of money, goods (except for goods containing visual images of party name, flag or memorabilia, provided that the cost of such goods does not exceed three percent of minimum wage amount), services, works, securities, loans, lottery tickets and other material valuables to voters, institutions, establishments, organizations on a gratuitous or preferential basis. The aforesaid methods of campaigning or provision of goods, services, works, securities, loans, lottery tickets and other material valuables to voters, institutions, establishments, organizations on a gratuitous or preferential basis accompanied by proposals or calls for voting or abstaining from vote in favor of particular party or candidate for deputy, or by mentioning the name of the party or candidate constitutes an indirect bribery of voters. At the same time, the law doesn’t regard the activities of charitable foundations as indirect bribery of voters, which is contrary to the provisions of Electoral Code of Ukraine. In particular, the Electoral Code expressly prohibits the transfer of material valuables on behalf of charitable organizations, including those founded by a candidate or political party or the membership of which includes a candidate or political party, accompanied by proposals or calls for voting or abstaining from vote in favor of particular party or candidate, or by mentioning the name of the candidate or party, or featuring party memorabilia.

In February, OPORA’s observers recorded several cases of pre-election charity work performed by candidates, which constitutes a violation of democratic election standards, albeit without any legal consequences. In particular, candidate Oleksandr Shevchenko, who was nominated by “For the Future” party and runs for parliament in election constituency No.87, announced the handover of oxygen concentrators to medical institutions located in the constituency on his Facebook page. Videos of handover of oxygen concentrators promote Oleksandr Shevchenko as a deputy to Ivano-Frankivsk oblast council and emphasize that medical equipment was presented on behalf of charitable fund “Tilky Razom” founded by Ihor Palytsia (candidate’s fellow party member). Candidate Ruslan Koshulynskyi representing “Svoboda” party also announced the transfer of lung ventilator to medical institution. His Facebook page informed the audience about presentation of lung ventilator to Nadvirna central rayon hospital on behalf of philanthropist from Ivano-Frankivsk  and the transfer of free medicines on behalf of information center “Istyna” and representatives of Ukrainian diaspora in Chicago. Based on the results of analysis of web-publications, OPORA’s observers didn’t detect any signs of pre-election campaigning accompanied by distribution of material valuables, so there is no reason to insist on the existence of facts of indirect bribery of voters. However, the very fact of giveaway followed by PR activities for campaigning purposes violates the principle of equal opportunities for electoral subjects. After all, financing of campaign exclusively from the election fund is one of the main principles of equal rights and opportunities for candidates. Charitable organizations are not allowed to provide charitable assistance to political parties or other recipients on behalf of political parties, nor can they participate in pre-election campaigning (section 3 of Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine “On Charitable Activity and Charitable Organizations”).

Similar activities of charitable foundations were recorded in election constituency No.50. In particular, this is the case of charity fund “Nadiya” located in Pokrovsk. Its president Leonid Baysarov, who is also the leader of “Poryadok” party in Donetsk oblast, publicly supports potential candidate Andriy Aksyonov. The fund is directed by Nataliya Ivanyo, who is also the secretary of Pokrovsk city council nominated by “Poryadok” party. In 2021, Andriy Aksyonov established a charitable fund “Association of coal mining cities of Donbas region “Shakhtarskyi kharakter”. However, OPORA’s observers didn’t find any evidence of direct participation of charitable foundations of Donetsk oblast in pre-election campaigning.

However, the case of presentation of gifts to the hospital in election constituency No.87 with the involvement of MP Petro Poroshenko constitutes a violation of electoral law insofar as it relates to indirect bribery of voters. On February 26, the leader of “European Solidarity” party and incumbent MP Petro Poroshenko together with the candidate Marusya Zvirobiy-Bilenka, who runs for parliament in election constituency No.87, presented 6 oxygen concentrators to two hospitals in Nadvirna and Yaremche (Ivano-Frankivsk oblast). During the ceremony of transfer of medical equipment, Petro Poroshenko introduced Marusya Zvirobiy-Bilenka to the public and emphasized her positive qualities. The situation with regard to distribution of oxygen concentrators and mentioning of candidate’s name bears the marks of indirect bribery of voters since the transfer of material valuables to medical institutions was accompanied by assessment of candidate’s activities, which is qualified as a campaigning method under the current electoral law.

Evidence of abuse of administrative resources

Electoral law stipulates that all candidates for deputies shall be treated equally and impartially by state authorities and local self-government bodies. Officials of public authorities are banned from campaigning during working hours (except in cases where public official is a candidate for people’s deputy of Ukraine). Mayors of territorial communities located within the boundaries of election constituency No.50 have been demonstrating active support for potential candidate for people’s deputy representing “Poryadok” party Andriy Aksyonov, who is the incumbent mayor of Dobropillya. In particular, mayor of Myrnohrad Oleksandr Brykalov voiced his support for the candidate. Political advertising posters featuring photos of mayor standing next to Andriy Aksyonov were pasted up all over the city of Myrnohrad. On February 15, Oleksandr Brykalov spoke in support of nomination of Andriy Aksyonov at the congress of “Poryadok” party. Mayor of Pokrovsk Ruslan Trebushkin also expressed his support for the candidate by posting a message on Facebook page, in which he promotes the achievements and activities of his peer. Although state officials made covert and public calls for vote in favor of potential candidate during working hours, they can’t be considered as a violation of electoral law until Andriy Aksyonov obtains “electoral subject”. However, the manner in which local government officials expressed their support for potential candidate creates unequal conditions for electoral subjects. As a mayor of Dobropillya, Andriy Aksyonov intensified his working visits to the cities located in election constituency. During working visits, he held meetings with the heads of territorial communities and addressed the problems of local residents. The candidate also made use of public reception office of “Poryadok” party to conduct meetings with voters. The mayor took advantage of his position to promote himself as a potential candidate and increase public recognition. It should be noted that mayoral position is an elective post that doesn’t fall within the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Prevention of Corruption”. At the same time, National Agency of Ukraine for Civil Service issued a Decree “On approval of general rules of ethical conduct of civil servants and local government officials”. Section III of the Decree states that “civil servants and local government officials are banned from using their official position for political purposes in any way”. However, given the fact that mayoral position is a political capacity, the aforesaid actions of potential candidate may be considered as an abuse of administrative resources in the context of international election standards.

In February, OPORA’s observers recorded intensification of MP visits aimed at expressing public support for certain candidates. In particular, MPs Sofiya Fedyna, Akhtem Chiygoz, Mykola Kniazhytskyi, Mykhailo Zabrodskyi and Petro Poroshenko made a visit to election constituency No.87 to voice their support for local candidate. MPs Nataliya Korolevska, Volodymyr Moroz and Valeriy Hnatenko participated in the election campaign of candidate Artem Marchevskyi in election constituency No.50. Electoral law does not expressly prohibit MPs from campaigning or participating in the campaign. The Law “On the Status of the People’s Deputy of Ukraine” vests MPs with a wide range of powers and mechanisms for exercising their responsibilities, including constant communication with voters, survey of public opinion, needs and demands of the population. The procedure for participation of people’s deputies in campaigning events within the framework of the exercise of official powers is not directly regulated by the laws of Ukraine. The Law “On the Status of the People’s Deputy of Ukraine” does not provide for participation of MPs in campaigning activities during the electoral process. According to the calendar plan of fifth sitting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of IX convocation, Nataliya Korolevska and Petro Poroshenko visited the constituencies to campaign in favor of candidates on February 23 and February 26, respectively. The dates of their visits coincide with the days allocated for work with voters. Besides creating unequal conditions for electoral subjects, participation of representatives of legislative branch in the campaigns of certain candidates raises questions about efficiency of performance of direct duties and responsibilities assigned to MPs.

Recommendations

To political parties – electoral subjects

  • Refrain from bribing the voters in any form or by any means in compliance with legal requirements and democratic election standards.
  • Ensure complete transparency of campaign finance while preventing the involvement of third parties (charity foundations, NGOs) in covert funding of election campaigns.

To national and local media 

  • Provide unbiased coverage of the course of preparation and conduct of by-elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine.
  • Strictly adhere to legal requirements for compliance with the principle of equal conditions and equal access for all candidates and political parties – electoral subjects.

To the officials of central and local authorities

  • Strictly adhere to the principle of political neutrality during the electoral process.
  • Provide election commissions with all the necessary technical means and materials in order to ensure effective implementation of epidemiological response measures.

To Central Election Commission

  • Provide voters and commission members with explanations of peculiarities of interaction with the departments of State register of voters under conditions of incomplete process of formation of rayon state administrations on the basis of new administrative (rayon) division.

To district election commissions

  • Provide for implementation of anti-epidemic measures during meetings and other forms of activity.
  • Ensure the legitimacy of the process of formation of precinct election commissions by way of informing the electoral subjects in a proper manner.

To National Police of Ukraine

  • Ensure prompt investigation of alleged facts of bribery of voters that were recorded in district election constituencies No.50 and No.87.
  • Inform the media and general public about preliminary results of investigation of crimes against electoral rights of citizens on a regular basis.