14 of 29 cities where the second round of mayoral election is to be held have a high probability of conflicts during the voting and vote count process as well as use-of-force confrontations and appeals against election results. At the same time, government bodies and election commissions have secured fairly good conditions for the second round of voting on 15 November 2015. Civil Network OPORA calls on mayoral candidates to refrain from putting election commission members under the pressure and on law enforcement bodies to timely respond to bribery incidents and other violations of electoral legislation.

Olha AIVAZOVSKA, Electoral and Parliamentary Programs Coordinator at the Civil Network OPORA says: “Judging from the course of election campaign and regional social and political context, we may suggest that conflicts may emerge during the second round of voting and vote count process in 14 of 29 cities, particularly:“ ”Dnipropetrovsk, Pavlohrad, Kryvyi Rih, Dniprodzerzhynsk, Nikopol, Zaporizhzhia, Berdiansk, Melitopol, Kramatorsk, Mykolaiv, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk”. According to the expert, the following complications may emerge on the 15 November 2015: voter bribery, use-of-force confrontations between candidates, drawbacks in functioning of election commissions, and manipulations in vote count and election results tabulation.

The candidates participating in the second round of mayoral election are not campaigning as actively as they were before the first round on 25 October 2015. However, Analyst at the Civil Network OPORA Oleksandr Kliuzhev, has noted: “Election campaigns are the most dynamic and contentious in cities where candidates have a minimal margin of votes: ”Dnipropetrovsk, Lutsk, Zhytomyr, Sievierodonetsk, Khmelnytsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Bila Tserkva and Melitopol.”

As for the negative side of the election campaign, we have to mention widespread "dirty campaigning", campaigning materials without an imprint, misuse of administrative resources by candidates holding offices in local self-government bodies. OPORA's observers have noticed that current mayors of 14 of 29 cities where the second round is to be held have misused administrative resources to receive non-competitive advantages. These cities are: Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Kremenchuk, Kryvyi Rih, Lutsk, Lviv, Poltava, Rivne, Sievierodonetsk, Sumy, Uzhgorod, Khmelnytsk, Cherkasy, Chernivtsi, and Chernihiv. 

Campaign financing remains nontransparent in Ukraine. Besides that, the effective legislation doesn't provide effective sanctions for violation of campaign regulations. Interim and final financial reporting mechanisms established by the Law of Ukraine on Local Elections are not working to full capacity, and opportunities for citizen oversight of the campaign financing are quite restricted.

It should be mentioned that an efficient investigation of a case concerning violation of electoral legislation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in Chernivtsi, as well as ongoing investigation of mass voter bribery in Dnipropetrovsk would become a good prevention for electoral subjects planning criminal offenses. At the same time, law enforcement bodies should actively work on the election day and during the vote count to prevent and detect electoral violations.

OPORA calls on the President of Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to secure the rotation of CEC membership in accordance with the legislation as soon as the election results for the second round of mayoral election in 29 cities as well as local election in Mariupol and Krasnoarmiisk are determined, in order to increase public trust to activities of this state body.

For comment, please contact:

Olha Aivazovska, 063 617 97 50

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Civil Network OPORA conducts citizen observation of local elections in Ukraine, scheduled for 25 October 2015. Civic monitoring conducted by OPORA - is a type of network activity, aimed at impartial assessment of the preparation and conduct of elections, as well as preventing electoral violations through comprehensive civic action. 144 long-term observers were deployed to all Ukrainian regions on 5 September, and 3000 short-term observers will join them on the election day. Follow the latest news on OPORA's website and Map of Violations “2015 Local Elections”. We recommend that every observer, journalist and active citizen download application “Local Elections” for Android.