ON RESULTS OF CVU LONG-TERM MONITORING OF PREPARATIONS FOR EARLY
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE IN APRIL 1-18th, 2014
Committee of voters of Ukraine is a non-governmental civic organisation which monitors election processes in ukraine. With the beginning of the early Presidential elections campaign , 150 CVU long term observers work in the regions on Ukraine.
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
- In a number of regions of the state political situation remains unstable. Activity of illegal paramilitary groups, clashes of pro-Russian radicals with citizens an law enforcement bodies complicate preparations for early elections of the Head of state and may lead to declaration of elections in specific regions invalid. According to the Law “On elections of President of Ukraine” election results should be established number of polling stations where the elections have not been held or voting was declared invalid.
In order to provide proper legitimacy of the elections law enforcement bodies should enact additional measures to further safety of voting, vote tabulation and establishment of voting results in problematic regions (in particular, in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv oblasts).
- The idea to hold early elections of the Head of state on the same day with national referendum deserves critical assessment. First of all, nowadays there no constitutional grounds for acting President to adopt corresponding decision. Secondly, the existing wording of the Law “On all-Ukrainian referendum” will not let holding the referendum in accordance with international standards, as soon as a number of the Law provisions are contrary to the Constitution, and legal regulation of referendum procedures is very poor. Thirdly, only 40 days are left before voting on early elections, and if a decision to conduct referendum is adopted, voters will not have enough time to freely form their opinion on issues in question.
CVU calls for abandoning the idea to hold all-Ukrainian referendum on the same day with Presidential and some early (midterm) local elections.
- In the first half of April the Central election commission (CEC) has performed its activities according to the Law “On elections of President of Ukraine”. The normative acts adopted by the CEC corresponded with the Law requirements and were adopted with due consideration of the schedule, provided by the law. District election commissions (DEC) were formed by CEC in time and without violation of the current legislation. Candidates' proxies and international observers were registered in accordance with the legal requirements.
- Though in general DECs held their first meetings in time as according to the Law, it happened to be a problem for certain commissions to secure a quorum on the first meeting and also to take the oath by two thirds of DEC members. Some candidates had irresponsible attitude towards nomination of candidates to DECs. As a result, persons who do not want or can not work in DEC due to objective reasons, have been included to the commissions. By nominations of certain candidates for President, persons affiliated with violations of election legislation or commitment of other unscrupulous actions have been included to the DECs.
Candidates should as soon as possible file appeals on replacement of corresponding commission members so that DECs composition would remain stable up to the early elections voting.
- According to observations, far from every DEC is provided with proper premises, means of communication, equipment, inventory etc.
Local authorities should make arrangements aimed at proper material and technical provision of election commissions' activities.
- Candidates in President of Ukraine as a whole do lead active pre-election campaigning. Such an attitude deserves support, as contributes to reduction of expenses on pre-election campaigning. At the same time, problems of empty campaigning materials and unrealistic pre-election promises of many candidates remain topical.
- Some concern is caused by cases of so called “administrative resource” used by some candidates in President for campaigning, obstruction of some candidates' campaigning, dissemination of appeals to disrupt elections by some candidates, violation of territorial integrity of the state etc.
CVU calls law enforcement bodies to carefully investigate all such facts and bring offenders to responsibility for committed violations.
1. General overview of the political situation in regions and the risks for early presidential elections in Ukraine
1.1. Destabilisation of social and political situation in some regions
After occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by Russian Federation separatist movements became active in many regions of Southern and Eastern Ukraine. Although anti-government demonstrations in several oblasts (Mykolayiv, Kherson oblasts) began to decline gradually in March 2014, in some Eastern oblasts, especially in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv numerous cases of capturing of administrative buildings, military equipment and weapons, creating illegitimate quasi governmental authorities were reported. In some Central and Eastern regions the situation is relatively quiet, but still we shouldn’t exclude the risks of events for the "Donetsk" scenario. In Dnipropetrovsk oblast there were reported rare separatist activities, but they were relatively peaceful and did not lead to negative results. The situation in Odesa oblast is similar.
By contrast in Donetsk oblast armed separatists captured the building of Donetsk oblast state administrations of Makiivka, Enakievo, Donetsk, Mariupol and others city councils, building of Donetsk International Airport. There was also a capture of Interior Ministry offices in Gorlivka, Slovyansk and other cities of the oblast. Slovyansk with a population of over 120 thousand people is completely under control of separatists. The roadblocks are placed on the road routes of the region where criminals check transport of citizens. There were also armed attacks on the military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, however in Mariupol the attack was repulsed, which lead to death (according to official data) of three attackers. On April 18, 2014 a counter-terrorism operation was held in the region, which has not yet showed significant results.
Separatist activities in Luhansk oblast are generally localised and mainly take place in oblast centre. April 5, 2014 the building of regional office of Security Service of Ukraine with lots of weapons were captured by radicals. The capture occurred at actual acquiescence of office staff. Former head of the appeal court of Luhansk oblast Anatoliy Vizyr proclaimed himself a President of “South Eastern Republic” and controls the regional office of the SSU (where his "residence" is located).
In Kharkiv oblast on the night of April 8, 2014 pro-Russian activists captured the building of the Kharkiv oblast state administration. Local police didn't show resistance to the capture; moreover, internal affairs employees applauded radicals. In the morning the building was released, while during the special operation 64 participants of the assault were detained. Assault of oblast state administration was preceded with the fight with the local Euromaidan provoked by pro-Russian activists. As a result, more than 30representatives of Euromaidan received injuries of different severity level and were hospitalised. April 7, 2014 at night separatists captured the office of commercial broadcaster ATN, blocked its work, destroyed equipment and stole some stuff. Anti-government and pro-Russian protests continued the next days, but the situation in general didn't escalate to the level of Donetsk oblast.
Significant role in the escalation of the conflict in Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts was played by absence of adequate response to events from the higher state authorities (anti-terrorist operation was conducted mainly on paper), interest of some politicians and external actors (including Russian Federation) in disrupting elections, which are an instrument of forming legitimate government, activities of paramilitary units, coordinated and according to some data supported organisationally and financially by the Russian Federation, inaction of local authorities and police to the de-escalation of the conflict, an active information campaign of anti-Ukrainian / anti-government orientation held by Russian media, representatives of paramilitary units and self-proclaimed authorities.
Destabilising actions of separatist groups pose a potential threats to organisation and holding of early presidential elections in Ukraine (see below). We cannot exclude possible acts of intimidation during the campaign activities of candidates, provocations aimed at disrupting the vote, attempts to attack polling stations and district election commissions, courts, people who will transport the election documentation. Therefore, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Defence and the Security Service of Ukraine should take active and effective measures to localise and eliminate a conflict, guarantee the safety of citizens, judges and election commissions’ members, as well as a free and secret will expression for voters on the stages of vote, counting and tabulation.
1.2. Personnel changes in local authorities
While in some regions there have been significant personnel changes in local government and law enforcement agencies, in many oblasts staffing of local state administrations and law-enforcement agencies remained unchanged. In some regions (Cherkasy, Chernivtsi oblasts) candidates are approved by “people's councils”, “maidan” and other non-institutionalised entities that may have negative affect on the level of employees' professionalism. All these factors increase risks of destabilising the situation in these regions and, therefore, can negatively affect organisation of the electoral process, and even lead to failure of elections.
Significant personnel changes in oblast and district state administrations were made only in Vinnytsia, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr oblasts. Large-scale personnel changes also were held in Odesa oblast. However, in some regions personnel changes were held at the best only for management of oblast state administrations and some heads of district administrations.
For example, in the Chernivtsi oblast no deputy head of oblast state administration was assigned. Introduced at the local Maidan as first deputy head of oblast state administration businessman Ivan Rybak continues to perform functions of advisor to the head of oblast state administration. Besides, all heads of district state administrations were dismissed, but not a single new head was appointed. In Chernivtsi oblast state administration some heads of departments were replaced (most new heads were proposed by local people's association "Maidan" managed by a former representative of "Our Ukraine" party Yuriy Ivashyn, who is also an advisor to the head of oblast state administration and in fact is the second most influential person in oblast state administration). In Ivano-Frankivsk oblast there are no approved deputy heads of oblast state administrations. There are still vacant positions of heads of some district state administrations in Kherson oblast. As of April 18, 2014 in Khmelnytsky oblast 16 of 20 heads and some deputy heads of district state administrations were dismissed. No appointment of heads of district state administrations took place in Kiev oblast. In Poltava oblast there are still 9 vacant positions of head of district state administration. As of April 18, 2014 in Ternopil oblast only 5 of 17 heads of district state administrations were assigned. In Odesa oblast during March and April 13 heads of district state administrations were dismissed, but new heads were not appointed to the posts. In Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk oblasts personnel changes were mainly made only for managerial staff of oblast state administrations.
Personnel changes in law enforcement bodies also are being implemented slowly. Thus, in Chernivtsi oblast post of head of oblast department of SSU still remains vacant. In Ivano-Frankivsk oblast post of head of the main Internal Affairs of Ukraine department in oblast remains vacant. In Kirovohrad oblast there are vacant posts of oblast prosecutor, heads of oblast departments of SSU and MIA. In some regions appointments to senior positions of law enforcement bodies are carried out with participation of lustration committees. In particular, on April 14th, 2014 lustration committee of Rivne oblast supported nomination of Pavlo Alekseenko for position of the head of department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Rivne oblast. Voting results are to be sent to heads of Rivne oblast state administration and oblast council, as well as to the Minister of Internal Affairs.
1.3. Risks of elections disrupt
According to the eighth and the ninth sections of the Law “On Elections of the President of Ukraine”, DEC shall determine the voting result in territorial constituency no later than at the fifth day after election day regardless the number of polling stations in the district where were taken decisions to declare the vote at the polling station invalid, and regardless the number of polling stations in the district where the vote was not organised and conducted on election day. If voting at all polling stations in the constituency was not prepared and conducted on Election Day, DEC determines that voting in the constituency on Election Day has not taken place. If the vote within individual territorial constituencies was not organised and conducted, the results of the vote on Election Day of the President of Ukraine shall be established by the vote established in other territorial constituencies (section 2, Article 84 of the Law).
These provisions show that regardless of the number of polling stations where voting May 25, 2014 cannot take place or is declared invalid, the CEC will still establish voting results. Thus, elections disruption in case of escalation of social and political situation in some regions is in fact eliminated in the Law “On Elections of the President of Ukraine”. At the same time, in case conducting elections in several densely populated regions of Eastern Ukraine (Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk and other oblasts) is impossible, it will raise a question of the legitimacy of national elections results in general, as the future head of state will be elected by voters only from some regions. Therefore, law enforcement bodies should take steps to enhance the security of voting, counting and tabulation of early elections.
2. Activities of the CEC
From 4 to 18 April 2014 the CEC activities on preparation and conducting of early presidential elections in Ukraine were mainly limited to the adoption of legal acts necessary to implement the new version of the Law “On Elections of the President of Ukraine”, registration of candidates for President proxies and registration of international observers. On April 14th, 2014 the CEC established district election commissions. If we not to consider the issue of organising electoral process on the territory of Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, no violations in activities of the CEC were observed by CVU. In addition to preparation for the presidential elections, the CEC also carried out preparations for the midterm elections of People's Deputy of Ukraine in constituency №83 and adopted acts aimed to ensure implementation of recent amendments to the Law “On the Elections of Deputies to the Verkhovna Rada of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Deputies of Local Councils, Village, Town and City Heads”. The CEC also took steps within its powers for proper organisation of the electoral process in midterm local elections, which are to be held simultaneously with early presidential elections.
The most notable CEC decision on preparation for the presidential elections in the period 4-18 April 2014 was the refusal to establish 12 DECs in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC) and the city of Sevastopol, and provision by CEC appropriate conditions to exercise electoral rights for voters who have the ARC and Sevastopol registration, by simplifying the procedure of temporal change of voting place without change of voting address. Appointment of two new CEC members did not significantly affect the activities of the CEC aimed at providing preparations for May 25th, 2014 elections.
2.1. Adoption of regulations aimed to ensure implementation of the Law “On Elections of the President of Ukraine”
In the period from 4 to 18 April 2014 the CEC adopted a number of resolutions aimed to establish conditions for the proper conducting of early presidential elections and to implement provisions of the new version of the Law “On Elections of the President of Ukraine”:
- resolution of April 7, 2014 № 218 “On the form of protocols and other election documents of election commissions at presidential election of Ukraine on vote counting at polling stations.” Resolution approves the form of the PEC protocols on vote counting at polling stations, the DEC protocol on the recount of votes at a polling station, acts of issuing copies of the PEC protocol on vote counting at a polling station, information sheet on transfer the PEC protocols on vote counting at polling station to DEC at presidential election of Ukraine, acts to cancel the PEC protocol forms on vote counting at polling station. Resolution also provides degree of protocols protection against forgery (printing numbers of protocol's worksheets with special paint that glow in ultraviolet light, laying guilloche anti-scanner grid, etc.)
- resolution of April 8, 2014 № 225 “On Explanation on giving ordinal number to special polling stations that exist on temporary basis by district election commission at presidential elections of Ukraine.” Explanation stipulates that special polling station, which exist on a temporary basis, has an ordinal number determined by DEC which consists of six Arabic numerals, beginning with 000001;
- resolution of April 8, 2014 № 226 “On Procedure of payment to members of district and precinct election commissions of presidential elections in Ukraine.” Resolution determines the procedure of labour compensation for DEC members (including labour compensation to commission members who perform their duties on a paid basis, labour compensation for commission members on election day and days of the tabulation, as well as one-time reward to election commissions members), approves a form of agreement on performing duties of election commission member at presidential elections of Ukraine and a form of certificate on performance of such duties;
- resolution of April 8, 2014 № 227 “On the order of providing transport services to district and precinct election commissions at elections of people's deputies of Ukraine, President of Ukraine, district and precinct election commissions at the all-Ukrainian referendum.” Procedure determines the essential conditions and the form of agreement on transport services for DECs and PECs, principles of calculating the cost of these services, calculation of depreciation, requirements for suppliers of transport services etc.;
- resolution of April 8, 2014 № 228 “On approval of cost sheet of expenses for preparation and conduct of early presidential elections in Ukraine on May 25th, 2014 for the needs of precinct election commissions at polling stations abroad in 2014.” According to the resolution, the total scope of expenses for the purposes of PECs at polling stations abroad will be 9 mln.UAH;
- resolution of April 9, 2014 № 239 “On the order of transmission of ballot papers for the presidential elections of Ukraine to precinct election commissions of polling stations abroad”. The resolution determines the procedure of transferring ballot papers from the CEC to the PECs of polling stations abroad. It stipulates that the CEC at its meeting should transfer ballots in the manufacturer's package to the authorised representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in term which is enough that ballots arrived to PECs of polling stations abroad no later than 3 days before the election or before repeat voting. It also provides that ballots will be transferred to the location of polling stations abroad by the MFA of Ukraine via diplomatic mail or in other defined by MFA way that ensures safety of ballots and their delivery to destination no later than 24 hours before Election Day (the day of repeat voting). The resolution also establishes a form of election documents related to transferring ballots to PEC of poling stations abroad (form of delivery acceptance act of ballot papers between the manufacturer and the PEC of polling station abroad, form of the CEC protocol on transferring ballots to PECs of polling stations abroad, etc.);
- resolution of April 9, 2014 № 240 “On amendments to resolution of the Central Election Commission from September 13, 2012 № 893”. Resolution provides significant changes to the CEC resolution № 893 of 13.09.2012 “On temporary change of voting place of voter without changing his voting address”. Particularly it states that voters having voting address on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol can submit application on temporary change of voting place without documents confirming the need for temporary change of their voting place;
- resolution of April 9, 2014 № 243 “On Submission of financial reports by district election commissions at presidential election of Ukraine on receipt and use of the State Budget of Ukraine costs allocated for preparation and conduct of presidential elections in Ukraine”. Resolution approved the Procedure for submission financial reports by DECs at Ukraine's presidential election on the receipt and use funds of the State Budget of Ukraine allocated for preparation and conduct of the presidential elections, relevant financial reporting framework, deadlines for preparation and submission, procedure for acceptance reports by the Secretariat of the CEC, and forms linked to the preparation of financial reports;
- resolution of April 11, 2014 № 255 “On the order of involving specialists, experts and technical staff to organisational, legal, informational and technical support to election commissions during preparation and conduct of elections of the President of Ukraine”. According to the resolution DECs can involve 10-12 specialists, experts and technical staff (depending on the number of polling stations in the district) to organisational, legal, information and other support for their activities and PEC - no more than one person. The resolution also defines a procedure of involving such persons to PECs and DECs activities and documents related to the involvement (contracts, certificates on provided services, etc.);
- resolution of April 13, 2014 № 262 “On the order of providing airtime and print space to campaigning within funds of State Budget of Ukraine allocated for preparation and conduct of presidential elections of Ukraine”. Resolution determines the order of providing candidates for presidency with airtime on radio and television for campaigning and print space to publish their election programs within funds of State Budget of Ukraine allocated for preparation and conducting of presidential elections;
- resolution of April 13, 2014 № 263 “On the order of drawing lots for the sequence of airtime provision to the candidates for President of Ukraine within the State Budget of Ukraine allocated for preparation and conduct of elections of the President of Ukraine”. The resolution defines a procedure for the technical and main drawing of lots for the sequence of airtime provision to the candidates for President of Ukraine on the First National Channel of the National Television Company of Ukraine and on the First National Channel of the National Radio Company of Ukraine for campaigning by candidates for President of Ukraine;
- resolution of April 15, 2014 № 275 “On the forms of submissions to replace the members of district and precinct election commissions for elections of President of Ukraine”. Resolution approves the forms of submissions to replace DEC and PEC members of ordinary, special precincts and precincts abroad, PEC members of precincts formed on the ship sailing under the State Flag of Ukraine on the Election day, as well as on polar station of Ukraine, PEC members of special precinct established for exceptional case;
- resolution of April 15, 2014 № 276 “On explanation of the procedure for verification the fact of temporary inability of voter to move independently to organise election of the President of Ukraine at place of voter's stay”. According to the resolution facts of temporary inability voters to move independently should be verified for each particular voter by 3 or more PEC members chosen with decision of PEC. The purpose of inspection is finding the fact that the voter wrote an application for granting him the opportunity to vote at place of stay and verification that a voter has a medical certificate proving voter's inability to move independently due to health reasons. This inspection is conducted by direct visits to the voter at the defined in his application address, phone conversation with a voter, sending request to certain medical institution to confirm the authenticity of issued certificate or verifying the information received; inspection should be done before PEC's decision to include a voter in extract of voter list;
- resolution of April 15, 2014 № 279 “On approving the distribution of funds of the State budget of Ukraine allocated for the preparation and conduct of early presidential elections in Ukraine on May 25, 2014, and the average rates of expenditures for election commissions in 2014”. According to the resolution the average expenditure norms of DEC are approved from 84 846 to 99 130 UAH (depending on the number of precincts in certain territorial constituency). Average expenditure rate for the purposes of PEC estimated from 17,058 UAH (small precincts) to 17 499 UAH (large precincts);
- resolution of April 17, 2014 № 293 “On approval of drawing lots results for provision of airtime to candidates for President of Ukraine for campaigning within the State Budget of Ukraine allocated for preparation and conduct of early presidential elections in Ukraine May 25, 2014”. Resolution defined the sequence of providing the candidates for President with airtime for campaigning for funds of the State budget;
- resolution of April 17, 2014 № 298 “On amendments to the resolution of the Central Election Commission from October 22, 2009 № 178 “On the order of control on receipt, accounting and use of election funds of candidates for the post of President of Ukraine”. Resolution provides amendments (mostly “technical”) to the existing order of control over financing of election campaigns. Also it assumes that information on amount of the election funds of candidates for President of Ukraine and financial reports on the use of funds will be published by CEC in the newspaper "Holos Ukrayiny" and "Uryadovy Courier" and posted on the official website of the Central Election Commission no later than eighteenth day after the Election Day.
2.2. Registering official observers
As of April 18th 2014 CEC has registered official observers of 4 international organisations (OSCE/ODIHR, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, Parliamentary Assembly of Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Ukrainian World Congress), one foreign state (Lithuania), and also granted a permission to have official election observers to 10 civic organisations. Some civic organisations were rejected from a permission to have official observers on elections, in particular:
- Ukrainian public organisation “Civil Initiative Support Centre” (rejected because in the organisation's Charter there are no provisions about election process and observation as organisation's Charter activity, and also because a copy of certificate on registration of legal person was provided instead of a copy of certificate on registration of the organisation (CEC resolution of 27.03.2014 № 83);
- Kharkiv oblast civic organisation “Agency of public design “Right of Choice” (rejected because the application for the permission to have official observers was submitted after the deadline (CEC resolution of 7.04.2014 № 217).
As a whole, registering of official observers and provision of permissions to have official observers on elections to civic organisations was performed according to the provisions of the Law “On elections of the president of Ukraine”.
2.3. Registering of proxies of candidates in President of Ukraine
As of April 18th 2014 majority of candidates in President did not submit to CEC application on registration of their proxies in territorial election districts. The most nominations of proxies for TED were submitted by candidates in President Yu.Tymoshenko (in 213 TED), P.Symonenko (in 209 TED), М.Dobkin (in 156 TED) and A.Grytsenko (in 129 TED). P.Poroshenko nominated his proxies in 129 TED only. Some candidates in President have zero proxies not only in TEDs, but also in national election district (V.Saranov, Z.Shkiryak, D.Yarosh). There were no CEC decisions on rejection from registering proxies.
3. Establishment of district election commissions
On April 14th CEC established district election commissions for elections of the President of Ukraine (CEC resolution № 268 of 14.04.2014). The CEC resolution “on establishment of district election commissions for elections of President of Ukraine for midterm elections of the President of Ukraine of May 25th 2014” was adopted according to the schedule of DEC formation, established by the Law “On elections of the President of Ukraine”. The CEC decision on establishment of DEC was also consistent with the provisions of the Law “On elections of the President of Ukraine”, as evidenced by absence of appeals from election process subjects to declare it invalid.
Besides, on April 13th CEC adopted a resolution № 266 “On deviation of nominations, proposed by candidates in President of Ukraine for composition of territorial election commissions on elections of the President of Ukraine”, which rejected 3 nominations to DECs, submitted by the following candidates in President of Ukraine:
Korolevska N.Yu. CEC rejected nomination of Slyvkina A.O., proposed for composition of DEC of TED № 29 because there was no consent to work in the election commission written by Slyvkina A.O. personally;
Tyagnybok О.Ya. CEC rejected nomination of Marko I.G., proposed for composition of DEC of TED № 120 because the nominee for membership in DEC held position in state authorities institution;
Shkiryak Z.N. Nomination of Duritsin S.A., proposed for composition of DEC of TED № 55 was rejected by CEC because there was no consent to work in the election commission written by him personally.
All the other nominations for DEC composition were taken into account by the CEC in the process of DEC formation. On April 13th 2014 CEC refused to establish territorial election districts on the territory of Autonomous Republic of Crimea (10 TED) and city of Sevastopol (2 TED) which are occupied by the Russian Federation. CEC explained the decision on not establishing 12 TED on the territory of Crimea by lack of nominations to corresponding DECs from the candidates in President, as well as premises for DECs work, impossibility to organise commissions' work on occupied territory in general (even if established). In such a way, results of voting on early Presidential elections, including results of voters of Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol city (if such voters will use possibility to change place of voting without change of voting address) will be established not by 225, but by 213 DEC and (regarding results of voting in out-of-state election district) by CEC.
10 candidates in president of Ukraine nominated members of all 213 DECs, 4 candidates — to 212 DECs, 2 — to 210 DECs, while 5 candidates nominated members for less then 200 DECs. Two candidates in president (A.Grynenko and V.Konovalyuk) proposed no nominations to DECs at all. Among candidates who nominated members of DEC, candidate in President R.Kuzmin proposed the less (82).
As soon as nominees of all candidates in President which were consistent with the requirements were included to DECs, in general DECs were established with sizeable composition — from 16 to 21 DEC members. Considering the fact that some DECs are not provided with proper premises for work, simultaneous presence of all DEC members, proxies, official observers and mass media representatives may complicate organisation of their work. Though selection of election commission members by means of drawing lots has its risks, in future legislators should establish limit for number of DEC members, the same as established by the laws on conduction of parliamentary and local elections. Such an approach would enable unification of DEC formation procedures, established in different election laws and also form DECs with such a number of members that would allow commissions to work effectively.
According to CEC data, almost 67% of newly-appointed DEC members have experience of wok in election commissions; almost 83% of them have university education. Fairness of these information raises doubts as soon as it is based on data indicated in applications with nominations to DECs. However, the Law “On elections of the President of Ukraine” does not provide procedure of verification of data, indicated in applications with nominations to election commissions.
According to the information of a number of CVU regional branches, many DECs have included persons who do not plan to work on the positions in the commissions, reside in other regions or have no previous experience of participation in an election process.
In particular DEC of TED № 204 (Chernivtsi oblast) included persons who permanently reside in cities of Kyiv, Dniepropetrovsk and Lviv and who were not present at the first meeting of the DEC. The same situation was registered in a number of other DECs of Chernivtsi oblast (DEC of TED № 205, 206, 207). In Donetsk oblast each DEC on average includes three persons who do not reside in the region (Kyiv city, oblasts of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhya, Lviv, Luhansk ad other oblasts) and most probably will not be able to participate in the work of commissions they were appointed to. In Kharkiv oblast members of DEC TED №№ 173, 175, 176 (Kharkiv city) nominated by candidates in president O.Tsaryov, Yu.Bojko, V.Saranov, S.Tihipko do not live in Kharkiv city. At the same time, members of a DEC established to cover Kharkiv oblast but outside Kharkiv city (TED №178, 181) nominated by the above mentioned candidates and also by N.Korolevska, do live in Kharkiv city. This circumstance may complicate their work in the commissions. In DEC of TED № 120 (Lviv oblast) 2 members of DEC did not even know which candidates have nominated them to the commissions. In DEC of TED № 157 (Rivne oblast) deputy head of DEC is a resident of Demydivka village which is located rather far fro the DEC (more then 200 km), so he was not able to be present at the first meeting of the DEC. The first meeting of DEC № 158 (Rivne oblast) was not attended by it head, because he lives in Lviv city.
That is why numerous changes in the composition of DECs by candidates in president of Ukraine is expected. In some regions number of such rotation may be substantial (from 20 to 50%).
Proportion of women in DECs composition is rather high and reaches almost 48%. In such a way, gender composition of DECs is rather balanced.
CVU revealed that nominees of 9 candidates in President of Ukraine were affiliated with violations of election legislation or other unscrupulous actions (committed by them personally or by election commissions they worked).
The largest number of such persons were appointed to DECs by nomination of M.Dobkin (10, including 1 head of DEC), the smallest – by nomination of R.Kuzmin (1 DEC member), N.Korolevska (1 DEC member), Yu.Bojko (1 DEC secretary), О.Klymenko (1 DEC member). By nomination of S.Tihipko 6 such persons were included in DECs (including 1 deputy head of DEC and 1 secretary of DEC), P.Symonenko — 3 persons, Yu.Tymoshenko — 2 persons (including 1 head of DEC):
- Aleksandrova Svitlana Oleksandrivna (DEC of TED № 125)
- Alekseenko Tamara Volodymyrivna (DEC of TED № 215)
- Beberina Ludmyla Mykolaivna (DEC of TED № 147)
- Bordun Mariia Myroslavivna (DEC of TED № 90)
- Vlasov Oleksiy Vyacheslavovych (DEC of TED № 145)
- Geragozov Yuriy Viktorovych (DEC of TED № 138)
- Grygorets Mykola Semenovych (DEC of TED № 186)
- Gubko Mykola Ivanovych (DEC of TED № 137)
- Zinovjev Oleksandr Oleksandrovych (DEC of TED № 145)
- Ilyuk Mykhailo Mykhailovych (DEC of TED № 90)
- Ischenko Serhiy Serhiyovych (DEC of TED № 169)
- Kyrylyova Kateryna Ivanivna (DEC of TED № 109)
- Kovalenko Nataliia Mykolaivna (DEC of TED № 214)
- Kozyrenko Mykhailo Demyanovych (DEC of TED № 145)
- Kolesnikov Maksim Mykolayovych (DEC of TED № 95)
- Komendant Lyubov Ivanivna (DEC of TED № 36)
- Kravchenko Nataliia Ivanivna (DEC of TED № 116)
- Levtsun Yaroslav Yuriyovych (DEC of TED № 97)
- Loskutov Serhiy Ivanovych (DEC of TED № 158)
- Mykytuik Vasyl Mykolayovych (DEC of TED № 134)
- Odynets Volodymyr Illich (DEC of TED № 138)
- Petrunchak Serhiy Volodymyrovych (DEC of TED № 14)
- Prudenko Lyubov Leonidivna (DEC of TED № 46)
- Svynarchuk Olena Viktorivna (DEC of TED № 223)
- Stelmaschuk Olena Vasylivna (DEC of TED №90)
- Cheban-Lyanka Oleksandr Yosypovych (DEC of TED № 145)
That is why the above mentioned subjects of nomination of candidates to DECs should replace those DEC members who were affiliated with violation of election legislation of commitment of other unscrupulous actions during the election process at previous elections.
4. Start of district election commissions' activities
In most cases the first meetings of DECs were held according to the schedule established by the law. Among the main problems of the DEC activities are as following: absence of some DEC members on the first meetings (among reasons — unsuccessful attempts to contact them; residence of DEC members in other regions; DEC members did not know that there included to the commissions), lack of proper premises for DEC work and necessary equipment. The problem with a lack of necessary material and technical provision of DECs was generally widespread.
Destabilisation of social and political situation in specific regions could not but influence work of DECs, established in these regions. In particular, because of seise of administrative buildings in towns of Kramatorsk and Enakievo DECs of TED № 48 and 53 had to hold their meetings in premises, which addresses were not indicated on CEC website. Because of seizure of Slovyansk town by radical groups meeting of DEC of TED №47 was not held at all.
In many DEC absence of newly-appointed members on the meetings there was no quorum or presence of only two thirds of membership did not let DECs hold the first meetings and/or enter upon its powers. In particular, less then 2/3 of total membership of DECs of TED №№ 41,42, 43, 45, 52, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61 (Donetsk oblast) took part in the first meeting, not enabling these commissions to come into power. Main reasons of DEC members' absence were complicated situation in the oblast and also inclusion of persons who reside outside Donetsk oblast to DECs composition. Some appointed DEC members were not accessible for other members to contact at all (DEC of TED №51, 52, 58 (Donetsk oblast), №№ 91 and 93 (Kyiv oblast), among reasons — incorrect contact details in applications for DEC membership. In particular, DEC failed to inform member of DEC of TED № 137 (Odessa oblast) nominated by candidate O.Klymenko about date, place and time of the first DEC meeting because of incorrect contact details. The same situation was registered in other DECs of Odesa oblast (DECs of TED № 140, 143). In Kherson oblast “organisational meetings” were held by DECs instead of the first meetings because of no quorum. In Kyiv oblast there was quorum on the first meeting of only 5 of 9 DECs, established in the oblast.
In some regions newly-appointed DEC heads were absent at the first meetings of the commissions, and the meetings were held by DEC secretaries (DECs of TED №№ 148 and 149, Poltava oblast).
As a whole, DECs were provided with proper premises. On the contrary, DEC of TED № 100 (Kirovohrad oblast) was provided with premises of floor-space less then minimal, and not enough to admit all DEC members, proxies of candidates in President, official observers and mass media representatives. Premises of small floor-space were also provided to some other DECs (in particular, DEC of TED № 119 (Lviv oblast). Problem of material and technical provision of DECs is more topical: many DECs lack stands for placement of corresponding commissions, communication tools are not connected, sign boards are absent etc. In a number of regions local authorities take steps to solve these problems (see below).
5. Activities of local authorities
In most regions local authorities did not make any active steps aimed at provision proper conditions for early elections of the head of state. It is true, in particular, for Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kyiv, Sumy, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Chernivtsi oblasts and Kyiv city. In Donetsk oblast because of complicated social and political situation institutions of local authorities do not display their activities on preparations for elections, as soon as pro-Russian forces do not recognise early Presidential elections.
At the same time, in some regions activities of local authorities for preparations to elections are more noticeable. As a whole, it includes establishment of proper conditions for activities of district election commissions (provision of premises for DECs, provision of DEC premises with necessary equipment) and bodies of State Voter Register, holding meetings and seminars on election matters for civil servants and servants of local self government, establishment of conditions for activities of international election observation missions etc.
In particular, in Vinnytsya oblast head of oblast state administration A.Oliynyk during an educational seminar for heads of rayon state administrations, rayon councils and representatives of local self-government stressed on necessity for civil servants to refrain from participation from campaigning in work hours. Besides, acting city mayor, secretary of Vinnytsya city council S.Morgunov approved a resolution №103-р of April 7th, 2014 “On assistance to district and precinct election commissions in organisation of early elections of President of Ukraine in May-June 2014”. Initiated by acting head of oblast department of Ministry of internal affairs of Ukraine in Vinnytsya oblast and assistance of oblast CVU branch a seminar was held for heads and officers of local law enforcement bodies on the Law “On elections of the President of Ukraine”, in particular the provisions of law enforcement officers' activities in the election process.
In Kirovohrad oblast, in order to provide implementation of the Law “On elections of the President of Ukraine” a resolution №119-р/111-гр of April 14th, 2014 was adopted on by Kirovohrad oblast state administration and head of Kirovohrad oblast council “On organisation of preparations for conduction of early elections of the President of Ukraine on may 25th, 2014 in the oblast”. Similar decisions were adopted in all rayons of the oblast. By this resolution, bodies of state Voter Register are assigned to provide preparation of voters lists and personal invitations, and also transfer of them to election commissions according to the schedule and procedure, established by the law. Besides, the resolution assigns heads of enterprises, institutions and organisations which have precincts on their territory to fully assist election commissions in realisation of their powers, in particular for proper material and technical provision of commissions work.
The work on preparations for early presidential elections is rather active in Ternopil oblast. In particular, head of Ternopil oblast state administration O.Syrotyuk signed a resolution № 115-од of April 10th 2014 “On provision of realisation of constitutional voting rights of citizens of Ukraine, transparency and openness of election process on early elections of the President of Ukraine on May 25th, 2014”. Executive committees of Ternopil and Chortkiv city councils and rayon state administrations are assigned in cooperation with executive bodies of local self-government take steps to provide election commissions with necessary premises in line with established norms, and also with vehicles, communication tools, equipment, inventory, office appliances, organise supervision of election commissions' premises, election ballots and other election documents, allocate places for placement of campaigning materials, establish proper conditions for realisation of voting rights by citizens with special needs, their free expression of will on elections, including provision of free access for them to the premises of election commissions and premises for voting. Department of external affairs, international economic and investment activities of Ternopil Oblast state administration is assigned to provide full assistance to official observers of foreign states and international organisations in realisation of their duties to monitor the election process. Besides, Ternopil city mayor instructed heads of buildings that will host polling stations on the territory of single-mandate election district №165 to provide that measures of civic, industrial and fire security are taken in order not to prevent emergency situations on May 25th 2014 during voting.
In Ivano-Frankivsk oblast local executive bodies and bodies of local self-government held meetings and seminars for civil servants of Ivano-Frankivsk, rayon councils of the oblast, cities of oblast sub-ordinance and also curators of polling stations with involvement of public activists and experts. Besides, local authorities assisted DEC to establish contacts with absent DEC members, to hold the first meetings.
In Kharkiv oblast on April 9th 2014 city mayor of Lozova S.Stepanov held a meeting with heads of Blyznyuky, Lozova, Sakhnovschyna and Pershomaysky rayons on issues of material and technical provision of DECs. Lozova city council has already allocated premises, some furniture and equipment, and also a car. Similar work was done in TED № 178 (Chuguiv city).
In Dnipropetrovsk oblast special headquarters are established for organisation of election process, while in Khmelnytsky oblast a special working group was established to facilitate activities of official observers of foreign states and international organisations during early elections of the head of state.
6. Preparations of parties and candidates to elections and holding pre-election campaigning
Preparations of parties and candidates in President to elections are quite slow — in most regions deployment of election headquarters continues, and what is more, in many cases candidates' election headquarters face problems with human and financial resources. Some candidates (Yu.Tymoshenko, O.Tyagnybok, M.Dobkin, P.Symonenko) use their own party networks for supervision of campaigning activities, as well as party networks of other parties, certain MPs, businessmen, deputies of local councils (P.Poroshenko, O.Bogomolets and some other candidates in president of Ukraine).
In a number of regions pre-election campaigning is either almost missing or low-profile. In particular, materials of pre-election campaigning are almost unobservable on the territory of Donetsk, Luhansk, Sumy, Vinnytsya oblasts.
Main forms of pre-election campaigning are meetings with voters, placement of political advertisements on external media, establishment of campaigning tents, dissemination of printed agitation materials. Use of audiovisual mass media outlets for campaigning is rather an exception. Campaigning materials are actively placed on external media by O.Lyashko, P.Poroshenko, to some extent — M.Dobkin. Campaigning tents are actively erected in support of A.Grytsenko and O.Tyagnybok. It is a peculiarity of the campaign that many candidates focus their activity on several specific regions only. In particular, campaigning activities of N.Korolevska is noticable in Southern regions, while campaigning of O.Tsarev and M.Dobkin — in Eastern oblasts of the country. P.Poroshenko, Yu.tymoshenko, O.Lyashko, A.Grytsenko lead their pre-election campaign on national level.
In some regions there registered cases of hidden political advertising (so called 'jeans”) placement, though it is not yet widespread. In particular, hidden advertising was placed in favour of Yu.Tymoshenko and S.Tygypko in Cherkasy oblast, Yu.Tymoshenko and P.Poroshenko in Chernivtsi and Kherson oblast, M.Dobkin — in Kharkiv oblast.
Because of radicalisation of social and political situation in the country some candidates in President faced problems in leading pre-election campaigning. In particular, in Odessa oblast O.Tsarev's meeting with voters was disrupted in Odessa oblast. In Kyiv city there were registered cased of citizens attacks against M.Dobkin and O.Tsaryov. People threw eggs in M.Dobkin in Pavlohrad and Kryvy Rih (Dnipropetrovsk oblast).
Cases of administrative resource abuse and vote buying are seldom. In particular, on April 4th 2014 deputy mayor of Lozova town (Kharkiv oblast) Oleksandr Nedilko held a meeting with heads of school and stressed that it is important to provide voting in favour of M.Dobkin on early presidential elections. Th same day medical institutions of Kharkiv received phonograms about the necessity to take part with a candidate M.Dobkin on April 8th 2014.
Isolated examples of “black PR” are registered in some regions. The black PR is directed against some specific political actors or candidates in President. In particular, in Chernivtsi city leaflets were registered on April 3rd on Teatralna square. The leaflets without output data with pictures of prime-minister Arseniy Yatsenuyk and acting President Oleksandr Turchinov had an inscription “How t