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
- No conditions for work of DECs, PECs and the State Voter Register bodies in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts controlled by separatist armed groups remains a major threat to holding of elections in these districts. Considering the current situation and the short period remaining before the election, compiling voter lists, creating the conditions for free vote, the security of voters and commission members, fair and reliable vote count in these areas is actually impossible. If the situation in these regions before the election will not change fundamentally, the elections in the respective districts should hardly be conducted (it is referred only to those districts where the anti-terrorist operation is carried out).
Internal affairs agencies and security service must take additional measures to prevent provocations on Election Day in the regions directly bordering Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, which are not under the control of separatists.
- Despite the difficult situation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the Law "On Elections of the President of Ukraine" provides sufficient conditions for establishment of election results and election of the President.
- Making amendments to the Law "On Elections of the President of Ukraine" in the part of reducing the minimum number of PEC members deserves a positive assessment. At the same time, changes to the law in less than a month before the election is not in line with international standards.
In future parliament should approve the electoral laws and amendments thereto involving experts and representatives of non-governmental organisations, to minimise the risk of imperfect laws and as a result their review in process of election campaign.
- The CEC activities on preparation for early presidential election were carried out according to the law and deserve positive assessment.
- The problem of proper material and technical support for DECs and PECs is still topical despite measures taken by local authorities.
All DECs and PECs without exception should be provided with means of communication, transportation, with computers, signs, etc before the election.
- The main problems in DECs' activities are delays in publication of their decisions and difficulties of access to unified analytical information system "Vybory" due to out-of-date computers and perhaps due to shortcomings of the system as well as due to poor service of communication providers.
The CEC should promptly analyse the causes of difficulties in access to the system and take measures to eliminate them.
- Candidates for the President were irresponsible in nominations of the DECs' and PECs' members, which is confirmed with a significant number of replacements of DECs' members, numerous replacements of PEC's members are also expected. Many of the newly appointed commission members did not even have information that their names were proposed to the respective commissions. Mass replacements of commission members weaken the role of commissions in ensuring appropriate conditions for holding elections, undermine efforts to train commission members taken by the CEC together with international donors.
In this regard, in future either the procedure of forming DECs and PECs should be reviewed or the option of replacing committee members on requirement of subjects who nominated them should be limited.
- DECs have performed the duties of establishing special polling stations on a temporary basis. However, in some pre-trial detention centres polling stations were not established, which will not allow voters from these centres to exercise their voting right on the elections.
- Active election campaigning is carried out by few candidates for President of Ukraine. Some candidates do not have opportunities to carry out an adequate campaign especially in problem areas. Issues of concern are numerous cases of destruction and damage of outdoor advertising of some candidates, intimidation of agitators, cases of "black PR" against one of the candidates, mass use by some candidates of so-called "jeans", which is actually hidden political advertising. As well as in previous campaigns, campaigning activities of the candidates still are not particularly rich in content.
General overview of the election campaign for early presidential elections in Ukraine for the period from April, 18 to May, 8 2014, as well as the main problems that arose during the preparation and conducting of these elections is presented below.
1. Activities of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
The most important decision of the Parliament was the decision to reduce the minimum number of PEC members to 9 people, enabling establishment of PECs and ensuring beginning of their activities on preparation and holding early Presidential elections.
May 6, 2014 MP of Ukraine V. Karpuntsov submitted to Parliament a draft law "On Amendments to Article 24 of the Law of Ukraine "On the Election of the President of Ukraine " (№ 4813). On the same day the draft law was approved in the first reading and in general, and signed by the Acting President. The law provides reduction of the minimum quantity of PEC members from 12 to 9 members. Its adoption helped to solve the problem of PECs' formation (which should have been formed before May 6, 2014) due to the fact that many candidates for President of Ukraine had proposed no candidate for PECs member, while DECs didn't manage to staff PECs to minimum required quantity of members (see more details at part 4 of this Report). Although the adoption of this law deserves a positive assessment, its adoption less than a month before the election violates a Venice Commission recommendations that changes to electoral law should be made no later than one year before the election.
April 18, 2014 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine submitted to the Parliament a draft law "On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine" (№ 4741). The draft law provided strengthening of responsibility for crimes against electoral rights, clarifying the notion of bribing voters (supposed to bring to responsibility both those who offered illegal benefits, and those who received them), and making other significant changes to Articles 157-160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The draft law was developed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in cooperation with the CVU, civil network OPORA and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. Unfortunately, due to absence of many MPs the Parliament could not make a decision on inclusion the draft law to the agenda of parliamentary session, which actually meant removing it from consideration.
2. Activities of the CEC
In the period from 23 April to 6 May 2014 the CEC continued to adopt regulations required to ensure implementation of the Law “On Elections of the President of Ukraine”, to register observers from international organisations and foreign countries, to register authorized representatives of candidates for the President of Ukraine, to make changes in composition of DECs. The CEC also approved uniform cost estimates of DEC for elections in 2014 and lists of DEC members who carry out their duties on paid basis. May 7, 2014 the CEC appealed to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Interior Ministry of Ukraine and Security Service of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk oblast state administrations for taking appropriate steps to support activities of PECs, DECs and State Voter Register bodies within Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. In general, the CEC carried out its activities in accordance with requirements of the Law “On Elections of the President of Ukraine.”
The most important resolutions adopted by the CEC:
- approved the form of protocol of district election commission on the voting results in territorial election district on presidential elections in Ukraine (resolution of the CEC of 23.04.2014 № 337);
- approved the forms of election documents for PECs to organise voting and vote tabulation (resolution of the CEC of 23.04.2014 № 338);
- approved the forms of documents related to the preparation and update of voters lists on early presidential elections (resolution of the CEC of 23.04.2014 № 344);
- approved the form of the Central Election Commission protocol on voting results in out of country election district, form of register and form of register extraction on transfer of paper documents of the PEC protocol on vote tabulation at out of country polling stations to the CEC (resolution of the CEC of 24.04.2014 № 250);
- approved an explication on the order of making protocol on vote tabulation at a polling station by precinct election commission on election of the President of Ukraine (resolution of the CEC of 25.04.2014 № 370);
- defined the procedure how district election commissions on Ukraine's presidential election should use the information-analytical system "Elections of the President of Ukraine" of the unified information-analytical system "Elections" (resolution of the CEC of 29.04.2014 № 392);
- defined the procedure of access to the records of the State Voter Register on voters with voting address referring to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or the city of Sevastopol, and on update of these records (resolution of the CEC of 29.04.2014 № 415);
- provided the possibility to make prepayments of goods and services purchased by DEC up to 30% of the final cost for the period not exceeding one month (in case such order of payments is stipulated in the purchase contract) (resolution of the CEC of 30.04.2014 № 434);
- approved the order of transfer protocols on vote tabulation at out of country polling stations on the elections of the President of Ukraine and the reports on the content of these protocols to the Central Election Commission (resolution of the CEC of 30.04.2014 № 437);
- approved the form, colour and text of the ballot paper for early presidential elections in Ukraine (resolution of the CEC of 2.05.2014 № 462);
- approved the order of election debates held by National Television Company of Ukraine between the candidates for President of Ukraine included on the ballot for repeat vote through and within the costs of the State Budget of Ukraine allocated for preparation and conduct of presidential elections in Ukraine (resolution of the CEC of 05.05.2014 № 472);
- the State Enterprise of Special Communications is authorised to transfer ballots for early presidential elections to relevant DECs at the meetings of these commissions on behalf of the CEC, and employees of this enterprise are authorised to sign the relevant protocols of ballots acceptance by DEC from the CEC (resolution of the CEC of 5.05.2014 № 474).
3. Changes in composition of DECs and activities of DECs
Since formation of DECs by the Central Election Commission, the CEC adopted 13 resolutions on changes in DECs' composition (resolutions of the CEC №№ 297, 330, 331, 339, 352, 372, 395, 409, 441, 468, 485, 500, 522), which resulted in changes in composition of DECs in average up to 10-30%. Thus:
- from 10 to 20% was changed the composition of DECs in TEDs №№ 47 (Donetsk oblast), 145 (Odesa oblast), 165, 166, 167 (Ternopil oblast), 199-200 (Cherkasy oblast), 184, 187-189 (Kherson oblast)
- from 20 to 30% was changed the composition of DECs in TEDs №№ 15 (Vinnytsya oblast), 41, 42, 45, 46, 49, 50, 51, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61 (Donetsk oblast), 92, 94, 95 (Kyiv oblast), 168, 169 (Ternopil oblast), 197, 198, 202, 203 (Cherkasy oblast), 207 (Chernivtsi oblast)
- from 30 to 40% was changed the composition of DECs in TEDs №№ 12, 17 (Vinnytsya oblast), 41, 43, 44, 48 58 (Donetsk oblast), 91, 93, 96, 98, 99 (Kyiv oblast), 135, 136, 137, 139, 141, 142, 143 (Odesa oblast), 148, 151, 152 (Poltava oblast), 201 (Cherkasy oblast), 205 (Chernivtsi oblast)
- from 40 to 50% was changed the composition of DECs in TEDs №№ 11, 13, 14 (Vinnytsya oblast), 53 (Donetsk oblast), 97 (Kyiv oblast), 140 (Odesa oblast), 150 (Poltava oblast), 206 (Chernivtsi oblast)
- for more than 50% was changed the composition of DECs in TEDs №№ 18 (Vinnytsya oblast), 138, 144 (Odesa oblast), 149 (Poltava oblast), 207 (Chernivtsi oblast)
Few DECs experienced changed to their initial composition for less than 10% (e.g. DECs in TEDs № № 185, 186 (Kherson oblast).
The main reasons for changes in DECs' composition were submission by the candidates for President of Ukraine applications for replacement of relevant DEC members (most common reason), cancellation of registration of two candidates for President of Ukraine (N. Korolevska and O. Tsarev), submission of applications on resignation by DEC members, violation of electoral law requirements by DEC members.
Continuous changes of the composition of DECs, which make preparations for the early elections weakens the role of DECs in the proper organisation of the electoral process, reduces the effectiveness of the training conducted by the CEC with the financial support of international donors. In the future, the legislator should consider changes to the Law "On Elections of the President of Ukraine" aimed at narrowing the conditions when candidates for President of Ukraine can submit changes to composition of DECs (such as complete prohibition or narrowing the grounds for replacement of committee members on the submissions of subjects bringing their nominations to the commission, etc.)
In some DECs individuals previously involved in violations of electoral legislation or other dsihonest conduct were appointed as commission members. In some cases, the powers of such persons were terminated prematurely. Thus, in the DEC of TED № 186 (Kherson oblast) one DEC member from Lustration list of election commissions members prepared by the CVU was replaced (this DEC member was appointed by submission of M.Dobkin). At the same time another commission member included in the mentioned Lustration list still continues to exercise his powers as DEC member. In DEC of TED № 187 (Kherson oblast) regional headquarters of P.Poroshenko on the request of the regional branch of the CVU initiated replacement of the DEC member, who previously had position in one of election commissions by submission of V.Yanukovych.
In general as of May 8, 2014 the DECs in most cases are provided with proper premises for work. Only some DEC premises do not comply with approved regulations (for example DEC of TED № 100 in Kirovohrad oblast, which has a small room space).
Problems with material and technical support of DECs are still topical for many commissions. In some DECs there are no information stands and signs, commission members use old computer equipment which often complicates work with IAS "The Elections". In particular, in DEC of TED №186 (Kherson oblast) there is no information stand. In DEC of TED № 187 the stand for placing materials was installed but as of May 8, 2014 no document was placed on it. In Kharkiv oblast DEC of TED №183 faced the problems of material and technical support. As of May 5, 2014 this DEC had only two computers (one of which is broken and doesn't work), only one telephone line, which was connected by the representative of regional office of the CVU; the number of tables and chairs is not enough; there is no information stand. In DEC of TED № 181 in the same oblast information stand is located in the corridor where there is no electric lighting. Problems of material and technical support are topical for many DECs of Odesa oblast. For example, in DEC of TED № 135 there is no sign, in DEC of TED № 136 there problems with a car, sign and telephone, in DEC of TED № 137 there is no sign, in DEC of TED № 138 there are problems with sign, 2 phones, a car, in DEC of TED № 141 - emergency lighting. In DECs № 160, 163 (Sumy oblast) there are no signs as well.
The situation when residents of other regions of Ukraine were included into the list as DEC members led to the situation that some DEC meetings didn’t have quorum. The problem of no quorum during meeting was faced by DEC of TED № 178 (Kharkiv oblast), where only 2/3 of the DEC members were present at the meeting, so commission managed to get its authorities only on April 14, 2014; DEC of TED №№ 201 (Cherkasy oblast), 204 (Chernivtsi oblast; first meeting of DEC was held without quorum). Quorum is at times absent at meetings of DEC № 91 (Kyiv oblast), №№ 131 and 132 (Mykolaiv oblast).
Violations in activities of DECs were only of one-time non-regular basis. The most common violations were the delay in promulgation of DEC resolutions on the stands and the delay in the transferring of DEC resolutions to the CEC for publication on the website of the CEC.
Constant delays in publication of DEC resolutions take place in all DECs of Kirovohrad oblast. In DEC of TED №№ 199-203 (Cherkasy oblast) some resolutions of relevant commissions are not promulgated on the stand, and those promulgated are published with violation of deadline established by the law. In DEC of TED № 206 (Chernivtsi oblast) protocols of meeting were promulgated with delay, there were violations in paperwork management; incoming documents were registered with delay. In Kharkiv oblast delays in publication of DEC resolutions and their transfer to the CEC for posting on the official website of the CEC are widespread (the only exception is DEC of TED №172). Some DECs also commit procedural violations. For example, at the meeting of DEC of TEC № 183 (Kharkiv oblast), which was held May 6, 2014, commission members were not given the draft agenda (respectively, it was not imposed for approval), while the secretary of the DEC didn't take the minutes of the meeting.
In some DECs there were disagreements and conflicts among commission members during appointing to the post of administrative staff. For example, the head of DEC of TED № 193 (Khmelnytsk oblast) appointed a person to the post of system administrator independently, which led to conflict with other commission members who raised objections that the administrative staff of the commission should be appointed by decisions of commission.
DEC of TED № 11 (Vinnytsya oblast) adopted the resolution which defined people having right to attend its meetings and prohibited entrance to the meetings to those persons who arrived late. The same DEC resolution does not allow people present at meeting to use mobile phones.
Some DECs face the problem of access to the IAS "The Elections". In Kharkiv oblast computers of DECs were connected to the IAS "The Elections" only on May 6, 2014 because of the technical reasons, and in Luhansk oblast in DEC of TED ОВК ТВО №№ 107 and 113 computers were connected to the IAS "The Elections" on May 1, 2014. In Donetsk oblast DEC of TED № 58 didn't have access to the IAS "The Elections” so calculations of proportional share of managerial positions in PECs were made manually and checked later with help of the system. Other DECs of the oblast also experienced difficulties while using the system. In Cherkasy oblast during May holidays the system IAS "Elections" did not function at all as open joint-stock company "Ukrtelecom" could not provide access to it for technical reasons. May 6, 2014 DEC meeting of TED № 207 (Chernivtsi oblast) conducted a lotting of management positions in PECs between subjects of submitting of candidates for PEC members. However, it was impossible to enter lotting results into IAS "Elections" due to the functional problems of the system. As a result, May 7, 2014 this DEC conducted new lotting on the distribution of leadership positions in PECs, which was carried out without informing participants of the election process and was documented as annex to the DEC resolution on the formation of PECs of 06.05.2014.
Special polling stations existing on temporary basis were generally formed by DECs in time. In some institutions, where there are voters with limited movement capabilities, PECs were not established. Thus, the DEC of TED № 172 (Kharkiv oblast) received an application on the establishment of a special precinct on temporary basis at the detention centre, but the DEC refused to form a precinct due to "the doubts about the reasonability of its establushment".
Most problematic is the work of the DEC in areas controlled by separatist armed groups, foreign special services and local criminals. There are reasonable doubts that such DECs will manage to organise properly the electoral process in the respective districts, as well as tabulation of presidential election results within these districts. Although the CEC appealed to the Interior Ministry, Security Service of Ukraine, Prosecutor General's Office in order to urge the respective bodies to take immediate measures to ensure DECs functioning, the possibility of providing the conditions for holding elections in problem areas of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts appears to be limited.
In Donetsk oblast DECs in general exercise their powers in secrecy, beware of physical violence of armed terrorist groups. May 6, 2014 aggressive representatives of the so-called "People's militias of Donbass" unlawfully intervened in the course of a DEC meeting and proclaimed the "prescription" that required commission members to leave the building of DEC and to transfer all the property/premises to militants in order to prepare so-called “referendum” on May 11, 2014. DEC members were forced to surrender separatist demands. The DEC of TED № 42 in the same oblast did not form PECs as some commission members deliberately ignored meetings because they feared that in case of quorum commission could make decision on support of so-called “referendum”. Some members of the DEC №43 also did not attend the commission meetings as they did not want the commission to go under the control of separatists. May 8, 2014, unidentified persons robbed premises of DEC №43 justifying their actions with the need of material and technical support in conducting of so-called “referendum” on May 11, 2014.
In Luhansk oblast premises of the DEC of TED № 108 was occupied by separatists, who used it for preparation for voting at so-called “referendum” on May 11, 2014.
4. Formation and beginning activities of PECs
In most regions it was problematic for DECs to form PECs in the period prescribed by the law, as many candidates for President of Ukraine didn't submit nominations to commissions. The problem was solved by making amendments to the Law "On Elections of the President of Ukraine" by the Parliament, which allowed to form PECs of at least 9 people.
In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast DEC TED №№ 24, 26-29, 34-35, 37-40 didn't approves the decision to form PECs in period established by the law.
In the Donetsk oblast on May 8, 2014 decisions on formation of PECs was taken by 9 of 22 DECs only (DECs of TEDs №№ 41, 44, 45, 46, 55, 58, 59, 61, 62).
In Luhansk oblast PECs in the TED № 108 were not formed because premises of the DEC of this district were occupied by separatists who made preparations for so-called local «referendum» on 11 May 2014. Meetings of PECs is districts № 110 and № 111 (Lugansk oblast) were not held since the formation of PECs, because premises of respective commissions were occupied by the separatists. In Lysychansk PECs became target of armed terrorists' attacks.
In some regions (Kherson oblast) PECs were established in time, but their formation was carried out with consideration of candidates proposed by the heads of DECs. In Kharkiv oblast PECs were established in time, but 3% of PEC members were appointed by the submission of their heads. CVU official observers recorded similar problems in many other regions of the state.
The list of the least active candidates in terms of making nominations to the PECs should include A.Hrynenko, O.Klymenko, V.Konovalyuk, R. Kuzmin, V.Saranov, V.Rabinovych, Y.Boyko and some other candidates, who suggested nominations to PECs only in certain districts and regions (O.Bohomolets, M. Dobkin, M. Malomuzh, V.Tsushko, Z.Shkiryak, D.Yarosh) . Some candidates for President of Ukraine didn't propose nominees for any PEC formed within a certain oblast.
Thus, A.Hrynenko, V.Konovalyuk, R.Kuzmin didn't offer nominations to any PEC in Cherkasy, Chernivtsi oblasts; M.Dobkin, V.Kuybida, V.Rabinovych, V.Saranov didn't offer nominations to any PEC in Chernivtsi oblast; S.Boyko, A.Hrynenko, Klymenko, V.Konovalyuk, V. Rabinovich, V.Saranov, V.Tsushko and D.Yarosh didn't offer any nominations to the PECs in Kharkiv oblast.
In Kirovohrad oblast any PEC has any member appointed by submission of Y.Boyko, R. Kuzmin, V.Rabinovych, V.Saranova, V.Tsushko, D.Yarosh.
In Kyiv oblast A.Hrynenko, M. Dobkin, R. Kuzmin, V.Rabinovych, V.Saranov don't have representation in PECs; while V.Tsushko and V.Konovalyuk didn't submit nominations to the PECs in most districts of the oblast.
In Lugansk oblast there were no submission to the PECs from candidates O.Bohomolets, Y.Boyko, A.Hrynenko, V.Konovalyuk, V.Rabinovych, V.Saranov, V.Tsushko, D.Yarosh.
In Lviv oblast in all the PECs there are no representatives from A.Hrynenko, M. Dobkin, V.Konovalyuk, R. Kuzmin, V.Rabinovych, V.Saranov, V. Tsushko.
In Mykolaiv oblast in all PECs there is not a single commission member from presidential candidates Y.Boyko, V.Rabinovych, V.Saranov, D.Yarosh.
In Donetsk oblast the right to make nominations to the PECs was exercised by only 13 candidates for President of Ukraine (O.Bohomolets, A.Hrytsenko, M. Dobkin, R.Kuzmin, V.Kuybida, O. Lyashko, M. Malomuzh, P.Poroshenko, P.Symonenko, Yu.Tymoshenko, S.Tigipko, Z.Shkiryak, O.Tiahnybok). The least number of candidates to the PECs in Donetsk oblast was submitted by Tiahnybok (43 candidates) that is directly caused by the difficult situation in oblast. In Kherson oblast some PECs got enough quantity of members only after the amendments to the Law "On Elections of the President of Ukraine". In this oblast PECs of the districts do not represent on average 8-11 candidates. In Khmelnytsky oblast candidates to PEC's members were not submitted by 6-10 presidential candidates on average.
There were only few cases when nominations to PECs were rejected, and rejections were mainly done either due to the submission of the same candidate to PEC from the several candidates for President (for example, in DEC № 208 3 nominees to PECs were submitted from two candidates; such incidents were widespread) or due to lack of documents required by the law. In DEC of TED № 99 (Kiev oblast) one of candidates submitted as nominees to PECs the same persons which were submitted earlier as nominees to PECs of TED № 98. All PEC members of O.Bohomolets in DEC № 91 did not even know that they were nominated as PEC members.
Not in all cases the first meeting of the newly formed PECs were convened by their heads as required by the law. For example, in PECs № 631418 of TED № 172 (Kharkiv oblast) there was no head of the commission, as a candidate approved to this post refused to exercise his powers, so PECs meeting was convened and held by a deputy head. The first meeting of PEC № 630960 of TED № 179 was convened in the same way. In Chernihiv oblast in TEDs №№ 208, 209, 213 every fifth of the PECs first meetings was convened by the deputy head or by the secretary of commission.
The probability of changes in PECs membership is approximately the same as the probability of change after the formation of DECs (approximately 20-30% from the initial composition). Reasons for changes are likely to be similar to reasons for changes in DEC (replacing the PECs members by the subjects which nominated them, submission of applications on resignation by PEC members, etc.) In some oblasts candidates in President didn’t form headquarters which increases the risk that the powers of PEC members appointed by their nomination will be terminated before the Election Day on early presidential elections.
5. Activities of local authorities
Activities of local authorities are focused on creating proper conditions for activities of PECs and voter registration. Such work is relatively active only in some regions.
In Kherson oblast heads of rayon state administrations conduct regular meetings with heads of election commissions in order to clarify the problems of their work. Such meeting was held for example in Skadovsk on May 8, 2014.
In Kharkiv Oblast on 29-30 April 2014, local authorities of Lozova and other rayons of the district held meetings with the quarterly heads of local communities, and published in local media appeals to voters on the opportunity to check their personal information by contacting the Department of State Voter Register in local rayon and city councils. Similar events were held at the end of April and beginning of May in other rayons of the oblast, in particular, in Krasnohrad, Pervomaisk and Valky etc.
In Chernihiv oblast on 5 May, 2014 a closed meeting on the preparation and holding of early presidential elections in Ukraine was held by the head of Chernihiv oblast state administration.
In Kyiv oblast in some districts local authorities held meetings with PECs heads on problems of material and technical support of PECs. For example, in Boryspil executive committee members are assigned to monitor certain PECs according to the order of Mayor; at the beginning of May they hold meetings with heads of PECs.
In Lviv oblast on 7 May 2014 a big meeting in oblast state administration was held with participation of the head I.Seh, all DEC heads and heads of rayon state administrations. These activities were carried out in number of other regions.
7. Pre-election campaigning
In all regions P.Poroshenko, Yu.Tymoshenko, S.Tigipko, O. Lyashko, M. Dobkin, A.Hrytsenko and O.Tiahnybok are most active in campaigning for President of Ukraine. The least active campaigning activities are led by candidates A.Hrynenko, O.Klymenko, R.Kuzmin, V.Saranov, V.Rabinovych, Y.Boyko, M. Malomuzh, V.Tsushko, Z.Shkiryak, D.Yarosh. The latter mainly place campaign materials in limited number of regions (for example, R. Kuzmin and Klymenko - in the Eastern regions of the state).
Most of these candidates also failed to submit nominations to the PECs in most districts, or submitted nominees to the PECs only in certain regions (D.Yarosh didn't submit nominees to PECs in Southern and Eastern regions, while M. Dobkin had no nominees for the Western regions). The leaders of the presidential campaign prefer different forms of agitation: P.Poroshenko, M. Dobkin and O. Lyashko actively place outdoor political advertising, Yu.Tymoshenko prefers advertising in printed media (quite a lot is placed in the form of "jeans") and TV advertising. Meetings with voters, campaigning through network of agitators are actively used by all leading candidates for President of Ukraine (P.Poroshenko, O.Bohomolets, O.Tiahnybok). The CPU limits its campaigning activities to distribution of campaign materials in party tents and use public holidays (May 1, 2, 9) as an occasion for more active agitation. A.Hrytsenko started to actively place outdoor political advertising only at the beginning of May, while in April he preferred meeting with voters and agitation in tents.
Campaigning with participation of famous people and local politicians in favour of certain candidates for President of Ukraine is quite common. Thus, in some regions Y.Lutsenko, M.Matios, Y.Stets, V. Pynzenkyk actively agitate for P.Poroshenko. In Dnipropetrovsk oblast there is outdoor advertising placed with pictures of O.Vilkul, I.Stupak, I.Kulichenko, which can be regarded as indirect campaigning for M. Dobkin. Human rights defender and psychiatrist S.Hluzman agitates for O.Bohomolets.
Leading presidential candidates (P.Poroshenko, Yu.Tymoshenko and some others) actively use social media for campaigning; they present and discuss their programs, create virtual groups of supporters. Information on newly established with support of Olga Bohomolec School for Patriots "New leaders of Ukraine" was spread in social network "VKontakte", the school currently receives applications from young people.
The same as in previous campaigns, the current election campaign in general is poor in content. Candidates mainly focus on slogans and universal appeals (live in a new way, development without perturbations, to fight the invaders, to pray with actions, to return Crimea for Ukraine, time to get justice back, the united state etc.).
In many regions candidates had no opportunity to conduct their campaigns due to acute rejection by the voters. Such problems were faced by D.Yarosh and O.Tiahnybok on the East of the state and M. Dobkin on the West. In Donetsk oblast due to activation of separatist armed bands and due to the antiterrorist operation at the beginning of May, pre-election campaign of candidates for the President of Ukraine almost stopped, only outdoor advertising is left. In this oblast headquarters of leading candidates work actually in secrecy, mostly because of the risks associated with the activities of the separatists.
Destruction or damage of outdoor political advertising by unidentified people became rather widespread. "Victims" include M. Dobkin (in most regions of the state), O. Lyashko (southern Ukraine and in some western and centre regions), in a smaller extent it concerns S.Tigipko, P.Poroshenko and other candidates. Billboards of these candidates get poured with paint, covered with drawings and obscene inscriptions. Agitators of some candidates also experienced cases of threats to their address. For example, on May 2, 2014 in downtown of Chuhuiv (Kharkiv oblast, TED№ 178) the group of unknown people threatened Yu.Tymoshenko agitators, promising to destroy campaigning stall if it is not get removed. On May 3, 2014 in Chuhuiv campaigning stall of A.Grytsenko was overthrown.
Quite common are the cases of "black PR" against some candidates, especially against P.Poroshenko. Placement of such materials may be advantageous for Tymoshenko and Tihipko as the highest-rated competitors of P.Poroshenko. Thus, in Cherkasy oblast the newspaper "Just the facts" was massively distributed (via mail and through the agitators) with materials against P.Poroshenko. Some cases of placing discreditable information of questionable reliability against P.Poroshenko were also recorded in Ivano-Frankivsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad and several other oblasts.
So-called "jeans" became widespread, especially in printed media. Most actively such advertisements are placed for Tymoshenko, P.Poroshenko, Tigipko and some other candidates. In Kharkiv oblast materials for Tigipko were places in almost all regional newspapers, actually it was the same text under various headings (for example, “The east is a delicate matter", "Moving towards the East", "How to calm the South-East") and signed by various "authors". These materials were placed in the chapters "Politics" and had no sign of political advertising.
There are not many cases that state officials were engaged in pre-election campaigning. In Dnipropetrovsk oblast I.Kolomoyskyy issued an order, which emphasised that participation of state officials in campaigning is unacceptable and government premises can't be used for placing campaign materials. At the same time in Kherson oblast Y. Tymoshenko during her visit to oblast was accompanied by the head of oblast state administration Y. Odarchenko (though he didn't agitate for Yu.Tymoshenko). In Kirovohrad oblast presidential candidate Oleg Tyagnibok together with head of Kirovohrad of oblast state administration O.Petik and MP S. Khanenko participated in presentation of the territorial defence battalion, which took place at the premises of the oblast state administration, which may be evaluated as a violation of the Law "On Elections of the President of Ukraine" that prohibits campaigning in premises of executive authority.