«Bribery at the parliamentary elections-2014: threats and prevention»

On October 26, 2014 in Ukraine early elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will be held. Elections will be conducted under the old law with a mixed proportional-majoritarian system 50/50. Mainly, unfair fights will unfold in the majority districts. It is expected that the campaign will be launched on October 1st, 2014 after the official registration of the candidates will be over.  According to the experts, in one district majoritarian candidates  are planning to spend on the campaign from 1 to 3 millions of dollars, depending on the severity of the competition. Much of the shadow financial funds of the  candidates will be spent on the direct and indirect bribery of voters.

CVU expects the use of various forms of bribery, including  following:

Indirect bribery means  free provision of goods and services, such as:

  • establishment of free public use venues(soup kitchens, centers of distribution of humanitarian aid to the poor or immigrants from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and East);
  • providing educational institutions with various kinds of financial aid in the different forms (furniture, stationery, office equipment, repairs);
  • organization of different scale entertainment events (festivals, concerts, discos, parties in clubs, local entertainment events, including performances of animators, clowns, puppet shows for children and adults, greetings and gifts from majoritarian candidates at weddings, etc.);
  • the provision of health services (organization of medical examinations  by doctors, free ultrasounds, X-rays, dental services, free dental prosthetics, etc.);
  • organization and conduction of religious events (free of charge rituals, pilgrimages);
  • the provision of municipal/village infrastructure renewal at the expense of candidates (repairing roads, houses, social facilities, restore hospitals for soldiers, provision of medical equipment)
  • providing free services in agricultural areas (vaccination for animals, destruction of plant and animal pests, services for the storage of agricultural products, rent of  elevators, warehouses), rent of land shares, distribution of young cattle for growing with the promise to redeem adult cattle for slaughter at a bargain price, etc.);
  •  providing free gifts (sets of products, cosmetics, medicines, poisons sets against harmful insects and animals, etc.);
  • providing free travel services (as a reward for winning the contests / competitions, rehabilitation of children during vacation / holidays in tours for adults and children);
  • providing free legal advisory services (through a network of public reception consulting in the field of economic, administrative, civil law).

TRENDS Of  THE CAMPAIGN: financial help to the families of soldiers and soldiers  (donations of apartments, cars, furniture, household appliances, medical aid, including money for surgery and prosthetics). Financial assistance to immigrants from temporarily occupied territories.

Direct bribery is providing monetary compensation for agreeing to vote for a particular candidate  through network marketing or use of a local  administrative resourse (to prove  their future choice  the voter has to subscribe to the list,  present the specific root pass with bar code, or  to sign a social contract).

Before the elections, majoritarian candidates  are predicted to be outbid commissioners to ensure their absence from the polling stations on election day and enable the manipulation of election results for certain candidates.

The main causes of bribery: immature political elite, unstable democracy,  lack of the political culture, political corruption, apathy and disappointment by the authorities performance among the citizens , unfulfilled expectations towards the new political elites and frustration by the results of the Revolution of  Dignity (as a result there is a lack of awareness of citizens of their role and impact on real politics and reforms in the  the country through direct democracy, ie elections), low standards of living of the most of the population in Ukraine, lack of middle class.

How to prevent: conducting public awareness campaigns about the importance of informed choice, education on social and political consequences of bribery, increased liability for bribery both to those who pay for the votes and to those who sell the votes.

More information with the specific examples of violations can be found at CVU web-site: cvu.org.ua, http://www.electioninfo.org.ua and on official page CVU Facebook page - facebook.com/cvu.ngo

The CVU Press Service