CVU calls to amend the Law on Presidential Elections

Committee of Voters of Ukraine calls upon the Verkhovna Rada to amend the Law "On Elections of the President of Ukraine".

CVU regards that first of all there should be made amendments that will allow to reduce the impact of large money on the elections. This implies either the total prohibition of political advertising, or its maximum limit (for example, due to the prolongation of campaign rollers and clear requirements for their format). CVU monitoring shows that traditionally parties and candidates spend on advertising 70-80% of all election funds. Therefore, the resolution of the issue of political advertising will significantly reduce the cost of elections and will promote equality of candidates for the President.

Also there should be made amendments to increase transparency of election funds. In the meantime, presidential candidates file interim and final financial statements, but de-facto voters can only get acquainted with them after election day. Therefore, it is worth considering improving mechanisms for more comprehensive and timely reporting of candidates (including online instruments). At the same time, the Central Election Commission and the National Security and Defense Council should more actively work towards checking the revenues and expenditures of candidates' election funds.

Issues regarding the formation of election commissions should be resolved by law. In particular, there should be set maximum limit for the number of members of District and Precinct Election Commissions. Such limit is in the laws "On Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine" and "On Local Elections", however, it is not included in the legislation on the election of the President. In the absence of maximum limit, election commissions may be formed by virtually any number of people that serve in favor of technical candidates who can have their representatives in DECs and PECs.

Also there should be made amendments to improve the content of the election campaign. In particular, the role of debate among candidates should be strengthened. Thus, refuse of a candidate to participate in the debate should be the basis for the CEC to make a warning to such a person, that will create a negative image for such candidates among the voters and encourage candidates to participate in the debate.

Finally, there should be developed barriers for emergence of technical candidates. One of such measures can be an increase  cash deposit from 2.5 million UAH (as it is now) to 10 million UAH. This will complicate the process of nomination of fake candidates for the stakeholders. At the same time, it is necessary to foresee a mechanism to return deposit not only to those candidates who fall into the second round, but for all who receive more than a certain percentage of votes. Such an approach will be more honest regarding those real candidates who will deposit increased amount and will be able to return these funds after the elections, as opposed to technical candidates.