Committee of Voters Presidential Election Campaign Monitoring Report for November
The Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] calls the election campaign competitive, free and transparent and did not register any significant violations of voters’ rights during November. It does however point out the lack of substance to political dialogue and dishonesty of candidates before the voters. “There is virtually no discussion of the candidates’ programmes, while concealed political advertising in the media is widely used.
The greatest problem which could influence how democratic and transparent the electoral process is as of the beginning of December 2009 is in the flawed legislation on the Presidential elections. After voting for the relevant draft law in its first reading, CVU notes the lack of political will among most National Deputies regarding improving the rules of election campaigns. CVU is, for example, concerned by:
– the virtual impossibility of appealing against the violations, actions or inaction of participants in the electoral process;
– the lack of procedure for voters at foreign polling areas (those who are not registered with the consulate) or of the possibility for voters to be included on the list on Election Day;
– the fact that civic organizations cannot be observers at the elections.
As the election campaigning intensifies, CVU has recorded an increase in cases where official position has been used for campaigning; “non-pecuniary” bribery of voters and criminal interference in the electoral process. At present these cases are not widespread nor systemic, however a heightening in political confrontation could lead to an increase in such violations and their influence of the results of the elections. CVU is also observing processes which can be qualified as preparation for direct (pecuniary) bribery of voters.
The Central Election Committee [CEC] formed district electoral commissions in time and the overwhelming majority of these have held their first meetings on schedule. However the qualifications and work experience of members of the electoral commissions is on an extremely low level. CVU estimates that only 20-30% (depending on the region) have already worked in district electoral commissions”. CVU says that the situation with precinct electoral commissions is even more dangerous.
On the basis of its monitoring, CVU recommends that:
the Verkhovna Rada urgently adopt the necessary amendments to legislation on the Presidential elections;
that candidates’ headquarters reject dishonest forms of electoral campaigning, the use of administrative resource and bribery of voters;
that the CEC organize training of members of lower level commissions;
that voters take a more active part in checking their data in the State Voter Register and uphold their rights more actively, reacting against violations of electoral legislation.
The use of administrative resources and bribery of voters
In November there was an increase in the number of cases where representatives of State executive bodies or bodies of local self-government used their official position for campaigning. This was mainly in favour of candidates who hold the highest positions in the State (Volodymyr Lytvyn, Yulia Tymoshenko, Viktor Yushchenko), as well as in favour of Viktor Yanukovych who enjoys support in many authorities in the regions.
The use of administrative resource is, as a rule, to organize meetings with a candidate, campaigning in working hours and administrative influence on members of the Commission. These cases are not widespread and should not have a serious impact on the results of the elections. The most widespread and systemic use of administrative resources was the campaign giving out land acts which was accompanied by campaigning for Yulia Tymoshenko. Such cases were reported in most Ukrainian regions.
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