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Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election, 1-28 March 2019

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On January 18th 2019, the "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform received permission from the Central Election Commission (hereinafter - the CEC) to have its official election observers.

Observation is carried out via the work of more than 100 long-term and short-term observers in constituencies; interviews with representatives of candidate headquarters, election commissions, the media community, and the public sector; the collection of information from public sources of information.

This report was formed following the results of observation for the period of 1st-28th March 2019 in order to inform the Ukrainian and international community about the course of the electoral process in Ukraine and violations that may affect the free will of citizens and the election's result.

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Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election, 1-28 March 2019

  1. 1. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019
  2. 2. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 Table of contents GENERAL SITUATION BEFORE THE DAY OF VOTING ON MARCH 31 ................................................... 3 LEGISLATIVE BASE OF HOLDING THE ELECTION .................................................................................... 6 MANAGEMENT OF THE ELECTORAL PROCESS ....................................................................................... 6 Central Election Commission ...................................................................................................6 District Election Commissions..................................................................................................7 Precinct Election Commissions ................................................................................................9 REGISTRATION OF VOTERS .....................................................................................................................11 THE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN OF CANDIDATES ......................................................................................13 Budgetary administrative resources and abuse of office.....................................................13 «Webs» and voter bribery......................................................................................................14 Protests and violence during presidential campaign meetings...........................................15 Conditions for the implementation of electoral campaigning ............................................17 SECURITY AND LAW & ORDER DURING ELECTIONS.............................................................................18 CAMPAIGN FINANCING...........................................................................................................................20 MASS MEDIA.............................................................................................................................................21 NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS .....................................................................................22 ABOUT THE “USPISHNA VARTA” HUMAN RIGHTS PLATFORM............................................................24
  3. 3. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 GENERAL SITUATION BEFORE THE DAY OF VOTING ON MARCH 31 On January 18th 2019, the "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform received permission from the Central Election Commission (hereinafter - the CEC) to have its official election observers. Observation is carried out via the work of more than 100 long-term and short-term observers in constituencies; interviews with representatives of candidate headquarters, election commissions, the media community, and the public sector; the collection of information from public sources of information. This report was formed following the results of observation for the period of 1st-28th March 2019 in order to inform the Ukrainian and international community about the course of the electoral process in Ukraine and violations that may affect the free will of citizens and the election's result. *** Following the observation of the electoral process during March 2019, the observers of “Uspishna Varta” identified a number of risks that can significantly affect the results of voting and pose a significant danger from the point of view of compliance with democratic electoral standards in the conditions of the presidential election. A low level of competence and professional training, as well as the unwillingness of members of lower level election commissions to carry out their functions, remain a significant destabilizing factor in the organization of the electoral process. The main problems in the work of the commissions are the massive refusal of their members to work and the extremely low level of material and technical support for the work of the commissions. In a number of precinct election commissions (PECs) the process of replacing commission members, including leaders, was still ongoing as of March 28th-29th. In general, the members of the district and precinct commissions who the representatives of “Uspishna Varta” communicated with evaluate the organization of the electoral process by the CEC as unsatisfactory. Frequent changes in the composition of district and precinct commissions are also due to the high number of so-called "technical" candidates for the presidency. A number of candidates carried out more than 100% replacements of the commission members that were submitted by them initially. Commission members put forward by “technical” candidates informally represent the interests of the headquarters of more rated candidates, thereby helping them get a majority in district and precinct commissions. According to experts, more than 50% of the members of DEC and PEC members are controlled by the current president, Petro Poroshenko, through a number of technical candidates and those PEC members who were appointed to replace the recalled technical candidates. This situation creates a significant risk of the results of citizens' voting being distorted by the falsification of the protocols of voting results or by intentionally creating the conditions for invalidating the elections in those polling stations and districts where the opponents of the current president lead.
  4. 4. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 Inaccuracies in the voter list can also be used to falsify voting results. The number of voters for the first round of elections (and the printed number of ballots) projected by the CEC was 30,028,913. Observers and journalists found mass cases of people who have died still being present in the voter register for a long time. The exact number of such "dead souls" in voter lists is not known. In addition, more than 3 million labour migrants who will actually be absent in Ukraine on election day were added to voter lists. At the same time, less than 6% of the 1.5 million internally displaced persons from the Donetsk and Lugansk region took advantage of their right to change their place of voting. In total, 315,725 Ukrainians changed their place of voting for the presidential election, and 37% of them are members of election commissions, police officers, and official observers. Observers are also concerned about the situation with voting at 80 special polling stations in military units in the zone of the Operation of United Forces (OUF), as well as in polling stations in military units. Commissions and observers at such sites are formed from the military personnel themselves, their family members, and the “civilian” residents of military camps attached to the units. Voting on such sites is non-controlled and significantly vulnerable to administrative resources. President Poroshenko’s use of his official position and official powers to influence the results of voting is also a topic that has the heightened attention of observers. During March, President Poroshenko actively used his official position to carry out an electoral campaign, despite there being a direct legislative ban. In March the president carried out 18 campaign trips to regions, as well as a campaign rally in Kiev. In each region the president, in an official capacity, held a Regional Development Council meeting, which was attended by representatives of local government and executive authorities. The trips of the president were accompanied by campaign rallies, which people who disagree with his policies were not allowed to attend andor were taken away from by force. A reason for concern is also the information coming to observers about the exertion of pressure on the staff of state and budgetary institutions (teachers, doctors, employees of lower level executive authorities). Being faced with the risk of being dismissed from work, they are forced to participate in campaign rallies in support of the current president, to participate in his campaign as commissioners and observers, and to vote in his favour. As observers already noted earlier, before the elections, a number of state measures were started concerning the indexation of pensions and the monetization of subsidies for the payment of utility bills by citizens. During March one-time payments were issued in accordance with these programs, which were presented as a result of the policies of President Poroshenko. During January-March, through public organizations and local organizations, Poroshenko's headquarters implemented a multistage scheme for constructing so-called "webs" of voters who received material assistance for budgetary social programs. Experts suggest that more than 45,000 volunteers and promoters of Poroshenko will be present at polling stations in the status of official observers in order to control the voting of people who received financial assistances. In addition, local officials may be present at polling stations for the purpose of controlling voting under the guise of “voluntary fire brigades”, despite this being prohibited by electoral legislation.
  5. 5. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 In addition to the current president Petro Poroshenko, active campaigning in the regions was also carried out by the candidates Yuliya Tymoshenko, Anatoly Gritsenko, Ruslan Koshulinsky, Igor Smeshko, Yury Boyko, Aleksandr Vilkul, and Oleg Lyashko. The candidate Vladimir Zelensky, who has the highest approval rating among all candidates (according to sociological polls), did not carry out an electoral campaign in its classical sense and did not hold mass meetings with voters in regions. His campaign was concentrated on the Internet, billboards, and television advertising. In March observers continued to record the use of "black PR" technology in the form of covert campaigning against candidates for the presidency. In some cases, such as with the billboards of the music group “TIK”, these campaigns also contained a hidden call to support Petro Poroshenko. However, the CEC did not regard such campaigns as promotion and referred to the freedom of creativity. Before the day of voting, leaflets and actions aimed at reducing the voter turnout of Yuliya Tymoshenko and Vladimir Zelensky were also recorded. By publicly declaring neutrality and unbiasedness, the Security Service of Ukraine continues to be involved in the electoral campaign, carrying out actions in the interests of the current president, Poroshenko. During March the SBU carried out public and secret investigative actions against candidates who are the main opponents of President Poroshenko in the elections (Zelensky, Tymoshenko). In addition, in accordance with the resolution of the CEC, representatives of the SBU were included in the working groups of district commissions, which are supposed to ensure the safety of the "Vybory" automatic information system. The presence of representatives of the SBU at the time when the results of voting are being transferred may lead to abuses of official position and interference with the results of the counting of votes. Like before, the principles of justice, balance, and impartiality in covering electoral campaigns in the Ukrainian media are not respected enough, including the lack of equal and impartial treatment in relation to all candidates. Both traditional media and social networks were used during the campaign, not only to promote candidates, but also to discredit campaigns against opponents. At the same time, during the presidential campaign representatives of law enforcement continued to take actions aimed at restricting freedom of speech and opinion in Ukraine. A number of foreign journalists were denied entry into Ukraine, Ukrainian journalists were searched, and pressure was exerted on independent media companies (the “Avers” TV and radio company). Human rights activists are also concerned about the possibility of obstacles being placed in front of the work of official observers, and even members of precinct election commissions not allowing official observers to be present on election day. In addition, the presence of a large number of observers (more than 45,000) from the incumbent President Poroshenko on election day may lead to the risk of provocations or the disruption of elections in those regions where his competitors lead.
  6. 6. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 LEGISLATIVE BASE OF HOLDING THE ELECTION During March 2019 the regulatory framework governing the current presidential elections did not undergo significant changes. On March 11th the working group of the Parliament completed its consideration of the amendments to the draft Electoral Code. However, it is not yet known when the code will be ready for the second reading and put to a vote at the plenary session. In March four draft laws on strengthening criminal liability for violations of electoral legislation were also included in the agenda of the parliament. In particular, governmental draft law No. 8270, which stipulates tougher sanctions for providing voters with undue benefits and the falsification of documentation, as well as strengthening the role of law enforcement bodies in the electoral process. None of the draft laws were voted on. MANAGEMENT OF THE ELECTORAL PROCESS Central Election Commission During the reporting period, the CEC continued to operate in accordance with its mandate as the main body in the electoral management system. Official meetings of the commission are used for formal voting, while actual debates and decision- making take place during preparatory meetings. Since observers continue to need permission to attend, and this permission is not always issued, observers do not consider the work of the CEC to be completely transparent. Moreover, this practice also applies to individual district election commissions (hereinafter - DEC). Observers have repeatedly recorded in different regions a situation where commissions at formal meetings simply formally vote for decisions taken earlier at closed “conferences”. A number of commissions are not allowed to attend these meetings. Thus, on March 27th the observer of “Uspishna Varta” was rudely expelled from the meeting of DEC No. 171 (Kharkov)1 . In Lvov “Uspishna Varta” submitted to the CEC a complaint against DEC Chairman No. 117 in connection with the intentional concealment of information from members of the commission and observers, including concerning the impact of law enforcement bodies on the work of the commission. In the timeframe stipulated by legislation, the CEC approved the form and text of the ballot for voting on election day and the form of the ballot for re-voting. At the same time, the CEC did not establish the serial numbers of presidential candidates on the ballot. Representatives of the candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko filed a complaint, but the Supreme Court supported the position of the CEC. Tymoshenko’s representatives substantiated their numbering requirements by stating that there will be two candidates with the same last name, initials, position, and place of work, as well as two candidates with the same 1 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/uspishna-varta-v-kharkove-obratilas-v-politsiyu-po-faktu-prepyatstvovaniya-rabote-nablyudatelya
  7. 7. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 last name on the ballot. We are talking about the people's deputies of the Verkhovna Rada Yuliya Vladimirovna Tymoshenko and Yury Vladimirovich Tymoshenko, as well as Aleksandr and Igor Shevchenko. According to experts, Yury Vladimirovich Tymoshenko is a technical candidate who was registered in the interests of the current president, Poroshenko, in order to deprive Yuliya Tymoshenko of a certain number of votes. On behalf of this technical candidate, the placement of campaign billboards with the initials “Yu.V. Tymoshenko” and slogans that contradict the slogans of the electoral campaign of Yuliya Tymoshenko and may be misleading voters was recorded during March. In addition, the CEC did not hold a number of important tenders to ensure the electoral process. For example, the tender for the purchase of archive boxes for the delivery of bulletins was canceled. Observers are worried about the fact that members of precinct election commissions will have to deliver ballots to the DEC with the help of improvised means, which may lead to the risk of falsification and manipulation of documentation2 . The CEC also said that there will be no video surveillance at polling stations on March 31st, as this is not stipulated by law. In general, the members of district and precinct commissions who the representatives of “Uspishna Varta” communicated with assess the organization of the electoral process by the CEC as unsatisfactory. Analysis of the decisions and clarifications of the CEC on controversial points shows that, to a greater degree, commission members take the position most beneficial to the campaign of the current president, Petro Poroshenko. District Election Commissions According to the CEC, the total number of DEC members as of March 28th is 6786 people. One of the main problems in their work is the frequent changes made to the composition of DECs and the non- attendance of commission members at meetings. According to the public organization “OPORA”, as of March 26th more than a third of the personal composition of district election commissions was updated — 31% (or 2,252 out of 7,335) of DEC members were replaced. Given the multiplicity of substitutions and their repeatability, the replacement rate on the part of individual candidates exceeded 100%. i.e., candidates changed commissioners more often than they submitted candidates to DECs. In particular, the leaders in terms of replacing (including multiple times) members of election commissions are Aleksandr Moroz, Vitaly Skokik and Vitaly Kupry (more than 100%), as well as Yury Tymoshenko (71%), Aleksandr Solovyev, and Aleksandr Vaschenko (64%). This problem is due to both the high number of presidential candidates (39, and initially 44), and the presence of so-called "technical" candidates among them. According to experts, a number of little- 2 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/chleny-uik-budut-perevozit-izbiratelnuyu-dokumentatsiyu-v-podruchnykh-sredstvakh
  8. 8. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 known candidates were initially registered in order to further "resell" their quotas and people in commissions to more rated candidates who have better chances of winning. As of March 7th (the deadline set by law), 5 presidential candidates have withdrawn their candidacies. Accordingly, the powers of the DEC members who were included in the commissions via the submissions of these candidates were terminated. In addition, two candidates (Sergey Taruta and Aleksandr Moroz) announced the withdrawal of their candidacies after the deadline. There is no procedure for recalling DEC members for such candidates. Commission members from a number of “technical” candidates did not appear at meetings at all. For example, as was reported by “OPORA”, representatives of the candidates Viktor Bondar and Aleksandr Vaschenko missed all meetings of all 7 DECs in the Ivano-Frankovsk region. During March 25th-28th observers recorded the withdrawal of representatives of Aleksandr Moroz, Aleksandr Vashchenko, and a number of other candidates from commissions and their replacement with those proposed by the CEC (as a rule, representatives of the candidate Petro Poroshenko). According to experts, members of DECs submitted by “technical” candidates informally represent the interests of the headquarters of more rated candidates, thereby helping them to get a majority in district and precinct commissions. Taking into account the fact that decisions in commissions are made collectively, via open voting and via a majority of votes from commissions, a candidate with an approval rating who wants to protect their result or influence it tries to gain control over as many commission members as possible. For example, experts3 say that about 15-20 participants of the electoral race are the technical candidates of Petro Poroshenko. The number of technical candidates of Yuliya Tymoshenko is estimated at 8-10 people. A significant problem for a number of commissions is also the low turnout at member meetings and, accordingly, the lack of a quorum. Commission members refuse to work due to the fact that they live in another region or even abroad. This situation is typical for most Western regions. For example, in the Khmelnitsky region, in every DEC from one to five members live in the wrong place - not in the town where the commission is located (most often their place of residence is Kiev). Approximately 15% of DEC members in the Lvov region are registered abroad. The interlocutors of “Uspishna Varta” in some DECs expressed concern that the funds allocated for the organization of the electoral process are not sufficient for the proper execution of their duties. Many items of expenditure are not included in estimates, and the CEC asks to use what already exists. In addition, DECs and precinct election commissions (hereinafter referred to as PECs) in some regions are located in premises that are not suitable for the adequate performance of work duties. Also, some DECs are not provided with sufficient technical equipment, which significantly complicates the work of these commissions. 3 https://strana.ua/articles/analysis/191900-zachem-kandidaty-v-prezidenty-ustroili-chistki-v-izbirkomakh-.html
  9. 9. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 Situations where failures have occurred in the “Vybory” automated information system were recorded during the inclusion of information about the composition of the PEC (Slavyansk, Donetsk region, as well as Lvov and Dnepr) in the DEC. Precinct Election Commissions During March, the observers of “Uspishna Varta” monitored the process of forming precinct election commissions and the distribution of leadership positions inside of them. As a part of the calendar for the electoral campaign for the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election, district election commissions (DECs) have to create precinct election commissions (PECs) for regular and special polling stations before March 12th inclusive. At the same time, the CEC should establish PECs in foreign constituencies. The first meeting of PECs should take place no later than the second day after the decision on the creation of the commission has been made (March 12th-13th). In general, as of March 21st, DECs formed 29,900 PECs, which included more than 440,000 people. The largest number of candidates for PECs was submitted by six presidential candidates - Petro Poroshenko (has a representative in 99% of PECs), Yuliya Tymoshenko (97% of PECs), Oleg Lyashko (97% of PECs), Yuliya Litvinenko (95% of PECs), Anatoly Gritsenko (94% of PECs), and Nikolay Gaber (91% of PECs). Vladimir Zelensky (84% of PECs) and Yury Boyko (83% of PECs) also secured substantial representation. Only four candidates did not submit any candidates to PECs - Gennady Balashov, Inna Bogoslovskaya, Arkady Kornatsky, and Roman Nasirov. Despite the record number of registered candidates for the presidency, not all PECs had enough candidates to form commissions with the minimum allowable composition (9 people). In this case, the procedure for submission candidates for the PEC by the DEC chairperson on the basis of proposals made by members of the commission was applied (in accordance with paragraph 8 of Article 24 of the Law). In general, the number of PECs that were formed with the minimum composition (9 people) accounts for about 2% of all PECs. In the process of creating PECs, observers recorded a number of problematic situations that negatively affect the quality of management of the electoral process4 . Thus, the process of creating a PEC was complicated by the rather large number of cases where one person puts forward their candidacy for PEC membership on behalf of several presidential candidates (so-called "twins"). In addition, cases where some PEC candidates were presented without the consent of these persons (for example, DEC No. 198 in Cherkassy) were recorded. They complain that their personal data was used by candidates/parties without their knowledge. The observers of “Uspishna Varta” in various regions reported cases where district commissions formed PEC lists for replacement not during meetings, but with the participation of several members of district commission and without a corresponding quorum. 4 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/protsess-sozdaniya-uchastkovykh-komissiy-soprovozhdayetsya-ryadom-problem-nablyudateli- uspishna-varta
  10. 10. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 The most difficult for district election commissions was the procedure for the distribution of leadership positions in PECs. If the distribution of quotas among presidential candidates for submitting their candidates for a PEC was carried out through the use of the “Vybory” automated information system, then the distribution of leadership positions often took place “manually”. In practice, this often led to conflicts and delays in the procedure. Due to deviations from the proportional distribution of leadership positions and the non-statutory interference of the confidants of candidates in the preparation and adoption of a decision by the district election commission, the CEC by its resolution of March 12 terminated the powers of DEC No. 163 in Ternopol. On March 17th the CEC considered the complaint of one of the candidates, in which he challenged the actions of DEC No. 179. As a result, the commission canceled its decision on the formation of precinct election commissions, which violated the law. At the request of candidates, the courts overrule the decisions of DECs concerning the approval of the composition of the commissions (for example, DEC No. 78 in Berdyansk, Zaporozhye region5 ), which jeopardizes the electoral process itself. In a number of PECs, the process of replacing the members of commissions, including leaders, continued as of March 28th-29th. According to the observers of "Uspishna Varta", people refuse to work in the commissions because of low wages and large responsibility. PEC members are paid 280 hryvnia per day minus taxes (about $10). In addition, the low qualification of the PEC members and the lack of knowledge of the electoral legislation is problematic. In a conversation with the observers of “Uspishna Varta”, PEC members repeatedly reported that there were problems with the logistics of polling stations6 . After the last elections there were no voting booths, video cameras, and other equipment necessary for organizing election day at polling stations. There was also a problem with the overly small size of safes, which do not store bulletins 80cm in length. Due to the large number of candidates (89), in small stations there were problems with the placement of informational posters of candidates. DEC leaders located in rural areas are extremely concerned about the problem of providing district commissions with transport. According to electoral law, the responsibility for providing all district commissions with transport is assigned to the head of the district commission. It is difficult for the DEC leadership to sort out at such short notice tender purchases and the Prozorro system. In general, according to experts, more than 50% of members of DECs and PECs are controlled by the current president, Petro Poroshenko, through a number of technical candidates and those PEC members who were appointed as replacements. This situation creates a significant risk of the results of citizens' voting being distorted by the falsification of the protocols of voting results or by intentionally creating the conditions for invalidating the elections in those polling stations and districts where the opponents of the current president are in the lead. 5 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/v-berdyanske-mogut-byt-rasformirovany-uchastkovyye-komissii 6 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/net-lyudey-transporta-i-seyfov-rekordnoye-kolichestvo-kandidatov-porodilo-problemy-na-uik
  11. 11. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 REGISTRATION OF VOTERS According to the CEC, 315,725 Ukrainians, including Ukrainian citizens registered in the Donetsk (63,869 people) and Lugansk (28,834 people) regions7 , changed their place of voting for the presidential election. Taking into account that in Ukraine there are 1.2 million IDPs from the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea8 , less than 6% of them will use their right to vote in the election. Internally displaced persons and residents of temporarily occupied territories accounted for 24% of those who changed their place of voting. In addition, 22% of all those who changed their polling place are members of election commissions, and another 15% are police officers and official observers. During the last week before the end of the reception of applications for a temporary change in the place of voting (March 25th), the observers of “Uspishna Varta” noted the appearance of mass queues in the departments of the State Voter Registry in Kiev9 . According to the CEC, if in three months the citizens submitted about 100,000 applications for changing the place of voting, then in the last week before the deadline there were almost 210,000 applications. According to the voters who the observers of “Uspishna Varta” spoke to, for many people the difficulties that arose in the process of changing their place of voting (queues in which it was necessary to stand for 5 hours, refusals for formal reasons, and so on) exceeded the advantages of going to elections. In general, according to the State Voter Register, as of 02/28/201910 35,560,427 voters were registered in it, including 993,181 with the status "withdrew". Thus, according to the register, there are 34,567,246 voters in Ukraine. Recall that the last time a population census was conducted in Ukraine was in 200111 . The number of voters (and the printed number of ballots) projected by the CEC for the first round of elections is 30,028,913. Observers and journalists have found massive cases of long-dead people being present in the electoral register (including people who have died over 10 years ago, such as 2008). In addition, voter lists also include about 200,000 people who died in the non-controlled territories of Donbass over the past 5 years. The exact number of such "dead souls" in voter lists is not known. At the same time, there are cases where citizens who reached the age of 17 in 2018 (such cases were recorded in Kropyvnitsky) are not included in voter lists. The observers of “Uspishna Varta” express their concern about the fact that the presence of deceased people in lists of voters and those who are not present at the time of the elections in 7 https://www.drv.gov.ua/ords/portal/!cm_core.cm_index?option=ext_num_voters&pdt=6&pmn_id=127 8 Data of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine as of November 12th 2018 9 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/izbirateli-kiyeva-stoyat-v-massovykh-ocheredyakh-dlya-izmeneniya-mesta-golosovaniya 10 https://www.drv.gov.ua/ords/portal/!cm_core.cm_index?option=ext_num_voters&pdt=1&pmn_id=127 11 According to the results of the All-Ukrainian census of 2001, the population of Ukraine is 48,457,000 people
  12. 12. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 Ukraine12 can be used for falsifications (the use of ballots filled out in their name and “stuffed” in polling stations, or commission members filling them in themselves). In addition, the observers of “Uspishna Varta” also found a number of apartments in voter lists where an abnormally high number of voters are registered. Thus, more than 500 voters were registered in an apartment at 88B Pravda Avenue, apartment No. 101 in Kiev (polling station number 800670). When visiting the apartment, the observer of “Uspishna Varta” made sure that only one person was living in it as a tenant. The CEC reported that such facts are not new, and were voiced by the general public even during the early Ukrainian presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014. In addition, the CEC has repeatedly sent inquiries regarding a legal assessment of this situation to the competent authorities, in particular to the State Migration Service13 . Observers are also worried about the voting situation at 80 special polling stations in military units in the zone of the Operation of United Forces (Donetsk, Lugansk, and Lvov regions), which were organized by the CEC on March 14th "in an exceptional case"14 . According to representatives of the CEC, about 47,000 servicemen will vote at these polling stations. Considering that the territory on which the stations will be created is regime-based, voting at them may become limited and non-controlled. In addition, another 250,000 voters are passing through military service in the Armed Forces. Commissions and observers at such sites are formed from the military personnel themselves, their family members, and the “civilian” residents of military camps attached to the units. According to journalists, in the military units the turnout has been secretly lowered to 80%, and the percentage of votes for the incumbent President - to 70%15 . In addition, 101 polling stations were formed in a foreign constituency (in 72 countries). The CEC handed over 420,342 ballot papers to overseas polling stations. Voting on them, as a rule, is carried out under the control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Earlier, the CEC decided to transfer 5 polling stations from the territory of the Russian Federation to the Ukrainian embassies in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Finland16 . About 3 million Ukrainians live in Russia, whose voting rights will be limited during the 2019 presidential campaign17 . 12 According to the Ministry of Social Policy, at least 3.2 million labor migrants are located outside of Ukraine 13 http://www.cvk.gov.ua/news/news_25032019_1.htm 14 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/tsik-sozdala-80-dopolnitelnykh-uchastkov-v-voyennykh-chastyakh 15 https://strana.ua/articles/analysis/192738-kak-falsifitsirujut-vybory-v-armii-.html 16 CEC Resolution No. 274 from December 31st 2018 http://www.cvk.gov.ua/pls/acts/ShowCard?id=44232&what=0 17 Data from the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavel Klimkin in April 2018
  13. 13. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 THE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN OF CANDIDATES Budgetary administrative resources and abuse of office During March, President Poroshenko actively used his official position and official powers to conduct an electoral campaign, despite there being a direct legislative ban on this. In March the current president and presidential candidate Petro Poroshenko carried out 18 campaign trips to regions, and also held a campaign rally in Kiev18 . Thus, in each region the president, in an official capacity, held a Regional Development Council meeting, in which representatives of local self-government and executive authorities took part. According to electoral law (part 1 of article 64), the implementation of campaigning by these persons during working hours is prohibited. At the national level, the Regional Development Council is a consultative and advisory body under the President of Ukraine. At the same time, by their orders, local state administrations created councils of the appropriate level. Before 2019 this advisory body was not particularly active. Poroshenko's campaign visits were carried out within the framework of the implementation by local authorities of the Presidential Decree "On additional measures to ensure reforms to decentralize power", which was signed by the head of state on December 6th 2018. In addition to council meetings with the participation of the president and local officials, in all regions of Ukraine voters were given a campaign package in support of the president with a proposal to write a letter to the President as the head of the Regional Development Council. This package contains information about the improvement of cities in the period from 2019 to 2021, Poroshenko’s personal appeal, and is accompanied by an appeal of the Governor (Mayor) of the relevant region or city in support of the initiatives of the President. In Zaporozhye "Uspishna Varta" appealed to the police and the election commission with a complaint about the illegal carrying out of campaigning by the chairman of the local administration in favour of the candidate Poroshenko19 . The CEC, in response to the appeal of the “Uspishna Varta” human rights platform, said that these materials are not promotional and were not submitted by the candidate’s headquarters as printed campaign materials for the electoral campaign20 . As was mentioned earlier by observers, prior to the election national measures for the indexation of pensions and the monetization of subsidies for the payment by citizens of utilities started to be implemented. The first stage of the payment of pensions and monetized housing subsidies took place between March 4th and March 25th. According to the reports of the State Pension Fund and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, about 2 million pensioners in March received a one-time supplement to their pension in the amount of 2410 hryvnia. The indexation of pensions concerns about 10 million citizens 18 In particular, Poroshenko visited Nikolaev (March 4th), Dnepr (March 5th) Cherkassy (March 10th), Zhytomyr (March 11th), Chernigov (March 13th), Volyn and Donetsk regions (March 14th), Transcarpathia (March 15th), Poltava ( March 16th), Rovno and Khmelnitsky regions (March 18th), Ivano-Frankovsk (March 19th), Ternopol and Chernovtsi (March 23rd), Vinnytsia (March 27th), Lvov (March 28th), and he also held a campaign rally in Kiev (March 17th). 19 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/uspishna-varta-podala-zayavleniye-v-tsik-na-nezakonnuyu-agitatsiyu-kandidata-poroshenko 20 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/v-tsik-ne-uvideli-agitatsii-v-pismakh-poroshenko-izbiratelyam
  14. 14. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 (according to the Minister of Social Policy Andrey Reva). In March, the payment of 6 billion hryvnia of housing subsidies to citizens in cash in the framework of the government's experiment also began. In his public speeches during election rallies, Poroshenko repeatedly stressed that it is possible to make these payments precisely because of his policies. In addition, voters were sent letters about the payment of material assistance from local budgets, signed on behalf of the mayors of the cities, which are distributed in envelopes bearing an election advertisement of Petro Poroshenkо21 . Such a case was recorded in particular in Dnepr. The envelope contains the name and surname of the candidate Petro Poroshenko, as well as data on the seal that contains information about the client-candidate. On March 23rd, during a public speech on a TV channel, Poroshenko once again announced planned social payments for citizens in March and April. Observers evaluate these letters and statements as the use of the budgetary administrative resources for campaigning for President Poroshenko. Another reason for concern is the information received by observers about pressure being exerted on the staff of state and budgetary institutions (teachers, doctors, employees of lower level executive authorities). Under the risk of being dismissed from their work, they are forced to participate in campaign rallies in support of the current president, to participate in his campaign as commissioners and observers, and to vote in his favour. According to the Venice Commission (“For Democracy Through Law”) and the OSCE/ODIHR, the inappropriate use of administrative resources during the electoral process is a key challenge to the competitiveness of the electoral process and ensuring the principle of equality of opportunity for candidates. «Webs» and voter bribery In March the observers of “Uspishna Varta” continued to record cases of promoters of the current President Poroshenko working on a fee basis, which is prohibited by law. Thus, in Kharkov, an observer of “Uspishna Varta”, while communicating with such volunteers, found out that for each working day they receive up to 1,000 hryvnia (about $37)22 . Information was also repeatedly published on the Internet about people who participate in a survey designed to identify supporters of the current president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and promoters receiving a monetary reward for their work. Payments are made on behalf of the NGO "Institute for the Development and Promotion of Democracy" and are controlled via the issuance of a personalized card featuring a QR code to citizens. Current legislation prohibits handing over payment for promotion services. The CEC23 explained that reimbursing the expenses of individuals involved in the direct implementation of campaigning activities is allowed. In particular, such refunds may include the cost of telephone services, travel (including baggage), food, accommodation, and other expenses when carrying out campaigning activities in 21 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/agitatsiyu-petra-poroshenko-rasprostranyayut-vmeste-s-pismami-o-nachislenii-materialnoy- pomoshchi 22 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/agitatory-poroshenko-rabotayut-za-dengi-i-s-povyshennym-komfortom-nablyudateli- uspishna-varta 23 CEC Resolution No. 376 dated February 22nd 2019 http://www.cvk.gov.ua/pls/acts/ShowCard?id=45241&what=0
  15. 15. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 another locality and the like. Thus, the CEC recognized the legal financial reimbursement of expenses of citizens involved in electoral campaigning and actually legalized the payment of services of promoters of the current president. The correspondence of one of the headquarters of the candidate Poroshenko in the Kiev region, where they discuss payment for promoters with a certain number of "office supplies" (in correspondence, this term is obviously used to denote money), was published on the Internet. Earlier, journalists published information about the multi-stage scheme of bribing voters through so- called "webs" used by the HQ of the current President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. Thus, in January the carrying out of a so-called "Sociological survey" about a person's willingness to vote for the current president Poroshenko was recorded in a number of regions of Ukraine. Formally, it was carried out not by the headquarters of the candidate or his party, but by the public organization “Institute for the Development and Promotion of Democracy” (established in December 2018). People who expressed support for the current President Poroshenko were then offered the opportunity to receive additional social benefits from the state. The money for social assistance programs, which is approved by local and regional councils, is given to those who are on the white list of Poroshenko’s potential supporters24 . In March SMS messages entitled “Success in 2019”, reminding recipients about the achievements of the current government, were also sent to the phone numbers that were received as part of the campaign to collect signatures in support of Ukraine’s integration into NATO and the EU. Also, the third wave of the door-to-door campaign continued, within the framework of which volunteers from the “Solidarnost” public organisation personally visited voters, filled out questionnaires, and then reminded them to vote on March 31st for the candidate Petro Poroshenko. Experts suggest that in order to control the voting of people who received material assistance, more than 45,000 volunteers and promoters of Poroshenko will be present as official observers at polling stations (see the section “National and international observers”). In addition, local officials may be present at polling stations in order to control voting under the guise of “voluntary fire brigades”, although this is prohibited by electoral legislation. City, town, and village leaders were obliged to create such "brigades" on the territory of their communities. The corresponding decree issued by the district administration of the Gorokhovsky district of the Volyn region was published on the Internet. The lists of "brigades" include directors of rural clubs and schools, deputies and heads of rural councils, and other local officials. Protests and violence during presidential campaign meetings During his visits to regions, in addition to Regional Development Councils meetings Poroshenko also held a number of pre-election rallies. As a rule, the campaign meetings of the candidate Poroshenko took place with the centralized transportation of participants. There were cases where employees of 24 Thus, in the Nikolaev region 70 million hryvnia was allocated for these programs from the local budget; in Odessa – 90 million hryvnia, in Dnepropetrovsk – 140 million hryvnia. The Kharkov regional program initially earmarked 18 million hryvnia for 2019, then, by the decision of the session of the regional council (December 6th 2018), the amount was increased to 50 million hryvnia.
  16. 16. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 state-financed institutions and universities announced their obligation to participate in these meetings and expressed fears of being dismissed in case of refusal. For example, before Poroshenko’s campaign rally in Lvov on March 28th, it became known that employees of budgetary institutions in the neighbouring Volyn region had been sent to it. Poroshenko's rallies were heavily guarded, and people invited to them passed through special barriers. Ordinary voters, as well as journalists and official observers from “Uspishna Varta”, were not allowed to attend Poroshenko’s meetings25 . In a number of cities (Chernigov, Poltava, Vinnytsia, Lvov, and others) Poroshenko’s campaign rallies were accompanied by the counter-protests of the “National Corpus” right-wing radical group, which demands to punish high-ranking officials accused of corruption. In two cases law enforcement used violence against the participants of the protests and detained them.26 There were also cases where citizens who asked President Poroshenko inconvenient questions during his electoral meetings were harassed. Such people were forcefully taken away from electoral rallies by representatives of the police, and they were even beaten up by unknown persons. The police did not intervene in what was happening27 . Thus, on March 7th in Dnepr a public activist reported that his car had been set on fire by unknown persons. The activist links this incident with Poroshenko’s visit to Dnepr the day before when he tried to ask the president a question, after which he was detained and taken away by guards. On March 14th the police detained a journalist from the “Avers” channel in Kovel, Volyn Oblast, who was covering the rally of President Petro Poroshenko. On March 16th, at a campaign rally of the candidate Poroshenko in Uzhgorod (Transcarpathia), unknown persons beat up a man who was shouting an inconvenient question at the president, and forcefully took him in an unknown direction. Law enforcement officials were at the rally, but did not react to the beating. During the incident, the candidate Poroshenko continued his election speech from the stage. In Kiev (March 17th), Rovno (March 18th28 ), and Ivano-Frankovsk (March 19th), those who disagreed with the president’s policies were taken away from rallies by unidentified athletically built people (so- called “titushki”). They were planted in the crowd and in advance restrained those who planned to voice a negative remark against the current president or raise corresponding posters. In Ivano- Frankovsk, during a clash between “titushki” and representatives of the right-wing radical group “National Corpus”, a journalist from a local information website was injured29 . 25 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dEzV3Q_Rw0&feature=player_embedded 26 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6MHjDl7FvE&t=2s 27 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/na-mitingakh-poroshenko-izbivayut-lyudey-i-siloy-vyvodyat-zhurnalistov 28 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/18-marta-poroshenko-agitiroval-v-rovno-i-khmelnitskom 29 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/titushki-poroshenko-napali-na-zhurnalista-na-mitinge-v-ivano-frankovske
  17. 17. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 Conditions for the implementation of electoral campaigning The candidate Vladimir Zelensky, who has the highest approval rating among all candidates (according to sociological polls), did not carry out an electoral campaign in its classical sense and did not hold mass meetings with voters in regions. His campaign was concentrated on the Internet, billboards, and television advertising. The candidate also appeared on television as a host and actor in the projects of his creative studio ("Evening Quarter", "League of Laughter", and the series "Servant of the People"). On March 27th the TV show “1+1” launched the show “Servant of the People” with Vladimir Zelensky playing the leading role. The Supreme Court did not recognize Zelensky’s participation as a presenter of the “League of Laughter” program as campaigning. In addition to the current president, Petro Poroshenko, an active campaign in regions was also carried out by the candidates Yuliya Tymoshenko, Anatoly Gritsenko, Ruslan Koshulinsky, Igor Smeshko, Yury Boyko, Aleksandr Vilkul, and Oleg Lyashko. The observers of “Uspishna Varta” visited a number of candidates’s electoral events and recorded a number of minor irregularities while they happened30 . In particular, a statement was filed with the police concerning an administrative offence committed by a local official who campaigned in support of the candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko in Slavyansk. More than a third of candidates (16 out of 39) did not carry out a full electoral campaign, despite the fact that many of them ensured substantial representation in the composition of election commissions at various levels. The scale of campaigning in the format of setting up party tents and distributing party newspapers and other printed information materials from them increased significantly. This form of activity was used in March by the headquarters of Petro Poroshenko, Yuliya Tymoshenko, Anatoly Gritsenko, Andrey Sadovoy, Oleg Lyashko, and Ruslan Koshulinsky. While monitoring the electoral process, the observers of “Uspishna Varta” carried out interviews with representatives of candidate regional headquarters and attended campaigning events. The main problems voiced by representatives of the headquarters are the “webs” used by Petro Poroshenko’s headquarters for the purpose of bribing voters and a large number of DEC members from technical candidates who also work in the interests of the current president31. In March observers continued to record the use of black PR technology against presidential candidates. Thus, the observers of “Uspishna Varta” filed an appeal with the police and the CEC after hidden campaigning for the incumbent president, who also uses “black” PR against his main competitors, was revealed32 . We are talking about the advertisement boards of the musical band “TIK” in Kiev, Kharkov, Chernigov, and other cities. The words of the song that are displayed on the campaign materials indirectly urge people not to vote for Tymoshenko or Zelensky, but to support the current president. The CEC, in response to the appeal of “Uspishna Varta”, stated that they did not consider that 30 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/ne-poroshenko-yedinym-monitoring-agitatsionnykh-vstrech-timoshenko-gritsenko-smeshko 31 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/v-shtabakh-kandidatov-opasayutsya-setok-podkupa-izbirateley-i-falsifikatsiy-pri-podschete- golosov 32 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/v-ukraine-zapushchena-volna-chernogo-piara-protiv-opponetov-poroshenko
  18. 18. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 either the song of “TIK” called “Cyclones” and the billboards installed on the basis of the lyrics of this song contain calls to vote for or against a certain candidate for the post of President33 . In a number of regions of Ukraine the distribution of a newspaper - the founder of which, according to the information in the material, is the presidential candidate Sergey Kaplin - containing signs of "black PR" against the candidate Vladimir Zelensky was recorded. Leaflets with signs of black PR against Yuliya Tymoshenko were recorded by observers in Donbass. In a number of regions (Lvov, Donetsk), as well as on social networks, the observers of “Uspishna Varta” recorded the distribution of leaflets containing false information - that the military registration and enlistment offices before the start of the draft campaign in April will check the lists of draftees at polling stations34 . According to experts, this fake is aimed at reducing turnout in the regions of the electorate of Vladimir Zelensky. In addition, observers reported the distribution of leaflets before the day of voting aimed at reducing the turnout of Yuliya Tymoshenko. Observers continue to record cases of damage being done to the billboards and campaign posters of candidates in various regions: Aleksandr Solovyov (Sumy), Ruslan Koshulinsky (Kharkov), Yury Boyko (Odessa), and the candidates Anatoly Gritsenko, Aleksandr Shevchenko, and Yuliya Tymoshenko (Lutsk). Damage to the outdoor advertisements of the current president of Petro Poroshenko was recorded in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Offices, campaign tents, and promoters of the candidate Aleksandr Vilkul (Kharkov, Odessa, Nikolaev) were repeatedly attacked in different regions35 . SECURITY AND LAW & ORDER DURING ELECTIONS Publicly, law enforcement declare their readiness to ensure the fair voting of citizens during the election. This was stated at a briefing on March 12th by the head of the SBU Vasily Gritsak. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reported that order on the streets of Ukraine and in all regions where the electoral process will take place on election day will be ensured by 134,000 law enforcement officers. During the observation of preparations for the day of voting, the observers of “Uspishna Varta” recorded a number of security related processes and incidents at election day polling stations36 . There have been cases of missing stamps in several DECs and PECs, attempts to carry out provocations in order to gain access to voter lists, and more. 33 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/v-tsik-ne-schitayut-pesnyu-gruppy-tik-tsiklony-chernym-piarom-i-predvybornoy-agitatsiyey 34 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/na-lvovshchine-rasprostranyayut-lozhnuyu-informatsiyu-o-sverke-dannykh-prizyvnikov-po- spiskam-na-izbiratelnykh-uchastkakh 35 On March 1st “activists” from “National Corpus” tried to disrupt the meeting of the candidate Vilkul in Kharkov. According to the information published by the candidate, more than 100 “activists” blocked the building where the meeting with voters was taking place. Some of them could not enter the hall. On March 22nd in Odessa, unknown persons painted the office of the candidate with insulting words. On March 19th, in Nikolaev, unknown persons slashed the awnings of campaign tents and broke the leg of a candidate's campaigner. The victim was hospitalized in a medical facility. 36 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/pokhishcheniye-pechatey-i-pamyatki-sbu-kak-obespechivayetsya-bezopasnost-na- izbiratelnykh-uchastkakh
  19. 19. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 The Interior Ministry reported that as of March 28th, since the beginning of the electoral campaign, the police have registered 4,294 complaints related to the elections. In total, 299 criminal proceedings were initiated and 633 administrative protocols were drawn up. According to the Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, the main cases of bribing voters concern the candidates for the post of President of Ukraine Poroshenko and Tymoshenko. The Minister of Internal Affairs also expressed concern about the possible destabilization of the situation after the announcement of the election results if the gap between the candidates will be within 1.5-2%37 . As human rights activists noted in the first intermediate report (January-February 2019)38 , within the framework of the electoral campaign there is a trend where a part of law enforcement bodies (the Security Service of Ukraine and the Prosecutor-General's Office of Ukraine) carry out actions and statements in the interests of the current President Petro Poroshenko. In district election commissions (DECs), by the order of the CEC, working groups are created to ensure the security of the "Vybory" information system that include representatives of the SBU. Information about this came from the observers of "Uspishna Varta" in cities such as Kiev, Lvov, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, and Kramatorsk. Thus, on March 7th members of DEC No. 48 (Kramatorsk, Donetsk region) voted for the creation of such a working group, which included 7 employees of the Security Service of Ukraine39 . According to observers, such groups are not created in all DECs40 . CEC Chairperson Tatiyana Slipachuk said that the working groups that involve the Security Service of Ukraine will complete their work by March 29th. At the same time, at the disposal of “Uspishna Varta” are DEC resolutions from which it follows that the SBU working groups are required to be present in commissions during the transfer of information about the progress and results of voting41 . The response of the CEC received by the observers of “Uspishna Varta” refers to the validity of Resolution No. 334 being confirmed by the decision of the Sixth Appeal Administrative Court of February 25th 2019 in case No. 8555319, which was left unchanged by the decision of the Supreme Court of March 1st 2019 of the same year. Human rights activists are concerned that representatives of the SBU being present at the time when the results of voting are being transferred to the DEC can lead to abuses of official position and interference with the results and counting of votes. Moreover, the media published information42 about the possible distortion of the results of voting in favour of the incumbent President Poroshenko through a “tunnel” 37 https://mvs.gov.ua/ua/news/19496_Vibori_2019_Arsen_Avakov_zustrivsya_zi_sposterigachami_Svitovogo_Kongresu_Ukrainciv_ta_Nacional nogo_Demokratichnogo_Institutu.htm 38 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/monitoring/vybory-prezidenta-ukrainy-2019-otchet-po-nablyudeniyu-za-izbiratelnym-protsessom- promezhutochnyy-yanvar-fevral-2019-goda 39 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/sbu-poluchila-shirokiye-polnomochiya-dlya-vmeshatelstva-v-sistemu-vybory-nablyudateli- uspishna-varta 40 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/v-oik-net-yedinogo-ponimaniya-o-sostave-rabochey-gruppy-po-zashchite-ais-vybory- nablyudateli 41 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/zayavleniye-tsik-o-zavershenii-raboty-sbu-v-komissiyakh-29-marta-protivorechit- postanovleniyam-oik 42 https://vesti-ukr.com/politika/330490-vlast-hotovit-tunnel-kak-budut-falsifitsirovat-rezultaty-vyborov
  20. 20. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 (intermediate) server, which will allow interference in the program at the stage between the reception of data in the DEC bearing a wet stamp and the reception of figures in the CEC. On March 19th an observer of “Uspishna Varta” in Lvov submitted a statement to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) about the SBU overstepping its authority and putting pressure on the freedom of expression of voters. In particular, the chairperson of district election commission No. 117 reported, at a commission meeting, about the presence of "employees of the Security Service of Ukraine at the stations", which was reported to him in writing by the Security Service of Ukraine in the Lvov region under the condition of signing a non-disclosure agreement. Since the State Bureau of Investigation ignored the observer’s statement, on March 25th “Uspishna Varta” sent a complaint to the court regarding the inactivity of the State Bureau of Investigation43 . In addition, the SBU continued to carry out public and secret investigative actions against candidates who are the main election opponents of President Poroshenko. Thus, on March 4th, the police found a listening device in the office of the candidate Vladimir Zelensky44 . The SBU confirmed the information about the building where the candidate’s office is located being bugged. The party of the candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko declared that the actions of the SBU are aimed at intimidating the staff of their headquarters and demoralizing members of district commissions and observers participating in the candidate’s campaign45 . Thus, 73 heads of the primary party organizations of the political force of the presidential candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko in Zaporozhye, 100 people in Zhytomyr, and 270 people in the Vinnytsia region received a summons for interrogation in the SBU. In Ternopol representatives of Tymoshenko's party have also repeatedly stated that the staff of the SBU are putting pressure on them. On March 23rd the prosecutor's office of the Odessa region reported that “black cash” in the amount of 1.3 million hryvnia for “unlawful interference in elections” had been found in a branch of a bank. The Prosecutor-General Yury Lutsenko pointed out on his personal Facebook page that this cash is associated with the candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko. The party "Batkivshchyna" called this situation a provocation. Thus, despite publicly declaring its neutrality and unbiasedness, the Security Service of Ukraine continues to be involved in the electoral campaign, carrying out actions in the interests of the incumbent President Poroshenko. CAMPAIGN FINANCING On March 25th the Central Election Commission approved analyses of interim financial reports on the receipt and use of funds from the election funds of 44 candidates for the post of President of Ukraine. Candidates officially spent 1,273,000,000 hryvnia on their electoral campaigns. Most of all, 853,000,000 hryvnia was spent on advertising in the media. 43 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/uspishna-varta-dobivayetsya-rassledovaniya-po-prevysheniyu-polnomochiy-sbu-na-vyborakh 44 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/election/sbu-proslushivayet-ofis-odnogo-iz-kandidatov-v-prezidenty 45 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/sbu-massovo-vyzyvayet-na-dopros-sotrudnikov-shtaba-kandidata-yulii-timoshenko
  21. 21. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 In absolute terms, the biggest spenders on advertising were Petro Poroshenko – 251,000,000 hryvnia, Yuliya Tymoshenko – 118,000,000 hryvnia, Aleksandr Vilkul – 97,000,000 hryvnia, Sergey Taruta (withdrew from race) - 80,000,000, Vladimir Zelensky – 64,00,000 hryvnia, Oleg Lyashko – 59,000,000 hryvnia, and Anatoly Gritsenko – 52,000,000 hryvnia. Yury Boyko spent 39,000,000 hryvnia on advertising, Aleksander Shevchenko spent 34,000,000 hryvnia, Ruslan Koshulinsky spent 11,000,000 hryvnia, Evgeny Murayev (withdrew from the race) spent 11,000,000 hryvnia, and Andrey Sadovoy (withdrew from the race) spent 10,000,000 hryvnia. At the same time, seven presidential candidates did not officially incur any expenses: Aleksandr Vashchenko, Nikolay Gaber, Dmitry Gnap (withdrew from the race), Aleksandr Danilyuk, Roman Nasirov, Ruslan Rigovanov, and Aleksandr Solovyev. The information in the interim reports covers the period from the opening of election funds until March 18th 2019. Final financial reports of candidates will be submitted after the election. The National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) checked the financial reports of presidential candidates and recorded violations in 17 of them. MASS MEDIA Like before, the principles of justice, balance, and impartiality in covering electoral campaigns in the Ukrainian media are not respected enough, including the lack of equal and impartial treatment for all candidates. Black PR campaigns, both in the traditional media and on social networks, as well as “Jeansa”, inappropriate advertising labelling, and new forms of hidden propaganda remain a cause of concern for observers. Throughout the presidential campaign, social networks (first of all, Facebook and YouTube) remain platforms for launching defamatory campaigns against opponents and black PR campaigns. At the same time, representatives of law enforcement continued to take actions aimed at restricting freedom of speech and opinion in Ukraine during the presidential campaign. Thus, a number of foreign journalists were denied entry into Ukraine. The Security Service of Ukraine banned the Austrian journalist from the “ORF” TV channel Christian Wehrschütz from entering the country for 1 year46 . According to media reports, the journalist planned to interview two candidates for the presidency. The European Union and the OSCE called on the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from imposing any unnecessary restrictions on the free flow of information and freedom of the media. On March 14th it became known that a Canadian journalist, who was accredited by the CEC and went to cover the elections, was not allowed to enter Ukraine and was given a 3-year entrance ban47 . The reason for this was information that the journalist had visited Crimea. The Ukrainian ministry considered that the journalist posed a threat to national security. On March 25th the OSCE representative on media issues expressed concern over the refusal to let the “RAI” Italian journalist Marko Innaro enter Ukraine. 46 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/avstriyskomu-zhurnalistu-kristianu-vershyuttsu-zapretili-vyezd-v-ukrainu-pered-vyborami 47 https://interfax.com.ua/news/election2019/572397.html
  22. 22. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 On the eve of the elections the security authorities also initiated new criminal cases against Ukrainian journalists. Thus, on March 5th, in Kiev, SBU officers spent 14.5 hours searching the apartment of the journalist Vladimir Skachko, who is known for his critical remarks in relation to the authorities. According to the results of the search, Skachko was handed a summons for interrogation and a notice of suspicion of encroaching on the territorial integrity of Ukraine (Part 2 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). The case against Skachko is connected to the case of the journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, who was detained in May 2018 on suspicion of state treason and is still being held in custody48 . On March 20th the case on the illegal detention of Vyshinsky was transferred to the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court at the request of his lawyers. Court hearings continue on the cases of the journalists Vasily Muravitsky and Dmitry Vasilets, who were previously accused of committing “anti-state” activities and spent several years in jail. On March 27th the journalist Pavel Volkov, who spent more than a year in similar detention facilities on similar charges, was fully acquitted by the court. The prosecutor's office intends to appeal this decision. New facts concerning the exertion of pressure by the SBU were also reported by the Ukrainian independent media outlets. Thus, on March 11th journalists from the regional television and radio company “Avers” (Lutsk) announced, with reference to their own sources, the plans of the SBU to initiate a criminal case against the TV channel for the incitement of ethnic hatred. On March 20th the resolution of the National Security and Defence Council, which stipulates preparations for the introduction of sanctions against the “NEWSONE” and “112” TV channels, entered into force. The SBU also continues its practice of detaining social network users for allegedly “anti-Ukrainian agitation”. Thus, on March 12th the Security Service of Ukraine announced the exposure of another “agent network of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of Russia” that distributed calls on social networks “to allegedly patriotic forces to commit anti-government actions” aimed at fighting corruption and impeaching the current president on the eve of the election. Recall that during the campaign in Ukraine representatives of the right-wing group “National Corpus” carried out protests and demanded to investigate corruption in the environment of President Poroshenko. NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS 2,157 official observers from foreign states and international organizations were registered for the presidential election. The largest number of observers sent to Ukraine came from the OSCE ODIHR (808), ENEMO (373), World Congress of Ukrainians (219), and CANADEM (164) international organizations, and from foreign states - the US (63) and Poland (40). At the same time, observers from Germany, France, Sweden, Israel, the US, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Finland, Serbia, Norway, and the UK who took part in the Russian presidential election in Crimea on March 18th as international observers, were not allowed to enter Ukraine. The relevant sanctions were approved by the government and the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine. 48 https://uspishna-varta.com/ru/novyny/zhurnalista-skachko-ekstrenno-gospitalizirovali-posle-obyska-sbu
  23. 23. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 In addition, on March 20th CEC members refused to register the observers from the Russian Federation who were submitted by the OSCE Mission in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine49 . The right to observe the election was received by 139 Ukrainian public organizations, which registered a total of 88,486 observers (according to the information from the CEC website as of March 28th). More than 51% of all observers are registered from public organizations that are affiliated with the environment or party structure of the incumbent President Poroshenko. We are talking about the “Ukrainian Center for a Democratic Society” (29,615 observers), the public organization “Solidarnaya Molodezh” (8,569), the public organisation “All-Ukrainian Department of Identifying and Fighting Corruption in Government Bodies and Local Self-Government” (4,081), and “Vitaly Klitschko's UDAR” (2,965). Human rights defenders are also worried about the registration of representatives of the right-wing radical group “National Druzhina” (363 observers according to the CEC as of March 29th) and the public organization affiliated with the leader of this organization, Andrey Biletsky, “National Monitoring” (696 observers) as official observers. During March representatives of this group repeatedly organized protests against corruption in the environment of the current president, Petro Poroshenko. Thus, on March 9th, in Kiev, “National Corpus” and “National Druzhina”, wearing masks and armed with CS gas, tried to storm the administration of Petro Poroshenko, and then disrupted his meeting with voters in Cherkassy50 . The human rights activists of “Uspishna Varta” have repeatedly expressed concern about the possible use of force by right-wing groups at polling stations on election day and called on law enforcement officers to limit these groups' participation in the electoral process51 . In addition, according to the observers of “Uspishna Varta”, in a number of district commissions there are questions about the openness of activities and access of official observers to the meetings of the commissions. The civil network “OPORA” also reported that the CEC is attempting to limit the rights of observers by putting to the vote the question of giving them permission to attend meetings. The organization notes that obtaining such permission is not stipulated by law52 . The observers of “Uspishna Varta” also state that they do not have access to CEC meetings, and communication with the CEC is difficult. Also, observers in several regions (Zaporozhye, Dnepr) noted that during their registration, DEC members demanded that they provide registration documents in an electronic format (or on a disk). On March 20th the CEC issued resolution No. 622, according to which DECs must submit applications for 49 Earlier, on February 26th 2019, the candidate for the presidency of Ukraine and the current president Petro Poroshenko signed Law No. 9524 (“On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine Concerning the Observation of the Electoral Process in Ukraine”), which prohibits Russians from being observers at the presidential elections in Ukraine. 50 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/posle-aktsiy-natskorpusa-zhurnalista-vnesli-v-bazu-mirotvorets 51 https://uspishna-varta.com/en/news/pravozashchitniki-obespokoyeny-zayavleniyami-pravoradikalov-o-primenenii-sily-protiv- izbirateley 52 https://www.oporaua.org/statement/vybory/vybory-prezydenta/vybory-prezydenta-2019/17014-zaiava-gromadianskoyi-merezhi- opora-shchodo-nepravomirnosti-dii-tsentralnoyi-viborchoyi-komisiyi-z-vinesennia-na-obgovorennia-ta-nadannia-dozvolu-na-pravo- prisutnosti-na-zasidanni-ofitsiinogo-sposterigacha
  24. 24. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 PEC candidates, the registration of official observers, and other documents via the information and analytical system “Vybory”53 .. According to “Uspishna Varta”, the introduction of changes to the requirements for the registration of official observers 10 days before the election is unacceptable. In a number of commissions (for example, in Vinnytsia), commissions delayed the issuance of certificates to official observers, citing the lack of blank forms and a reluctance to “get together for the sake of one person”. As the practice of communication with representatives of district commissions has shown, not all of their members have information about the rights of official observers and the possibility of their presence at commission meetings. Human rights activists are concerned about the possibility of obstacles being placed in front of the work of official observers, and even district commission members' refusing to allow them to be present on election day. In addition, the presence of a large number of observers (more than 45,000) from the incumbent President Poroshenko on election day may lead to the risk of provocations or the disruption of elections in those regions where his competitors lead. ABOUT THE “USPISHNA VARTA” HUMAN RIGHTS PLATFORM The All-Ukrainian Association “Uspishna Varta” is a human rights platform that unites lawyers, public figures, and volunteers to protect the political and civil rights and freedoms of citizens of Ukraine, as well as to provide support for people and organizations who are persecuted for their political beliefs. Our main function is to monitor violations of the rights and freedoms of citizens in Ukraine and to make them public for a prompt response and the protection of affected people and organizations. We collect evidence of violations for the further transfer of these facts to the responsible authorities of Ukraine, and if a reaction does not follow, then to the world community and international organizations. In its activities, the “Uspishna Varta” human rights platform is guided solely by the principles of non-violence and respect for the law and international standards in the field of human rights. Law, people's lives, and peace in the state are fundamental to us. We urge all those who are not indifferent to join our Platform for the joint realization of our mission: to change the public climate of Ukraine, demonstrating and supporting the existence of an alternative view on the order of things and affirming the value of human life and respect for civil and political rights in the state. The “Uspishna Varta” human rights platform was created at the initiative and with the support of the Ukrainian public figure and philanthropist Aleksandr Klimenko. On January 18th the All-Ukrainian Public Association “Uspishna Varta” received permission from the CEC to have its official election observers. The number of long-term and short-term observers from “Uspishna Varta” during the campaign is more than 50 people. More information about our initiative can be found on our website. https://uspishna-varta.com/ e-mail: uspishnavarta@gmail.com Telephone: 0 800 20 40 04 53 http://www.cvk.gov.ua/pls/acts/ShowCard?id=45314&what=0
  25. 25. Intermediate Report on Monitoring Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election The "Uspishna Varta" human rights platform, 1-28 March 2019 © 2019 Public organization “All-Ukrainian Association 'Uspishna Varta'” All rights reserved. 1a Sportivna Square, Gulliver Business Center, Office 2A, 31st floor Kiev, Ukraine, 01023 0 800 20 40 04, uspishna-varta.com

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