About IFES Ukraine

About IFES Ukraine

Since 1994, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) has played a key role in the emergence of democratic electoral processes and institutions in Ukraine. Over the last two decades, IFES has developed a reputation as a reliable source for impartial analysis and high-quality technical assistance in the fields of electoral and political finance law reform, election administration, civil society capacity building and public opinion research. Building on this experience, IFES is working to promote good governance and democratic rights in Ukraine’s shifting political landscape. Currently, IFES is implementing the following projects in Ukraine: 1) Ukraine Responsive and Accountable Politics Program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development, and 2) Strengthening Capacity of Electoral Actors Program, funded by Global Affairs Canada.

Political Context

Ukraine has undergone a tumultuous post-independence history. Euromaidan resulted in the ouster of President Yanukovych and a reorientation toward a pro-European Union path of development, prompting Russia’s invasion and annexation of the region of Crimea, as well as Russian support for a separatist movement in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. The ongoing conflict has crippled the country’s economy and destabilized political life.

Early presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014, which were largely commended by international and domestic observers, ushered in a coalition of reform-minded representatives. Moreover, other positive developments, including the adoption of a comprehensive political finance reform law in 2015 (with IFES’ technical assistance) signal progress. However, reform has been slow to come and the population is deeply dissatisfied with the current situation in the country. Local elections were held in October 2015 under a controversial and highly complex new local election law. The new local election law represents the latest case of Ukrainian authorities experimenting with different rules and systems from one election to the next. It underscores the need for consolidation and harmonization of the country’s disparate laws governing elections.

Program Summary

IFES works to foster discussion on electoral law reform, build the capacity of civil society to analyze and advocate on election law issues, ensure Ukraine’s ability to enact critical political finance reforms through assistance to the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC), and strengthen the capacity of election officials through technical assistance to the Central Election Commission (CEC). IFES support has focused on both the process and content of reform by promoting inclusive dialogue among stakeholders and providing technical assistance in the development of legislation consistent with international and European standards. Dovetailing with election law reform is the objective to improve transparency and oversight of political finance. IFES has been directly involved in the conceptualization and drafting of reform legislation, including comprehensive political finance reform.

IFES is also working with local civil society organizations to develop and promote measures that address women’s underrepresentation in Ukrainian politics and make local and national elections more accessible to persons with disabilities.

IFES is a leader in the field of public opinion research in Ukraine. Since 1994, IFES has conducted 25 nationwide public opinion surveys in the country, examining socio-political issues, and attitudes toward elections and democracy, among other topics. Data from these surveys have enabled IFES to focus its technical assistance and to provide valuable and up-to-date information and analysis to donors and researchers. By using trend questions on surveys, IFES has been able to track the


March 2019
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