Presentation “Political Attitudes of Internally Displaced People”
On September 11th 2019, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) together with the Civil Holding Group of Influence presented the results of a national survey on the political attitudes of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
A survey was fielded by Ipsos Ukraine between February 15th and March 15th 2019. A total of 2 063 interviews were conducted in the homes of the respondents. For the purposes of this survey, IDPs are defined as residents of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea, who have been forced to move to other parts of Ukraine due to conflict or occupation in these oblasts. The sample for this survey is composed of IDPs living in households. The error value is ± 2.16% within the 95% confidence interval.
As mentioned by Nadiya Pashkova, IFES Senior Project Officer, IDPs are increasingly binding their future with those of the new communities in which they have settled. Thus, the number of IDPs who are certain or likely to remain in their new communities is now 43%, an increase of 10% since 2018.
65% of IDPs say they feel fully or somewhat integrated into their current community (16% fully integrated, 49% somewhat integrated) and almost one in ten people strongly or to some extent agree with the statement that they are active members of the community (9% strongly agree, 33% agree to some extent).
The majority of IDPs continue to voice skepticism that they have the ability to influence the decisions made by the government, in general or through voting. When asked to agree or disagree on whether voting gives people like them influence over decision-making, 24% strongly disagreed and 30% somewhat disagreed with this statement, while 34% strongly or to some extent agreed. In addition, 41% of respondents strongly agreed and 35% agreed to some extent that politicians “do not understand people like them”.
With many IDPs not perceiving that they could exercise their influence through voting, it is unsurprising that many IDPs said they would be unlikely to vote in the local elections. Only 15% said they are very likely to participate in the election, while 27% said they are somewhat likely. Conversely, 14% said they are somewhat unlikely, 12% very unlikely, and 10% said they would not vote at all.
Tatiana Durneva, Executive Director of Civil Holding “Group of Influence” noted that the question of IDPs’ participation in the local elections is still unsolved, since flaws in the electoral legislation deprive them of the right to do so. “Despite the large-scale advocacy campaign conducted by the Civil Holding “Group of Influence” to ensure the electoral rights of IDPs, the draft law No. 6240 was not considered by the Verkhovna Rada of the VIII convocation. In accordance with Article 95 of the Law “On the Rule of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine”, this bill was withdrawn from consideration. The text of the Electoral Code, adopted on July 11, 2019, signed by the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, but not signed by the President of Ukraine, also lacks provisions on the electoral rights of IDPs. Accordingly, it would be optimal to return the Code to the Parliament with proposals to ensure the electoral rights of IDPs and labor migrants”.
Oleksandr Klyuzhev, analyst of the Сivil Network OPORA, indicated that while working with the previous parliament, the prospects for passing the bill were very limited, particularly considering the positions of those factions that made up the parliamentary majority. Now the situation is different, as no counter-argument from either team, neither parliamentary nor at the level of the President’s institute, can be heard. What’s more, we are yet to see a position on solving the issue of IDPs, or on the development of relations with the temporarily occupied territories. Hopefully, this strategy will be presented soon. When the president makes known his position on the Electoral Code, we will have a benchmark for his view on the issues of IDPs. “It will happen soon,” summed up Oleksandr.
This presentation is conducted by International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Civil Holding “Group of Influence” with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Global Affairs Canada and UK aid. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, nor the governments of the USA, Canada and UK.