IFES Ukraine Election Bulletin #104 (February 24 – March 6, 2020)
Rada Approves New Government. With 277 votes, the Verkhovna Rada approved a new Cabinet of Ministers at a snap parliamentary session on Wednesday, March 4. The government was introduced by newly-appointed Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, lawmakers approved former Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk’s resignation which he tendered on March 3. His resignation triggered the automatic resignation of the entire Cabinet of Ministers.
Two hundred and ninety-one MPs voted for Shmyhal’s appointment as the new Prime Minister. Shmyhal previously served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Communities and Territories Development.
Civil Network OPORA Reports on Verkhovna Rada By-Election in District 179. On March 5, Civil Network OPORA shared a preliminary report on the independent observation of the Verkhovna Rada by-election in election district 179 in the Kharkiv region. OPORA noted that despite minor violations, in general, the campaign met basic democratic standards. Observers have not documented cases of vote-buying or distribution of goods and services to voters so far. Election day is March 15.
The campaign demonstrated the need to strengthen political finance and transparency mechanisms. Only 26 of the 40 registered candidates opened election fund accounts.
Draft Law on the All-Ukrainian Referendum Shared with Public. Following numerous meetings of the Verkhovna Rada Working Group drafting direct democracy laws, the Draft Law On the All-Ukrainian Referendum was shared with the public to solicit its input. The Draft Law can be read at the link.
Citizens can share their suggestions and comments about the draft electronically at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Public consultation will continue through March 18.
CEC Shares Recommendations for Election Code Amendments. On March 2, the Central Election Commission (CEC) reported its suggestions for amending the Election Code. Some of the proposals were first communicated by the Commission in meetings with the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission and IFES representatives.
The recommendations include eliminating excessive regulation of electoral procedures, introducing new voting technologies, defining mandates for the CEC’s future regional and territorial offices, coordinating the number of electoral regions for parliamentary elections and the maximum number of candidates that can be nominated in each of them and further action against so-called “clone” candidates who can confuse voters’ choices.
CEC Maps Potential Counter-Disinformation Measures. On March 4, the CEC hosted a meeting of the Commission’s Secretary, Olena Hataullina, and Facebook public policy representatives from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The event was attended by CEC members, representatives of the CEC’s secretariat and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Project Coordinator in Ukraine.
Parties discussed implementing rules governing Facebook in Ukraine with a focus on elections and combating misinformation and promoting political finance transparency on Facebook. Accessing election funds to support the placement of campaign materials on the Internet is not regulated by Ukrainian law and, to solve this challenge, participants agreed to establish a close dialogue between the CEC, the National Broadcasting Council and Facebook.
Participants also agreed to deepen their partnership by organizing training for CEC members and the Commission’s secretariat to help master the Facebook network’s tools and capabilities and voter education communication skills.
Q&A with Central Election Commissioner Viktoriia Hlushchenko. To mark the occasion of International Women’s Day, IFES engaged CEC member Viktoriia Hlushchenko, the commissioner serving as the gender mainstreaming and gender equality lead in organizing elections and referenda in Ukraine. Hlushchenko spoke about women’s access to electoral processes in Ukraine and how the new electoral code will ensure gender equality in politics. The full interview is at the link