Ukraine

Electoral reform Forum by OPORA

On March, 23 and 24, Civil Network OPORA will hold the two-day forum on “Electoral Reform: Assessment Through the Prism of Values, Political Rights, and Quality of Procedures.” During the event, experts will be discussing the shortcomings of Electoral Code and suggest solutions to issues faced at the 2020 local elections. The proposals could be taken into account buy the Working Group on finalization of Electoral Code launched this March. Key topics will be illustrated by unique customized research undertaken by OPORA, and by findings of non-partisan observers and ombudsmen for voting rights.

Due to epidemic challenges, the Forum will be running in a hybrid form. The invited participants will be present in a studio, with no audience onsite. Anyone interested will be able to follow the discussions live.

The live streaming of the Forum is available at: 

The key focus areas of the conference include the issues in the exercise of active and passive suffrage, the terms for the freedom of political choice and achievement of justice during the election cycle. Specifically, we shall talk about the effects of the electoral system; the impact of internal party democracy on the principle of equality and elections in the government-controlled areas of Donbass; potential ways to bridge the gaps in Ukrainian election practices in securing the rights of people with disabilities and in accessibility to polling stations; electoral data, ensuring transparency in campaigning finance as a precondition for equal terms for candidates and the role of social media; ensuring fair trial and investigation of electoral fraud. The event will include 7 discussions and brief motivational speeches.

Following the first run of the new version of Electoral Code at the 2020 local elections, and after the official establishment of the parliamentary working group on the improvement of electoral law, there is a need to reflect upon the key accomplishments and certain gaps in election processes and procedures. Although The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in the 2020 Democracy Index included Ukraine under the category of “election processes and pluralism” to the list of countries with the full-fledged democracy levels (8.5 of 10), the parameters for the “government functioning” remain on the level of authoritarian regimes (2.71 of 10). Ukraine has been referred to hybrid democracy in the categories of “political culture” (5 points) and “civil rights” (5.88). In the context of political rights, the freedom of shaping the will, justice and ambitions to reach the future consensus between society and political sector on the non-reversible democratic governance, any topic may be treated both as a solution and a challenge. 

OPORA Forum shall become the open platform for high professional modern trends and innovations in the context of ensuring voting rights, and a discussion on key electoral and related practices generated during the implementation of new electoral law in Ukraine. This goal will bring together in one location the representatives of various stakeholders for two days: political and public experts, members of parliament, representatives of election administration authorities, law-enforcement authorities, voters and groups of voters facing certain restrictions or barriers on their suffrage. The participants will discuss global issues of choice, political rights and success stories of their exercise.

The event has become possible due to support of the American people provided via the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union within the project “Electoral Reform for the Empowerment of Change Agents and Support to Public Dialogue” implemented by the Civil Network OPORA. Any opinions and statements expressed during the event may not necessarily coincide with the position of USAID, US government, or governments of EU MS.

Preliminary program

 

Day 1 (March, 23, Tue)

 

10:00 – 10:15

Welcome address

Olga Aivazovska, Head of the Board of the Civil Network OPORA

Jim Hope, Mission Director USAID

10:15 – 10:30

Video history of electoral reform by OPORA

 

10:30 – 11:00

Inspirational talk on the value of choice

Vakhtang Kebuladze, Doctor of Philosophy, publicist

11:00 – 11:45

Discussion 1. The right to be elected and access to politics

Description: Is the reform objective fully implemented in terms of competitiveness and openness of proportional system during the recent elections: the effects, impact on local policymaking, compliance with best practices and current political situation in the development of the state and society.

Moderator: Olga Aivazovska, Head of the Board of the Civil Network OPORA

Oleksandr Korniienko, Head of "Servant of the People" Political Party

Aliona Shkrum, Member of the parliamentary faction of the political party the All-Ukrainian Union “Batkivshchyna” at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Andrii Sadovyi, Mayor of Lviv

Vladyslav Artoshenko, Mayor of Chernihiv (TBS)

Ivan, Fursenko, First Deputy Head of the Executive Directorate of the All-Ukrainian Association of Communities

Oleksandr Neberykut, Analyst of the Civil Network OPORA

11:45 – 11:50

Mini talk on small stage about a success story №1

Andrii Savchuk, Analyst of the Civil Network OPORA

11:50 – 12:40

Discussion 2. Equal access to politics for men and women

Description: At the local elections, they first applied the principle of gender-balanced lists of candidates as mandatory for parties. Have the quotas become a fair enough and efficient mechanism to compose the balanced representative authorities and whether the change of legal provisions led to different attitudes, and to changes in political culture?

Moderator: Larysa Denysenko, Co-founder of the Association of Women Lawyers of Ukraine "YurFem"

Maryna Bardina, Chairperson of the Sub-committee on Ukraine’s Compliance with International Commitments in Human Rights Protection and Gender Policy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation

Mariia Ionova, Member of the political party " European Solidarity" faction, Сo-chairperson of Inter-factional Deputy Association "Equal Opportunities "

Iryna Tyshko, Coordinator of the #electionsWITHOUTsexism project

Maria Tsypiashchuk, Electoral Rights Ombudsman of the Civil Network OPORA

12:40 – 12:45

Mini talk on small stage about a success story №2

Andrii Savchuk, Analyst of the Civil Network OPORA

12:45 – 13:45

Discussion 3. Partization of elections vs. Party growth

Description: is there an internal party democracy in Ukraine and how realistic is this task for the electoral law to address? Does party monopoly to nominate candidate lists in communities with 10,000+ voters contribute to the development of the parties, or does it limit their institutional progress on the level of pre-election technologies. Is the law on parties going to solve the problem: from permissiveness to regulations.

Moderator: Olha Aivazovska, Head of the Board of the Civil Network OPORA

Viktoriia Podhorna, Chairperson of the Sub-committee on Electronic Democracy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on Digital Transformation

Tetiana Plachkova, Member of the "Opposition Platform – For Life" political party parliamentary faction 

Iryna Herashchenko, Member of the political party " European Solidarity" faction

Mykyta Poturaiev, Head of the Kirovohrad oblast organization of "Servant of the People" political party, People's Deputy of Ukraine

Mykhailo Tsymbaliuk, Head of the Lviv Oblast organization of All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland", People's Deputy of Ukraine 

Oksana Prodan, People's Deputy of the 9th convocation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, former head of "UDAR" political party

14:00 – 14:05

Speed talk on the transiency of ideologies

 

Volodymyr Yermolenko, Doctor of Political Science, philosopher, essayist

14:05 – 15:25

Discussion 4. Conditions for political choice: freedom, awareness, transparency.

Description: A voter can make their free and weighted political choice only when there is full access to versatile information on all electoral actors. We shall talk about access to information, open electoral data, media coverage of the election process, use of social media for campaigning, etc.

Moderator: Oleksandr Burmagin, Media lawyer, media trainer, executive director of the NGO "Human Rights Platform"

Taras Shevchenko, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine

Valentyn Koval, First Deputy Chairperson of the National Сouncil of Television and Radio Broadcasting

Alina Zahoruiko, First Deputy Chairperson of the Committee, Chairperson of the Sub-committee on Elections, Referendums and Other Forms of Direct Democracy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on State Building, Local Governance, Regional and Urban Development

Ihor Rozkladay, Deputy Director of the Center for Democracy and the Rule of Law

Robert Lorian, Data analyst of the Civil Network OPORA

 

15:25 – 15:30

Preview of the next day

Olga Aivazovska, Head of the Board of the Civil Network OPORA

 

Day 2 (March, 24, Wed.)

 

10:00 – 11:30

Discussion 5. Elections in the Donbas and the right for local self-government

Description: What threats shall we combat to have free and fair elections on the government-controlled areas at the contact line? Are the internally displaced persons from Crimea and the Donbas still discriminated, and how can the government support their reintegration?

Moderator: Oleksandr Kliuzhev, Senior Analyst of the Civil Network OPORA

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine

Inna Drahanchuk, Deputy Minister for reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine 

Tamila Tasheva, Deputy Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea

Yurii Miroshnychenko, Member of the Central Election Commission

Ihor Abramiuk, Deputy Head of the Executive Directorate of the All-Ukrainian Association of Communities

Pavlo Kyrylenko, Chairman of the Donetsk Regional State Administration, head of the regional military-civil administration

11:30 – 11:35

Mini talk on small stage about a success story №3

Maria Tsypiashchuk, Electoral Rights Ombudsman of the Civil Network OPORA

11:35 – 13:05

Discussion 6. Does justice ensure the fairness of the electoral process?

Description: What has a major impact on the positive dynamics in reducing electoral fraud: prevention or investigation and inescapable punishment? Police, prosecutor’s office, court: how prepared is each unit for the full-fledged application of new formats of liability?

Moderator: Olha Kotsiuruba, Senior Legal Adviser of the Civil Network OPORA

Vasyl Lemak, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine

Ruslan Dudarets, Deputy Chief of the Main Investigation Department of the National Police of Ukraine

Mykhaylo Tsurkan, Deputy Head (Director) of the Testology Center Department of the National School of Judges of Ukraine, Retired Judge of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine, Candidate of Law, Honored Lawyer of Ukraine

Pavlo Romaniuk, Legal Adviser of the Civil Network OPORA

13:05 – 13:10

Mini talk on small stage about a success story №4

Olena Rohova, Electoral Rights Ombudsman of the Civil Network OPORA

13:10 – 14:20

Discussion 7. (UN)accessible elections or rights of people with disabilities

Description: As of August, 2020, as little as 3% of polling stations in Ukraine could qualify as architecturally accessible for the low-mobile people. However, how many more barriers come in the way to barrier free election processes? Duplicating information in accessible formats for people with various health impairments, patterns for ballot papers in Braille script, etc. Could it be achievable in Ukraine by 2025?

Moderator: Olha Kotsiuruba, Senior Legal Adviser of the Civil Network OPORA

Virginia Atkinson, IFES Senior Global Inclusion Advisor

Serhii Postivyi, Member of the Central Election Commission

Taras Shcherbatiuk, Electoral Rights Ombudsman of the Civil Network OPORA

Uliana Pcholkina, Program manager of the NGO "Active Rehabilitation Group", coordinator of the direction of inclusion StarLightMedia.

14:20 – 14:25

Mini talk on small stage about a success story №5

Robert Lorian, Data analyst of the Civil Network OPORA

14:25 – 14:45

Thematic speed talks:
- voter lists and reinstatement of rights;
- special polling stations and voting for military servicemen.

Moderator: Olha Kotsiuruba, Senior Legal Adviser of the Civil Network OPORA

Olha Mazaieva, Electoral Rights Ombudsman of the Civil Network OPORA

Valentyna Volik,  Electoral Rights Ombudsman of the Civil Network OPORA

14:45 – 14:50

Summary and closure of the Forum

Olga Aivazovska, Head of the Board of the Civil Network OPORA

 

* The event will run in a hybrid format with participants in a studio and experts connected online.

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