Need for urgent guidance on COVID19 measures and related procurements ahead of local elections
On October 25, Ukraine will hold nationwide local elections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. With cases rising nationally, it is of the utmost importance that all Ukrainian voters and electoral actors can participate in these elections safely, with established mitigation measures in place. Draft Law Number 4117 introducing amendments to the Electoral Code partially addressed some of the pressing COVID-19 related issues. However, given changes in the Verkhovna Rada’s calendar due to the pandemic, its adoption seems no longer possible.
On September 14, 2020, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the Order for implementing anti-epidemic measures during the organization and conduct of elections. The document lists general measures that foresee the procurement of protective equipment and materials, and entrusts its organization to the local government bodies to carry it out at the expense of local budget funds. However, there has been no further clarification as to which funding mechanisms can be used to cover this equipment and what exactly must be procured.
With elections less than 20 days away, there is a dire need to ensure that local authorities have clear guidance for action, support and funding that they require to guarantee the voting rights of citizens and ensure the safety of all participants in the election process against the backdrop of the spread of COVID-19 in Ukraine. It is therefore of the utmost urgency and importance that the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance swiftly issue clear guidance on types of procurement and ensure adequate funding for COVID-19 mitigation measures respectively.
We call on the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, as well as other involved state bodies, to coordinate with the Central Electoral Commission to expedite resolving pivotal issues around organization and conduct of safe local elections on October 25, 2020.
In order to provide for all possible means that are pressing for the organization and conduct of the local elections on 25 October 2020 in a safely manner, we urge
- the Ministry of Health to specify and properly communicate the anti-epidemic measures to be provided for by the local government bodies;
- the Ministry of Finance to provide clarification on the mechanism for covering these measures via applicable budgets, as well as to allocate respective subventions from the State Budget to the local budgets.
We strongly believe that taking comprehensive measures and combining efforts of all involved stakeholders will facilitate ensuring the safety of both the voters and all other participants of the voting process in the course of organization and conduct of local elections on 25 October 2020.
- International Foundation for Electoral Systems
- Serhiy Vasylchenko, Ukrainian Center for Social Data
- Olga Aivazovska, Civic Network “OPORA”
- Danylo Vavriv, NGO “Youth Democratic Association” YODA”
- Alyona Sheshenya, NGO “I have right”
- Oleksandra Hlizhynska, All-Ukrainian initiative “Active Community”
- Yulia Kyrychenko, Centre of policy and legal reform
- Oleksiy Koshel, Committee of Voters of Ukraine
- Svitlana Kononchuk, Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research
- Vita Dumanska, Civic movement “Chesno”
- Anatoliy Boyko, Odessa Regional Organization Committee of Voters of Ukraine
- Svitlana Tkachenko, NGO “Access Point”
- Tetyana Durneva, Public holding “Group of Influence”
- NGO Global Office
- Victoria Feofilova, NGO “Young Cherkasy”
- Yuliya Klepets, All-Ukrainian NGO “Coalition for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities” .