Third Summary of “Maidan Monitoring: Election 2012” Project Findings
There were 327 violations reported by Tuesday 28th of August, 107 of which relate to the events happened during the last fortnight.
The most widespread were still the campaign propaganda order violations, 82 totals. Reports mostly deal with unmarked advertising on billboards; ads on public transportation and government buildings.
42 cases document administrative pressure of different sorts. Most deal with propaganda for certain candidate of party inside or on the government buildings, which is prohibited by the law. The local government buildings are used for political advertising, as well as state hospitals, schools, libraries, post offices. The banners of ruling Party of Regions were displayed at the entrances to local governments in villages near Odesa and at the post office near Kharkiv. There are many reports of government officials directly promoting candidates in public speeches. One case involving Mykhaylo Papiev, the head of Chernivtsi region administration, has been reported to the prosecutor; however the prosecutor did not confirm the offence, though it had been videotaped and evident.
Official websites are widely used to promote candidates, especially the Parliamentary website which is full of campaign news about the speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn who is running for Parliament again.
A disturbing case from Yarmolintsy, Khmelnitsky region, documented the efforts of local government official to organize a counter assembly to prevent public meeting with an opposition candidate. Government workers were used to create a loudspeaker party in their working hours to interfere with the meeting.
There are 4 reports like this recorded on our map and in all cases the police did not intervene even when asked to and even when some violence was used against the candidate. According to the law police is required to ensure the public order during peaceful assemblies, but they clearly fail to.
29 reports deal with inequality of participants. There are cases of court forbidding meeting of (always opposition) candidates with electors. On the contrary candidates from ruling party are participating in state holiday events, are meeting with electors inside government buildings, and even have party offices inside government buildings.
There were 28 cases of bribery of voters reported, which included direct money handouts, presents of food, potted flowers, mobile phones, discounted goods, cars and buses.
15 cases of fraud were reported. Most deal with budget financed communal or construction works used for advertising of candidates as their attribution. This is a country-wide violation and we are preparing special report on it.
There were 10 cases of illegal campaign financing reported. Most disturbing is the report of state budget money spent on 12000 of temporary “social workers” whose only function is to visit homes and “tell about the advances of Party of Regions”.
There were 4 cases of unlawful coercion reported, 3 cases of direct violence, 1 case of mass media rights violation.
Note that some cases included several categories of violations.
Most violations reported during that period were localized in Odesa region (15), Kyiv city (13), Dnipropetrovsk region (10), Donetsk region (7), Kharkiv region (6), and Luhansk region (6).
We had complaints from 22 regions total. Last fortnight we had no reports from Poltava, Zakarpattya, Volyn, Vinnytsya; Lviv region still is the only one we had no complaints from.
Only about 25% of reports we are getting are published on our map due to strict requirements of evidence provided.
Most notable case of election violation in August was the removal of counter propaganda billboard in Dniprodzerzhinsk. The whole billboard story can be found here. It was reported that the humorous billboard removal was directly ordered by the head of Dnipropetrovsk regional administration Oleksander Vilkul. We sent the official request for information to Oleksander Vilkul asking to confirm or deny that information. To our greatest surprise he did neither. Instead he wrote he cannot comment on “evaluative judgments”. He could just have said “no”… (See the original reply in Ukrainian).
So far we summarized the following country-wide systemic violations:
- “Serial charity” or handing out identical branded food packs on behalf of candidates.
- Budget paid TV tuners handout on behalf of one party.
- Playgrounds paid by budget money opened by candidates and branded by their name.
- Communal improvement works paid by budget money attributed to a candidate or a party.
- Unmarked propaganda billboards and other advertising production (no required info who ordered it, where it was made, circulation, etc.).
- Political advertising inside and on the civic transportation.
- Political advertising inside and on the government buildings.
The beginning of the process of forming of the election precincts had also shown systemic flaws which we plan to describe in the next issue.
“Maidan-Monitoring: Election 2012” project is implemented by Civic Information and Methodology Center “Vsesvit”. It is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation. The project is not affiliated with any political party or candidate. We map the violations of electoral law submitted by any party or candidate if it meets the project requirements – video or photo evidence, background check and is evaluated by our lawyers as possible violation. Read more about the project.