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By-elections – formation of PECs

(March 25, 2021)


The process of establishing precinct election commissions was running under the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” valid in part of the organization of the preparation and conduct of interim elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine. The total number of precinct election commissions established at the interim elections of the people’s deputies of Ukraine in constituencies No 50 and No 87 is 229, of which 112 account for Donetsk region, and 117 have been found in Ivano-Frankivsk region. 

According to the Law of Ukraine “On Election of People’s Deputies of Ukraine,” precinct election commissions shall be established by March, 12, inclusive. However, constituency No 50 established the commissions in breach of the deadlines. The district election commission started composing the PECs at their meeting on March, 12. However, for the lack of time, they did not manage to complete it. DEC members highlighted that the meeting had been initially scheduled for March, 11, but the Elections data analytics system was not functional and they had to postpone the PEC composition. Observers stated that the meeting started with delay from the announced time. Besides, much time was spent for the lot drawing, for arguments and the distribution of executive roles as the law has it that a precinct election commission shall be composed of a chairperson, a deputy chair, a secretary, and other commission members. According to Vitaliy Baranovskyi, chair of the DEC, the precinct commissions were established in an ongoing meeting on March, 13. In terms of procedures, the election commission did everything in a due manner but better process organization and more attentive interpretation of election procedures requires finalization.

At the interim elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine, the right to nominate candidates to PECs is entitled to candidates for people’s deputies in one-member constituencies and parties that have the factions in Verkhovna Rada of the current convocation. In constituencies No 50 and No 87, all parliamentary parties contributed to the commissions’ memberships: “Holos,” “Batkivshchyna” AU, “Servant of the People,” “European Solidarity,” and the “Opposition Platform – For Life.” The only exception is the “Opposition Platform – For Life” party that delegated their representatives only to Dontesk commissions.

Of the 15  candidates for people’s deputies in constituency No 87, as little as nine actors benefited from their right to nominate candidates for PECs: Vasyl Virastiuk (“Servant of the People”), Maria Zholob (self-nomination), Marusia Zvirobiy-Bilenka (“European Solidarity”), Oleksandr Shevchenko (“For the Future”), Serhiy Syvachuk (self-nomination), Ruslan Derevoriz (self-nomination), Ruslan Koshulynskyi (Svoboda AU), Yuriy Holiney (“Platform of Hromadas” AU), and Mykhaylo Noniak (self-nomination).

14 of the 19 registered candidates for people’s deputies in constituency No 50 submitted their candidates to PEC. They were Andriy Aksionov (“Poriadok”), Andriy Bondarenko (“Servant of the People”), Yuliya Hakova (“Holos”), Oleksandr Hruzdev (self-nomination), Serhiy Zvaholskyi (self-nomination), Yuliya Kuzmenko (“European Solidarity”), Artem Marchevskyi (“Opposition Platform – For Life”), Andriy Masenets (self-nomination), Nadiya Maslo (“Opposition Bloc”), Bohdan Myronenko (self-nomination), Larysa Revva (Batkivshchyna AU), Oleksandr Tambulatov (self-nomination), Yuriy Tretiak (self-nomination), and Viktoria Shylova (“Derzhava”).

Nominations for PECs were accompanied by no conflict, but with elements of violations of the Criminal Code. A total of 194 candidates were rejected in two constituencies, one in Ivano-Frankivsk and 193 in Donetsk region. 108 people in constituency No 50 were rejected in the draw. But the main problem with the deviations was the inclusion of the same candidates in the PECs from different nominating entities. For this reason, 79 candidates were rejected in Donetsk region, and one candidate – in Ivano-Frankivsk region. Two persons in constituency 50 were dismissed for non-compliance with the requirements of Article 26 of the Law of Ukraine “On Elections of People’s Deputies,” as they were members of district election commission No 50, and nominated to precinct commissions. It should be noted that the legislation stipulates that nomination packages shall include the attached consents from persons nominated to the precinct election commission to participate in the work of the election commission on behalf of the relevant nominating entity. According to the notes to Article 158-3 of the Criminal Code, concents of persons to participate in the work of election commissions shall be referred to election documentation. In accordance with Part 2 of Article 158-3 of the Criminal Code, forgery, illegal production, use or storage of illegally produced election documents shall be punishable by imprisonment. Therefore, the applications of the same persons referring themselves to different nominating entities may indicate the documents’ forgery. However, it requires a larger evidence base and a law enforcement response. Due to the lack of time, DEC No 50 (that received the largest number of such candidates) was not finding out the actual affiliation of their consent forms, and rejected all candidates.

A total of 3,379 members were included in the precinct commissions. 1,544 people are represented in the commissions of constituency No 87, and 1,835 people are in the commissions of constituency No 50. There are no risks of understaffing of precinct commissions in the constituencies. As little as some 30% of commissions in Ivano-Frankivsk region were formed in the minimum composition; as to the candidates nominated upon request of DEC chairman, 51 people were included, which is 3% of the total number of commission members. In accordance with the election legislation, the commissions shall be replenished upon the proposal of the chairperson, in case of the shortfall of candidates submitted by the nominating entities from the minimum required composition. Precinct election commissions of small polling stations shall be formed of 10 to 14 people, medium scale commissions – 12 to 16 people, and large commissions – 14 to 18 people. OPORA observers have noted that constituency No 87 did not have any problems with search and enrolment upon request of the DEC chairperson.

In contrast to Ivano-Frankivsk region, the process of forming polling stations in Donetsk region had the opposite situation. The number of submissions was sufficient to form more than the minimum required number of commissions, and the draw was held for half of the commissions. According to the Law, the drawing of candidates for PECs shall be conducted in a situation where the number of submitted candidates exceeds the maximum possible size of precinct commissions. The drawing procedure for the interim elections of people’s deputies is regulated by CEC Resolution No 88 of April, 25, 2013.

OPORA observers have noted that DEC No 50 initiated the drawing procedure in violation of the Resolution’s requirements since they misinterpreted its text. The commission intended to hold 56 separate draws for each commission by excluding spare candidates. However, during its work, the commission discovered its mistake and held one draw for all commissions, canceling the results of the previous rounds. A total of 108 people were rejected by the draw.

Upon establishing the PEC, candidates for people’s deputies Marusia Zvirobiy-Bilenka (constituency No 87) and Artem Marchevskyi (constituency No 50) declared their withdrawal to continue the election race. It shall be noted that in case of withdrawing the candidate’s registration in a one-member constituency, members of election commissions included upon the candidate’s submission shall continue their duties. The Law of Ukraine “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” does not provide for any automatic termination of duties of commission members who represent such candidate.  

Constituency No 50

The candidates to the precinct election commissions were submitted by 5 political parties and by 14 candidates for people’s candidates. The district election commission No 50 received 79 candidates submitted from different entities at the same time. Besides, there were 4 candidates submitted by one nominating entity simultaneously to different polling stations. All the 83 candidates submitted in parallel were rejected by the district election commission. Moreover, DEC No 50 rejected two candidates to PECs from the Servant of the People party since the submitted persons were members of the DEC No 50 – Olena Orlova and Eduard Doroshkevych. Moreover, according to the draw results, 108 persons were rejected. Therefore, the parties with no representatives in PECs are: Batkivshchyna AU (2 persons), Holos (6 persons), European Solidarity (7 persons), Opposition Platform – For Life (5 persons), Servant of the People (6 persons), Andriy Aksionov (15 persons), Andriy Bondarenko (12 persons), Yuliya Hakova (15 persons), Oleksandr Hruzdev (11 persons), Serhiy Zvaholskyi (8 persons), Yuliya Kuzmenko (16 persons), Artem Marchevskyi (16 persons), Andriy Masenets (13 persons), Nadiya Maslo (8 persons), Bohdan Myronenko (12 persons), Larysa Revva (11 persons), Oleksandr Tambulatov (14 persons), Yuriy Tretiak (12 persons), and Victoria Shylova (4 persons). 

After the draw and upon rejecting the candidates, the resulting largest representation in commissions went to the following parliamentary parties: “Holos,” “Batkivshchyna” AU, “Servant of the People,” “European Solidarity,” and the “Opposition Platform – For Life.” Of the candidates for peoples’ deputies, the highest number of representatives were attributed to: Nadiya Maslo (Opposition Bloc) – 103 persons, Oleksandr Hruzdev (self-nomination) – 101 persons, Serhiy Zvaholskyi (self-nomination) – 101 persons, and Larysa Revva (Batkivshchyna AU). The smallest number of representatives stand for Voctoria Shylova  (Derzhava) – 25 persons. According to the law, nominating entities received the proportional share of each category of executive positions, separately for small, mid-size, and big stations, depending on the number of included candidates from the entity, and in accordance with the total number of commission members. Setting the quota for executive positions for each nominating entity was implemented with the help of the Elections data analytics system, whereas the distribution of executive positions was administered in a manual mode, by DEC members during the meeting.    

Representation of electoral subjects in the membership of precinct election commissions

Constituency No 87

The right to delegate representatives to election commissions was used by 9 candidates and 4 parliamentary parties. The submissions were furnished in a proper manner, of all the submissions the district commission rejected one candidate only. The person was simultaneously included into submissions from a candidate Mykhaylo Noniak (self-nomination) and the “Holos” political party. Following the consultations with the CEC and the proxies of nominating entities, the district commission made a decision to include the candidate to PEC upon submission from the “Holos” party and reject the same candidacy from Mykhaylo Noniak.

Candidates to PEC were also submitted by the “Civic Position” political party. However, according to the law, the party is not a nominating entity to submit candidates to PECs at the interim elections. Therefore, on March, 12, the party withdrew their submission.

In general, the nominating entities have the proportional share in the membership of precinct election commissions since the number of candidates submitted was almost the same. Except for Mykhaylo Noniak who had 92 commission members, all other nominating entities have 117 or 116 representatives in commissions. Moreover, the district commission followed the legal requirement on representation of parties and candidates on executive positions. Each nominating entity has a proportional share for each category of executive positions, separately at small, mid-size, and big stations, depending on the number of included candidates form the nominating entity, and according to the total number of commission members. To identify the number of executive positions from each nominating entity, the district commission was using the Elections data analytics system.

Representation of electoral subjects in the membership of precinct election commissions

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