Ukraine`s Parliament Adopted Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Election of the President of Ukraine”

March 14, 2014

Members of Ukraine`s Parliament adopted the Law “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Election of the President of Ukraine” (regarding technical and legal improvement of the electoral process), which enacts changes to the rules for campaigning and media coverage of presidential elections.

Notably, the Election Law was supplemented witha section devoted to information support ofelections. Thereby a legislator has finally distinguished between the agitationand the ordinary informing of voters about the electoral process. Inaddition, the Law includes a definition of the pre-election agitation as theexercise of any activity to encourage voters to vote for or not to vote for acertain candidate for the President of Ukraine.

Similarly to the Law «Оn the Election of People’sDeputies», specific forms of agitation are provided for herein: convening of meetingswith citizens; holding of rallies, public debates and press conferences relatedto provisions of the election programs; publication in media of the politicaladvertisement, speeches, interviews, essays, films, audio and video clips, andother publications and communications; dissemination of electoral leafletsand other print agitation materials or print publications that contain agitationmaterials; placement of print agitation materials or political advertisement onoutdoor advertising displays; holding of concerts, performances, sport events,film screenings and television broadcasts or other public events with supportof a candidate; other forms.

The law also sets that the “Golos Ukrainy”and the “Uryadovy Kuryer” newspapers shall print the election programsof the candidates for President of Ukraine in a separate special editionthereof no later than twenty days before the voting day. The sequence ofplacing election programs of candidates in the relevant edition to bedetermined according to the sequence of candidates` registration at the CentralElection Commission of Ukraine (CEC).

Among key principles of information support of elections, it is stipulated that the information contained in the documents,submitted to the CEC for registration of a candidate, is considered to be open to the public. Thus, the CEC is obliges to publish on itswebsite a part of relevant data: surname, first and maiden name of a candidate,date of birth, citizenship with the period of residence in the territory ofUkraine, information on position, place of work, party affiliation, residence,subject that nominates a candidate.

The legislative changes relate also to the peculiaritiesof making public the information on results of the opinion polls: it isprohibited to publish or disseminate by other means the opinion polls relatedto elections during the last 2 days before the voting day. Previously, this bancovered 15 days before the voting day.

Finally, the Law also regulates in more detailthe rules for the election agitation, specifically, provisionof the airtime for this (Article 61) and the terms and conditions for TV debates (Article 62). Asindicated in the Law, only candidates for the President of Ukraine may orderthe political advertisement for its broadcasting during an election campaign by using the electionfunds of candidates for the post of the President of Ukraine. And, while such a politicaladvertising is beingaired, its customer name has to be demonstrated as well. For the TV debates, it provides forcontinuity of such a show for at least 60 minutes and the principle of payment basis of debates.  

Body of the Law can be found here (in Ukr):