12th Ukraine Breakfast Debate – Monitoring Ukraine’s Presidential Elections: Chances and Challenges

Photo: Andrew J.Kurbiko (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Ukraine is in its “Super Election Year” 2019 with the presi­dential elections that took place in March and the parli­a­mentary elections coming up in autumn. The latest polls prior to the presi­dential elections indicated a run-off between three candi­dates — President Petro Poros­henko, the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymos­henko and the comedian and actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy.1 While most discus­sions moved around the question of ‘Who will make it to next round?’, Ukrainian and inter­na­tional electoral monitoring organi­sa­tions, pointed out to the opaque electoral campai­gning process and critical challenges, such as biased media reporting, voter bribery or even partisan election observers, for a guaranteed fair and democratic electoral process – proving once more that not only important who would win the race of becoming Ukraine’s next president, but also how fair and free this race of presi­dency had been. Therefore, we were excited to devote our Ukraine Breakfast Debate on 11 April 2019 to the topic “Monitoring Ukraine’s Presi­dential Elections: Chances and Challenges“. Together with the experi­enced election observers and experts Iryna Shvets, Civil Network OPORA Lviv and Anastasia Matvi­ienko, Odessa Regional Organi­zation of the All-Ukrainian NGO «Committee of Voters of Ukraine», we dived into the depth of Ukraine’s Presi­dential election process and addressed the following questions:

During our Breakfast Debate, our experts did not only answer these questions among many others, but the parti­ci­pants did also become active as “election observers” themselves. The event was therefore split in two parts: 1. the classical Ukraine Breakfast Debate and 2. the “Election Monitoring” Working Session.

This event was a joint venture of the IEP projects “Platform for Analytics and Inter­cul­tural Commu­ni­cation” (PAIC) and “Civic School for Sound EU Practice” (CiSEP). The project PAIC aims at promoting profes­sional expertise among Ukrainian think tanks, creating synergies between German and Ukrainian think tanks and trans­ferring knowledge about develop­ments in Ukraine to Germany. PAIC is conducted in close coope­ration with the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initia­tives Foundation (DIF, Kyiv) and the think tanks development and research initiative think twice UA (Kyiv) and is kindly supported by the Federal Foreign Office. The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change-makers in Ukraine. It creates a network of Association Agreement specia­lists with the common goal of enhancing Ukraine’s European integration. It is conducted in close coope­ration with the Civil Network OPORA & Odessa Regional Organi­zation of the All-Ukrainian NGO «Committee of Voters of Ukraine» and is supported by the Federal Foreign Office.


1 http://razumkov.org.ua/napriamky/sotsiologichni-doslidzhennia/riven-doviry-do-suspilnykh-instytutiv-ta-elektoralni-oriientatsii-gromadian-ukrainy‑2