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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.