Ukraine's Election 2019: LIVE Updates

March 11, 2019
The first round of Ukraine's Presidential elections will take place on 31 March, while the second round is set for 21 April. This article is your go-to place for all election-related news.
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[22 March, 15:47] — The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) says it prevented a terrorist attack at the Industrialna subway station in Kharkiv. According to the organisation's statement, SBU operatives revealed that the Russian special services had recruited a local resident for $15000 to organize and carry out the terrorist attack ahead of elections.

[22 March, 14:44]over 100 thousand Ukrainians have already changed the place they will vote at, as their place of living did not coincide with their registration. This is a result of the simplification of the voting procedure which is a novelty of these elections caused by a big number of IDP who would have no possibility to vote in Crimea or non-govenment controlled areas of Donbas.

[22 March, 13:03] — Yuriy Boyko, the head of Opposition Block,does not exclude the possibility of joining forces with Yulia Tymoshenko if she "showed readiness for peace." He also added he would be ready to form a coalition "with everyone who would work on restoring peace in the country and protecting its economic interest."

[22 March, 11:06] — investigative journalists from Skhemy have proven that Yulia Tymoshenkohas visited interior ministry a lot in recent time to meet with Arsen Avakov, Ukraine's interior minister. At the same time, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko uses Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) in his favour, journalists say.

[21 March, 17:32] — With Ukraine preparing to elect its president in March and April, pro-Kremlin information sources persuade Ukrainian citizens that their vote will be falsified. Find more info in our latest #WordsAndWars digest:

[21 March, 16:22] — Olha Aivazovska, the coordinator of civil network OPORA, said that the pre-election period has marked the return of administrative ressource. Namely, "financial help" from the local government or monetisation of subsidies are being used in the way which could be seen as agitation for President Poroshenko. At the same time, Aivazovska also underlined that interior ministry is not a part of someone’s electoral campaign for the first time ever.

[21 March, 13:52] — Ukraine has spent 165 million UAH (6 million USD) to print 30 million ballots for the first round of presidential elections. This amount would be enough to cover 70 football fields or pave the way from Kyiv to Montevideo, Uruguay's capital.

[21 March, 11:52] — The first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections will take place in 10 days time. We have prepared a “survival guide” for you: here are 10 key things to know facing the first round:

[20 March, 15:15] — Christopher A. Hartwell writes in his column for The Washington Post that whoever will become Ukraine's next president, he/she is still facing the powerful currents of a too-powerful Rada, a recalcitrant judiciary, and a state with far too much power over the economy. "The next president will have to build up parliamentary support for reform but also must focus on limiting the power of government at all levels. If Ukraine can increase its move toward decentralization, removing power from Kiev, it may not actually matter who the next president is. And Ukraine can begin the process of revitalization that it has only previewed since Maidan," Hartwell writes.

[20 March, 14:17] — Yulia Tymoshenko stressed she did not beleive in Minsk Agreements since the day they were signed. Tymoshenko also noted that those who gave up on Crimea in 2014 will be on trial for state treason.

[20 March, 12:38] — the newest poll results have been published by Social Monitoring centre and A. Yaremenko Ukrainian Centre for Sociologic Studies! According to the poll, 29,4% of those who have already chosen their candidate and will vote support Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 17,2% — Yulia Tymoshenko 14,9% — Petro Poroshenko. 10,7% would vote for Anatoliy Hrytsenko, 10,4% for Yuriy Boyko. Zelenskiy would beat any rival in second round, poll shows.

[20 March, 11:27] — The Central Election Commission has altered the number of ballot papers it has allocated for the first round of the upcoming March 31 presidential election, increasing the number of first-round ballots by more than a quarter of a million compared to the second round, scheduled for April 21. The Newsroom Telegram channel and the Nashi Hroshi anti-corruption watchdog, citing their sources, attributed the change to a possible attempt by the commission to stuff extra ballots in favor of President Petro Poroshenko in the first round. Kostyantyn Khivrenko, a spokesman for the Central Election Commission, denied the accusations.

[19 March, 19:17] — Ukraine's Central Election Commission registered 44 candidates for presidential elections and only 4 of them are women. This has been the largest number of women candidates for presidential elections in independent Ukraine since 1991. Who are they? We explain this in our latest article:

[19 March, 16:07] — According to Seatarget poll, Yuriy Boyko, former Party of Regions member and the head of Opposition Bloc, leads in Donbas. Of those who have already chosen their candidate, 43% would vote for Boiko in Luhansk region, 35,3% — in Donetsk region. Volodymyr Zelenskiy is second in Donbas — he is supported by 25,2% and 26,1% accordingly.

[19 March, 12:48] — The most remote voting station will be set up in Antarctica, at "Academic Vernadskyi" research station which is 15 thousand kilometers away from Kyiv.

[19 March, 11:08]139 Ukrainian NGOs registered as observers for the upcoming elections. This is the biggest number ever in the history of Ukrainian elections.

[18 March, 18:26] — Ukrainian law enforcement services have already received 3305 addresses on election-related violations. These we mostly concerning illegal agitation (1860 addresses), bribing of voters (449), hooliganism (246) та damage to property (887).

[18 March, 14:54] — President Petro Poroshenko said in the interview with a TV channel that there is no more important task for Ukraine than to ensure the restoration of its territorial integrity. "Ukraine will never resort to any bargaining, or behind-the-scenes agreements. And Crimea will be returned to Ukraine. We will do our best to ensure that this is done as soon as possible, immediately after the presidential elections,"* Poroshenko argued.

[18 March, 13:50]Focus magazine has studied the secret of Volodymyr Zelenskiy's success. According to the article, people do not care about his experience, political programme or foreign policy views. Those who support him merely see Zelenskiy as new face, a man who challenges an old and corrupt system.

[18 March, 12:10] — Serhiy Taruta and Yulia Tymoshenko have signed a memorandum on cooperation in the upcoming elections. No wonder — they both are allegedly supported by Rinat Akhmetov, the richest person in Ukraine. Here are our articles on Taruta and Tymoshenko:

[15 March, 15:10] — Yevhen Radchenko, deputy head of the Central Electoral Commission, said there will be no video surveillance at the polling stations on 31 March, as it is nor foreseen by the law. He also reminded that Ukraine used to spend 1 billion hryvnias to facilitate video surveillance, but it did not prove to be effective.

[15 March, 12:37] — Ukraine's interior ministry urged local officials not to issue financial assistance to the population before elections in order to avoid unwanted influence. Ivan Varchenko, an advisor to the interior minister, said that the law does not regulate financial assistance, but urged to consider the ethical side. "It [social assistance from local officials before elections] creates an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion... Citizens could receive financial assistance after the elections," he said.

[15 March, 12:37] — Yuriy Boyko claimed that he would cancel reforms of healthcare, education and pension system if he became president. Boyko is sure that these reforms vere unsuccessful and are being used to cover up corruption of the current government.

[15 March, 11:44] — International media seem to be astonished by the fact that Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian, leads the polls. Here's another article on this phenomenon — this time in The Economist. “People want to show the authorities the middle finger, and he is playing the role of this middle finger,” says Volodymyr Fesenko, a political analyst, as quoted in the article.

[14 March, 15:56] — "Vote, we will cover you," a project organised by Ukrainian soldiers fighting in Donbas, veterans and Ukraine's defence ministy, was presented in Kyiv today. Organisers aim to remind Ukrainians that "elections are also a war front" — and people should participate by voting for country's future.

[14 March, 13:58] — Ukrainian elections made it into Bloomberg. "Faced with familiar candidates who seem to offer more of the same—the near-billionaire incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, and former prime minister and onetime natural-gas mogul Yulia Tymoshenko—voters appear to be turning to the absurd. Television comic Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose show Servant of the People takes aim at a hated elite, is leading opinion polls ahead of the March 31 election," article reads.

[14 March, 10:36]Texty.org.ua have updated their "Poll of polls" — they regularly take all reliable polls and plot aggregated voter's intentions on interactive chart. According to it, Volodymyr Zelenskiy is in the lead, while Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko go hand in hand.

[13 March, 16:15] — another day, another poll results! This one has been held by SOCIS. According to the poll, 27,7% of those who have already chosen their candidate and will vote support Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 19,6% — Petro Poroshenko, 14,8% — Yulia Tymoshenko. 9,6% would vote for Yuriy Boyko, 8,2% for Anatoliy Hrytsenko, 4,8% for Oleh Liashko.

[13 March, 12:26] — Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has released a report on civic space and fundamental freedoms ahead of the presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Ukraine in 2019-2020. It provides a brief overview of developments that have affected the enjoyment of freedoms of opinion and expression, association, peaceful assembly, religion or belief, and political rights.

[13 March, 11:04] — Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been deported from Ukraine, announced he will return to Kyiv on 1 April, the day after the first round of the presidential elections. Saakashvili is sure Poroshenko will not make it into the second round, and therefore "no border guard will follow Poroshenko's order not to let me in Ukraine."

[12 March, 17:54] — On 7 March, Kyiv Post has published a profile on Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which is definitely worth reading.

[12 March, 17:41] — President Poroshenko appointed a new Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. The man is colonel Serhiy Kryvonos who used to run for president, but withdrew his candidacy and supported Poroshenko. Ukraine's President underlined that Kryvonos "has zero tolerance towards corruption."

[12 March, 16:42] — Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine's Prosecutor General, reminded the members of the electoral committees (who vill be issuing ballots and counting votes) about criminal responsibility for issuing a ballot to the wrong person. He also underlined that Ukraine's Prosecutor General's office and interior ministry will be cross-referincing the electoral lists and lists of issued ballots.

[12 March, 13:08] — Petro Poroshenko Bloc demands from Yulia Tymoshenko to go public about her connection with Ihor Kolomoyskiy, Ukrainian oligarch. According to Interfax-Ukrayina news agency, Artur Herasymov, the head of Petro Poroshenko Bloc in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, has presented the recording of a recent conversation between Tymoshenko and Kolomoyskiy which concerned elections.

[12 March, 12:05] — Anatoliy Hrytsenko demands resignation of SBU (Ukraine's security service) head in connection to his failed meeting with voters in Mariupol, Donetsk region. The meeting should have taken place on 13 March, but Hrytsenko had to cancel it due to SBU increasing the security level in the area which made large gatherings impossible. Hrytsenko claims this has been done on purpose.

[12 March, 10:50] — Arsen Avakov, Ukraine's interior minister, accused President Poroshenko of using budget money to "buy votes" of pensioners of Kyiv, Odesa and Kharkiv regions. According to Avakov, people mobilising voters for Poroshenko were offering pensioners "financial help" from the local government in exchange for their readiness to vote for Poroshenko.

[11 March, 18:12]Ukrainian Week has published a preview of the first round of presidential elections. "The battle among the top candidates and their support groups is seriously underway, scandals are catching everyone like water thrown from a bucket, and Temporary Investigative Commissions are trending again. Still, Ukraine is unlikely to see any major tectonic break in the political boardwalk. The best indicator of this is the way the Verkhovna Rada is playing dead in the face of this battle. For one thing, it’s already thinking of its own reincarnation and no one’s about to force the situation with the result of the presidential election so much in the air," article reads.

[11 March, 17:50] — Yulia Tymoshenko urged Petro Poroshenko to drop out from the presidential race due to the involvement of his close ally in the scandal at Ukroboronprom, an association of multi-product enterprises in various sectors of the defense industry of Ukraine. Previously Tymoshenko and her party, Batkivshchyna, tried to launch a process of Poroshenko's impeachment, but found no support.

[11 March, 15:31] — Ukraine's High Court has decided on 10 March that Petro Poroshenko's tour around Ukraine as President is not agitation and therefore is not forbidden. An objection against Poroshenko's tour was previously submitted by Anatoliy Hrytsenko, another presidential candidate.

[11 March, 13:40] — According to the research by Rating group, 83% of respondents will vote in Ukraine's presidential elections. However, only 18% have checked whether they are in electoral register. According to the study, 24,7% of those who have already chosen their candidate would vote for Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 18,3% for Yulia Tymoshenko, 16,8% for Petro Poroshenko. The leaders are followed by Anatoliy Hrytskenko (10,3%), Yuriy Boyko (9,9%), Oleh Liashko (5,7%).

UkraineWorld editorial team

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