Despite the fact that elections cannot be held in Ukraine because of the full-scale invasion, electoral legislation needs to be changed and harmonized in accordance with the standards of the European Union. In particular, it concerns amendments to the Electoral Code, gender quotas, party financing, and professionalization of election administration bodies.

This topic was discussed on March 26, during a round table organized by the Civil Network OPORA jointly with the Verkhovna Rada Committee on State Power, Local Self-Government, Regional Development and Urban Planning. 

According to the Chair of the Board of OPORA, Olga Aivazovska, Ukraine is undergoing methodological assessment by the European Union for compliance with the Copenhagen Principles, in particular regarding the electoral process. 

“Those recommendations that have been provided to Ukraine for a long time, after each election cycle, need to be reviewed and updated, and implemented as a whole. Because without a wide range of solutions, Ukraine will not demonstrate progress in this part. In conditions of the ongoing war, we can not have any certain horizon of planning for the next election cycle. However, Ukraine is evaluated under the EU ⁠standards. When we cannot hold elections during the martial law regime, we must demonstrate a desire to implement those recommendations that are long overdue," she said. 


Chair of the Central Election Commission, Oleh Didenko, said:

“The European Commission’s report on Ukraine, as part of the EU enlargement package, says that despite the challenges of war and operations under emergency, the legislative framework has made significant progress towards the EU integration. At the same time, the reform of electoral legislation should continue, in accordance with the OSCE recommendations.”


Chair of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on the Organization of State Power, Local Self-Government, Regional Development and Urban Planning, Olena Shulyak, said that Ukraine should have held elections this year but because of the martial law they will not take place. 

“This does not prevent us and our partners, such as OPORA, from working out changes to the legislation. In 2020, we have already held elections under the new electoral system but we understand that the first post-war elections will require certain changes. Here, the main task is to conduct them in a democratic way. Our Committee is ready to implement all the changes that have been recommended to us, and develop high-quality legislation,” Shulyak said. 

Denys Kovryzhenko, Senior Legal Expert of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems IFES, presented the areas for changes in the proportional electoral system with open lists. He said that the discussion was under way to choose the system for post-war elections and whether to return to the old system during one time, to simplify the organization of voting. However, such a step may further “conserve” the existing system with open lists. 

Olha Kotsiuruba, Senior Legal Advisor of the Civil Network OPORA, presented amendments to the Electoral Code in terms of combating sexism and ensuring gender balance in collegial electoral bodies. She said that it was extremely positive that the Electoral Code set out gender quotas, which were now enforced, compared to 2014-2015, where this provision was interpreted by the courts as optional.

At the same time, MPs listed the risks of holding elections under the existing system due to the challenges associated with the departure of Ukrainian citizens abroad, the destruction of infrastructure and the occupation of part of the territory.

No less important is the issue of professionalization of election administration bodies, especially members of territorial election commissions, when there are problems with staff turnover, submission of candidates to commissions without their consent and non-fulfillment of their duties.

According to Serhii Saveliy, Senior Political and Legal Specialist of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, this problem can be partially solved: complicated procedure for replacing members of lower-level election commissions, mandatory training and certification of commission secretaries, and additional financial incentives.

As for the latter, Andrii Hevko, a member of the Central Election Commission, also emphasized on the factor of remuneration for members of the DECs and TECs claiming that it is critical to have it before demanding the good faith in delivering the duties from commissioners. 

Legal Advisor of the Civil Network OPORA, Pavlo Romaniuk, told about Model polling stations opened by OPORA and IFES at universities in Lviv and Kharkiv, saying that they can already be used for training electoral personnel.


Ihor Feshchenko, Political Integrity Program Manager at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems IFES, reminded that in 2025 it will have been 10 years since the introduction of reform of political financing. In addition, the submission of party financial reports has finally been resumed for the first time in 4 years. Now, voters finally have the opportunity to see how the 2020 local elections were financed.

Yuliia Zaltsberg, expert on political financing of Integrity UA NGO, highlighted the priorities and recommendations on challenges that were not resolved. In particular, she mentioned the improvement and harmonization of legislation on political parties regarding the financing of election funds, the submission of election reports, and government control.