Ukrainian voters still do not understand the changes made to the country’s electoral system before local elections on 25th October, leading to widespread confusion and a loss of enthusiasm. Many voters express a low level of trust in politicians, frustration with existing political forces, and a general feeling of hopelessness. For many in Ukraine, the sole reason to vote is to avoid their ballot paper being used fraudulently. These are the latest discoveries made by the Ukrainian civil society network OPORA, who conducted a series of focus groups with the Kyiv Institute of Sociology.
The focus groups, held at the beginning of September, reveal that voters do not understand the fundamental differences between the old and new voting systems, and that the language used in legislation is too complicated to adequately explain the changes made. OPORA also found that voters in Kyiv had a better grasp of the electoral system than voters in rural areas. Disenchantment with the political system means that, for some, casting a protest vote is a more honest way of participating in the election. For one voter, “Every year, the belief goes away, why? As well as our hope. Every year it goes away”.
The full report can be downloaded here.
EPD previously collaborated with OPORA to strengthen democratic institutions on the national level and provide a proper legislative base for the 2014 legislative elections in Ukraine. More about that project, its aims and outcomes can be found here.