The first phase of local elections to UTCs was won by the party of power "BPP-Solidarity", which with the help of technological projects "Nash krai" (eng. Our Land), "Agrarian party" and non-affiliated candidates will form its majority in a significant number of territorial communities. With high probability, the government will use this winning scheme in the next parliamentary elections. Second place went to the party "Batkivshchyna", which was able to take a clear niche of opposition against Petro Poroshenko. "Batkivshchyna" received high scores due to the operation at the local level, pension and land reforms. However, against the background of the campaign of the Radical party of Liashko and the Opposition bloc, technological projects of power – "Nash krai" and "Agrarian party" significantly strengthened their positions, and maintaining the existing electoral dynamics they have a good chance to get into the new parliament.
The presidential administration went to the elections in several columns, which allowed the authorities to obtain very good results. In particular, in the East and South of Ukraine the project "Nash krai" showed very good results, which allowed to get ahead of the "Opposition bloc", which is in the midst of the organizational, ideological and financial crisis.
In turn, new technological power project "Agrarian party" was able to impose electoral fight to the "Batkivshchyna" and the Radical Party of Oleh Liashko, whose voters are concentrated in villages and small towns. "Agrarian party" also criticized land and pension reforms, which allowed it to compete for voters in the opposition. The presence of significant financial resources and strong human asset on the ground, allowed the "Agrarian party" to get the high fourth result.
Also, the presidential administration can record the considerable part of deputies-independent candidates who, after winning the election will come in the ruling party, or will support "BPP-Solidarity". According to the data of CEC, totally 269 of independents won in the elections.
Thus, the results of local elections in the UTCs a landslide victory was obtained by the ruling party "BPP Solidarity", which with the help of independents and party-affiliated projects received about 60% of the seats in local councils.
Second place was awarded to the party "Batkivshchyna", which at the local level had a successful campaign based on critics of land and pension reforms. It is also worth noting that the party "Batkivshchyna" has one of the strongest party and organizational structures in Ukraine, which for the past 15 years regularly took part in election campaigns. The analysis of the results of local elections shows that the best results belong to the party of Yulia Tymoshenko in the central and southern regions of Ukraine.
In these areas small and middle-sized farms are particularly developed, they very painfully react to the sale of land that is actively used by the party "Batkivshchyna" in the process of political competition.
The low results of the elections in the communities were also demonstrated by the Radical Party of Liashko, whose main competitors were "Batkivshchyna" and "Agrarian party".
Also the parliamentary party "Samopomich" and "People’s Front" also took part in the electoral process and they showed very weak results. This is due to the overall drop in ratings of the parties of Yatsenyuk and Sadovyi, as well as very weak institutional and party structures. It is interesting to note that "People’s Front" decided to keep distance from "BPP", and in some regions still prepared their candidates who won the election. The party "UKROP" demonstrated very good performance in its base region Volyn and Western Ukraine in general. The relative success of the party "UKROP" was due to the failure of another nationalist party "Svoboda", which failed to gain a foothold in Central Ukraine. Another player on the right wing – "National Corps" of Biletskyi did not participate in local elections. The new party of Valentyn Nalyvaichenko "Sparevedlyvist" (eng. Justice) appeared, and it received 20 seats in the community. The party of Nalyvaichenko was trying to push the maximum number of its candidates for all districts, thereby demonstrating its desire to participate in the next parliamentary elections.
One of the main trends of local elections is the participation in the election campaign of regional political projects, such as "Cherkashchany" or "United center", focused on the regional elite, with large resources and strong influence in the certain communities. Elections were held in conditions of mobilization of the administrative resource by the party authorities, who tried at the expense of independents to maximize their representation in the local councils. Local elections in the UTCs demonstrated the fact that political parties have actively fought for financial sponsors who are already eyeing the potential of successful projects that can be funded in the next parliamentary elections.
Thus, without exception, all political parties consider local elections to UTCs as a rehearsal before the parliamentary elections. The administration of the President can count on the continued electoral success through independent candidates, the project "Nash krai", which competes with the Opposition bloc and the "Agrarian party", which is seen in Bankova Str. as the main electoral opponent of Radial Party and the "Batkivshchyna." For Yulia Tymoshenko, this election showed that her party is perceived as one of the few opposition alternatives regarding the structure of government of Petro Poroshenko. The ideological and organizational weakness of the Opposition bloc, voter fatigue from radicals and nationalists opens for "Batkivshchyna" a good electoral prospects. The first results of elections in UTCs also showed the increased influence among nationalist voters of the party "UKROP" which gradually absorbs the people’s and organizational network of "Svoboda" and other right-wing parties.
ICPS will start accepting applications for participation in the project "Integration of Internally Displaced Persons into local communities. Workshop program in Germany"
The International Center for Policy Studies, in cooperation with Cultural Vistas (Germany) and with the support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is launching a project to support Ukrainian activists and experts involved in the integration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in local communities in Ukraine. To this end, 13 participants from different regions of Ukraine selected on a competitive basis will attend a six-day training course in Berlin where they will have the opportunity to improve skills of promoting the integration of IDP into local communities. Since 2015, Germany has been actively testing various initiatives to improve the integration of migrants, many of which are based on cooperation with local or regional organizations and the commitment of individuals to help migrants to adapt to new environments. At the same time, Germany faced a wave of negative perception, which caused many misunderstandings and cultural stereotypes. To minimize the effects of such trends, civil society representatives have been actively involved in Germany to support "newcomers to society", regardless of their native region of origin, political preferences, religion, etc. In order to exchange experience on this issue, ICPS initiates a training program for Ukrainian colleagues. Participants will be able to get acquainted with the experience of German colleagues in overcoming the perceptions, stereotypes, misunderstandings, and to develop their own decisions to improve the integration of IDP taking into account the Ukrainian context. In addition, the curriculum provides for the study of the German reunification model of 1990-1991 and the implementation of decisions aimed at bringing together two socio-political cultures (East and West Germany) of that time. Duration of studies in Germany: September 24-29, 2018 Upon returning to their communities in Ukraine, participants will have to organize events involving the IDP and representatives of host communities to discuss their experience and find ways to overcome the challenges faced by IDP in Ukraine. Language of training: English, German. Synchronous translation into Ukrainian is provided. Transportation costs as well as living expenses are covered by program sponsors. In order to participate in the project you need: - to be involved in the process of integration of the IDP in the local community; participate in projects aimed at improving the integration of the IDP; to be actively interested in and explore this issue; seek to improve the situation with the interaction of the IDP and host communities in Ukraine; - to speak English at the basic speaking level; - have a valid biometric passport. Otherwise - the participant will have to undergo the procedure for obtaining a German visa on his or her own; - send a resume and a motivational letter justifying your interest in the program and describing the relevant experience by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Limitations on participation in the program: civil servants and representatives of local authorities cannot be participants of the project. Deadline for submitting applications is June 4, 2018 If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us: +38 044 253 52 29; +38 068 194 94 04.
The Art of Tolerance: Blitz-Speeches on PeaceKeeping
The International Centre for Policy Studies, with the support of the United Nations Development Program in Ukraine, launched a "Reinventing Respect" communication campaign to support tolerance and mutual understanding in society a year ago. The main goal of the given project was to reduce the polarization of public opinion and strengthen dialogue among various social groups. Within the framework of the project the UNDP Ukraine Envoys for Tolerance and Promoting Tolerance and Mutual Understanding were chosen. In particular, in the form of a creative interview, Neil Walker - UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine and Vadym Chernysh - Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons identified the need for a dialogue in society as a necessary basis in the context of situation in Ukraine. ICPS expert Mykola Kapitonenko and ICPS Chief Advisor Vasyl Filipchuk consider trust as the main building material for creating tolerant society. In turn, Igor Kozlovsky noted that love is the main thing. "Everything begins with love, and very often the reason of all the problems is that people do not know how to love," says a religious scholar. Mykola Kapitonenko also noticed that the perception of diversity and respect for everyone is a sign of the most successful society. A panel with Envoys was extremely interesting, moderated by Pavel Vyshebaba and Lyubko Deresh. The writer and human rights defender Larisa Denisenko emphasized that the first step is to determine their own latent intolerance. The artist Alevtina Kakhidze shared the experience of communicating with people during trip to the East. The creative part was presented by readings of poetry by the People's Artist of Ukraine Natalia Sumska and singer Katya Chilly. There were also awarded winners of the creative works competition with a view to promoting the ideas of tolerance among students and digital-specialists.
Conference "Transparent and Financially Healthy Local Self-Government Bodies in Ukraine"
On March 20, 2018, there was held the final conference "Transparent and Financially Healthy Local Self-Government Bodies in Ukraine" under the joint project of ICPS and the Institute for Economic and Social Reforms in Slovakia (INEKO) with the financial support of the US Embassy in Ukraine. The first panel of the conference was devoted to the "Transparency of the 50 largest cities of Ukraine" (http://transparency.icps.com.ua/) rating, which aims to: - monitor the current level of transparency of the largest cities of Ukraine; - develop recommendations on transparent decision-making by local self-government bodies; - increase and promote transparency of municipalities. The rating is based on data obtained from the following sources: - Answers to the questionnaire sent by ICPS to 50 city councils; - Answers to requests for information sent by ICPS unofficially - through a third party ("secret client request"); - information which can be directly accessed on the official websites of the city councils. In this case, 77 parameters of transparency of each city were investigated. Based on the analysis of the results of the research, it can be noted that the overall average transparency of cities improved from 42.88% in 2016 to 51.38% in 2017. The highest dynamics of transparency was demonstrated by Mariupol, Kropyvnytsky, Uman, Brovary and Nikopol. Among the top three winners of the rating are Sumy, Lviv and Vinnytsa. The second panel of the conference was devoted to the project "Financial health of budgets of cities and regions of Ukraine" (http://budgets.icps.com.ua/), the purpose of which is: - raising public awareness about the budgets of municipalities and their rating; - support for solving current problems of financial management of budgets of cities and oblasts; - promotion of financial health of regions, cities and settlements. The analysis of the results shows that integrated indicator of the financial situation of the cities has improved by 0.4 points to 6.0 in comparison with the previous rating one of the main reasons of which was budget decentralization, which allowed local authorities to use financial resources more efficiently. The integrated indicator of the financial situation of the regions got worse by 0.5 points to 5.9 caused by an increase in the expenditure part of the budgets. The best dynamics was demonstrated by Vinnytsa, Zhytomyr, Kropyvnytsky. Among the regions, Lviv, Chernivtsi and Ternopil regions had the best progress. At the same time, the cities and regions which were among top 10 had almost not changed from 2013. It should be noted that in most cities and regions capital expenditures account for less than 20%. The first three cities-leaders are Odessa, Rivne and Poltava. Among the regions, Zaporizhzhya, Cherkasy ta Volyn regions took the first three places.
The Supervisory Board of the International Center for Policy Studies conducted a summing-up meeting
On December 28, the Supervisory Board of the International Center for Policy Studies conducted a summing-up meeting on finalizing this year's work and identifying strategic priorities for the future. During the welcoming remarks Victor Mashtabey, the Supervisory Board Chairman, noted the importance of holding Supervisory Board meetings in order to plan the efficient and coordinated work of the Center. Respectively, within the framework of the meeting was presented an overall ICPS report for 2017, during which 10 projects were implemented, 83 public events organized, which geographically covered 24 regions of Ukraine. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, member of the Supervisory Board Oleksandr Chalyi noted on the need for a clear position of the organization and key areas of activity, which would allow ICPS to take a decent place among the leading think tanks in Ukraine. The idea of creating a regional network for the spread of ideas as well as activities on the region level was also announced. Not of a less importance is the creation of a new fundraising strategy for the implementation of new projects. Strategic priorities are defined in the following: Strategic Priority No. 1 - Developing the institutional capacity of ICPS Enhancing Organizational Capacity Strengthening institutional sustainability External communications Strategic Priority No. 2 - Foreign Policy, Security and Peacebuilding Peaceful settlement European integration Strategic Priority No. 3 - Reforms implementation and “digitalization” of Ukraine Strategic priority №4 - Protection of human/civil rights and freedoms Strategic Priority No. 5 - Sustainable Economic Development Supervisory Board Member, Doctor of Historical Sciences Igor Zaloba suggested one of the possible vectors of the ICPS work to identify options for possible cooperation with active youth in the regions for the replication of successful cases. In its turn, Denis Prymaygi initiated a proposal to create new formats for ICPS analytical products, which would increase the number of those interested as well as potential stakeholders. Also, Supervisory Board members scheduled to hold a general ICPS meeting in April.
Concept of tolerance in the consciousness of the indigenous people of Crimea: parallels between the past and present
On December 11, 2017 at the Kherson State University was held a lecture by a well-known historian, publicist, TV presenter and UNDP Tolerance Envoy in Ukraine Gulnara Abdulayeva, within the communication campaign “Reinvent respect”. According to Gulnara Abuululaeva, in its broader sense, the concept of “tolerance“ means tolerance to the thoughts and actions of others, the ability to treat them understandingly. Gulnara said that tolerance is a rare personal feature, which means respect to the convictions of others. “Historically it became so that we are united with those, who share our beliefs, or with those, who speak the same language or share the same culture. At the same time, we are inclined to treat the others as “strangers” – those, who differ from us on biological, cultural or political levels. Despite the fact that the term and concept of tolerance appeared relatively recently, in the historical context, it has deep roots”, says Gulnara Abdulayeva. The event was organized by the International Center for Policy Studies (ICPS) with the support of the United Nations Development Program in Ukraine within the framework of Communication Campaign “Reinvent respect” to promote tolerance in society.