POLITICAL PROCESS AND GOVERNANCE

Interns of the 16th Parliamentary Internship Program.
Interns of the 16th Parliamentary Internship Program.
Olha Myrtsalo

THE CHALLENGE
Effective governance is critical to ensuring the delivery of basic government services and the fair, transparent and inclusive representation of citizen’s interests. Legislative action is needed to balance relations between institutions of governance and strengthen the political system. To further consolidate democratic advances, Ukraine needs a pluralistic and open party system accountable to citizens, a stable electoral system that allows for fair and competitive elections and an improved legislative process that includes civil society participation.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

  • To help democratic political parties better respond to their constituencies and represent constituent concerns.
  • To promote fair, transparent and competitive elections
  • To improve public representation in the legislative process.
  • To expand the role of citizens in monitoring the work of Parliament.
  • To increase the accountability and responsiveness of government officials in the Ukrainian Parliament and executive branch through effective monitoring, advocacy and watchdog initiatives.

OVERVIEW
USAID supports Ukraine in its continuing effort to consolidate democratic institutions and practices through more open elections and political processes. USAID is helping strengthen representative political parties and improve legislative policy development and civic monitoring of political processes. USAID assistance encourages active, informed citizen participation in the political process and more responsive politicians. USAID provided over $11 million in non-partisan assistance to help ensure that the May 2014 presidential election was fair, transparent and peaceful.

OUR PROGRAMS
Political Process and Electoral Reform Programs

USAID programs promote political processes that lead to more representative and accountable governance. These includes training for political party activists and locally elected officials to improve communication with civic groups and citizens and development of NGO-led advocacy campaigns on electoral and political process issues. USAID continues its support to various stakeholders in pushing forward electoral legislation reform and monitoring its implementation, while also strengthening the capacity of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to train election officials. For the 2014 early presidential and parliamentary elections, USAID assistance helped the CEC to ensure that commissioners at the territorial/district and precinct level served professionally and were well-informed of their duties and responsibilities.

Election Oversight
USAID programs monitor and report on the quality and competitiveness of key Ukrainian elections. They provide support for nationwide domestic long- and short-term observation teams and the conduct of critical parallel vote tabulations on election day. International experts provide assessments of the electoral environment and observe the conduct of elections, encouraging compliance with international standards and best practices. In the periods between elections, USAID’s local partners advocate for electoral reform, oversee its implementation and monitor the work of elected officials in order to increase their accountability.

Responsible, Accountable Democratic Assembly Program (RADA)
At the end of 2013, USAID initiated a new program to strengthen the legislature as a more accountable, representative and independent body, while increasing civic engagement in the legislative process. The program is helping improve the capacity for legislative and policy formulation within government institutions at the national and regional levels. Among other things, the new RADA program will support MPs to build constituent relations and improve their accountability and responsiveness. The programs also works to promote parliamentary independence and strengthen its oversight over the government.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
Political Processes

Through its partners, USAID has conducted trainings and seminars for political party activists, youth, women candidates, civil society leaders and local elected officials. Hundreds of local civic groups have received training in civic activism through NGO schools and over thousands of political party members have been trained through USAID support. The training increases the ability of parties to communicate with voters and civic groups, helps them develop issue-based platforms, and builds closer ties to citizens, while developing the skills of NGOs and activists for advocacy and engagement with political actors. USAID programs also promote women’s political participation and were instrumental in the establishment of a multi-faction parliamentary caucus focused on gender issues.

Legislative Strengthening
The RADA Program conducted trainings on public access to the legislative policy development processes and oversight mechanisms of elected officials to more than a hundred local NGOs in 20 oblasts of Ukraine. The training sessions provided practical information on access points to the lawmaking processes as well as covered monitoring and oversight tools for public activists. In 2014, through cooperation with the Interns League and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VRU), 99 interns from 21 regions of Ukraine were selected to serve in parliamentary committees and VRU Secretariat departments. In addition, RADA experts facilitated passage of two decentralization reform bills.

Election Monitoring
With USAID support, OPORA - nationally recognized as the leading election monitoring organization in Ukraine - played a critical role in public oversight of the 2012 Parliamentary elections and the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections. Hundreds of OPORA long-term observers helped deter fraud and informed the public and the international community about the pre-election environment across Ukraine, while thousands of observers monitored the conduct of the elections and vote count on election day. USAID-supported delegations from NDI and IRI reinforced these findings while drawing international attention to the conduct of the elections and their implications for Ukraine’s democratic development.

Through the Electoral Law Reform Program, IFES and its civil society partners made important contributions to improvements in election legislation and provided training on the new election laws to hundreds of key stakeholders, including journalists, political party members, civic activists and administrative judges. Working in concert with OSCE, IFES provided training coaches, materials and curricula to support the Central Election Commission in its efforts to train more than 300,000 district and precinct commissioners for the early presidential and Parliamentary elections. The program also helped local organizations develop methodologies for monitoring campaign spending and election commission performance.

Last updated: August 04, 2015

Share This Page