Central Election Commission of Ukraine called the debates planned at Olympic National Sports Complex (Olympic Stadium) the form of the election campaigning, as Ukrinform reported, citing Yevhen Radchenko, the Chairman of the Commission.
The candidates for the presidency refer to the article of law “On elections of the President of Ukraine” during the discussion of the debates, however, the Commission notes that such form of the debates is not supposed. The article provides the procedure and terms of the holding of the election TV-debates at the national TV channel, which should be paid from the state budget.
“The Central Election Commission regulation on the debates is the article of Law #62 (On the elections of the President of Ukraine). The debates discussed by two candidates are a slightly different article of the law, in other words, the issue is about the debates, which regulated as the form of the election campaigning,” Yevhen Radchenko said.
He thinks that such type of the debates is regulated by Article 58 of the law as it describes the holding of the public debates, discussions and press conferences, which should be paid from the election funds of the candidates.
“Possibly, both candidates red the law badly. There are the election debates, the 62nd article of the law and regulation of the Central Election Commission concerns them. When one of the candidates calls another to the debates, obviously, the issue is about point 1, article 3 of the 58th law. There is the difference,” Radchenko stated.
Besides, the Central Election Commission reminded that any agitation is forbidden until the publishing of the final results of the first tour of the elections.
On April 3, Zelensky replied to the invitation and put forward his conditions. He wanted to hold debates at Olympic Stadium. Poroshenko’s team said “the President does not perform at stadiums”. A few hours later Poroshenko agreed to participate in the debates.
Let us recall that during the presidential campaign in 2014, Poroshenko himself refused from participating in the debates with another presidential aspirant Yuliya Tymoshenko, his key competitor. Poroshenko explained his unwillingness by the fact that Ukraine "is in a state of war. All people emphasize that the country needs unity. If we start quarreling now, our rivals would benefit from it."