Ukraine: a calm election day, some irregularities reported

A delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)1, invited by the Ukrainian authorities, was present in Ukraine during the repeat parliamentary elections on 15 December 2013. The delegation noted that election day was calm at the polling stations it visited. It noted also the well-ordered running of the election during the day. After the closing of the polling stations, cases of irregularities were reported by different observers.

During this visit, the delegation met the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, the leaders and representatives of parliamentary factions, the Chairman and members of the Central Election Commission, as well as representatives of civil society.

As for the campaign, the delegation was informed by its interlocutors of the misuse of administrative resources, of the increased role of financial resources because the campaign was so short, and of a significant number of so-called “technical candidates” who did not have any real intention of being elected.

In this regard, the PACE delegation pointed out that after the parliamentary elections on 28 October 2012, it had already expressed its concern at “the serious problems which are noted in election after election: misuse of administrative resources; and the presence of so-called ‘technical’ candidates and political parties”2. These phenomena are unhelpful in terms of building voter confidence in the electoral process.

As regards the election legislation, the Assembly delegation welcomes the improvements to the election legislation by the Verkhovna Rada adopted in November 2013 and encourages the authorities of Ukraine to continue this work in closer co-operation with the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission in order to finally adopt a unified code, before the next elections, as recommended by the Assembly in its Resolution 1862 (2012), as well as by the Venice Commission in its opinions in 2013.

The PACE delegation invites the authorities of Ukraine to reinforce their co-operation with the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in order to ensure greater transparency of financing of election campaigns and to ensure the functioning of an independent mechanism of supervision of the financing of political parties and election campaigns.

The delegation also noted the competent work of the Central Election Commission (CEC) in organising the elections in a relatively short time. The delegation regrets that the webcams installed in all polling stations to observe the voting process on 28 October 2012 were not re-used to reinforce the transparency of the repeat elections.

The delegation wishes to thank the Verkhovna Rada and the CEC of Ukraine for their excellent co-operation during the visit of the Parliamentary Assembly delegation.
----------
1. René Rouquet (France, SOC), head of the delegation; Samad Seyidov (Azerbaijan, EDG), member.
2. Doc. 13070, Observation of the parliamentary elections in Ukraine (28 October 2012)