ENEMO Observers note failings
Lack of clarity over voting outside polling stations could influence election results is the view expressed by observers from the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations [ENEMO] made up of 23 NGOs from 17 countries from Central and Eastern Europe, and the former USSR.
Among other problems, observers name delays with financing and problems with the voter lists.
Pluses and minuses
The lack of pressure and intimidation, the insignificant scope of use of administrative resources and free access of all candidates to the media are positive changes differentiating these presidential elections from those in 2004, the ENEMO observers believe.
At the same time the observers, who have been in Ukraine for a month, have noted such failings which could impact on the election outcome.
Among other traditional failings of Ukrainian elections are inaccuracies in the voter lists.
The first thing that the observers noted was the unending string of holidays which virtually paralyzed life in Ukraine for almost a month which, they believe, did not particularly promote an active election campaign.
However the greatest concerns, expressed by the Head of the Observer Mission, Taskin Rakhimbek, is lack of clarity over voting outside polling stations and abroad
“The Central Election Commission has still not managed to draw up clear procedures for voting outside polling stations, voting abroad and putting people’s names on the voter lists directly on Election Day, All of this opens the way for abuse and rigging. We are also concerned that faults in the voter lists can create the possibility of voting several times. The lack of clear explanations from the Central Election Commission regarding voting outside polling stations could place in question the very transparency of the election process since it was precisely this type of voting that was the source of the main rigging in 2004.”
The drawn-out holiday period and lack of budgetary funding in Ukraine have led to the appearance of yet another problem with the financing of the elections, including the activities of the electoral precincts.
Coordinator of Long-Term Observers in the West of Ukraine, Florin Poenaru, says that this explains the slow creation of the precincts. “The main problem during the pre-election period was delays in financing the district and precinct electoral commissions. That obvious caused delayed commencement of work in many precincts, as well as with looking for staff, especially for the precinct commissions. People naturally don’t agree to work, not knowing when – or if – they’ll be paid.”
While in the East of Ukraine, according to the Observer Coordinator for that region, Ali Aliev, a lot of problems are linked with the voter lists. “We are concerned over reports that on some voter lists, against some names there was an abbreviation from three letters indicating that the person would not come to vote. It is also rather surprising that some campaigners have not only asked voters whether they are planning to vote, but also for who. It is not clear how exactly this information will be used on Election Day.”
Meanwhile the issue of 2 thousand observers from Georgia, among them the Head of Georgia’s Central Election Commission and 20 parliamentarians, remains unresolved.
The Central Election Commission did not give accreditation to these observers. Although the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal has ordered the Commission to review this decision, the Central Election Commission has already prepared an appeal against this ruling, and therefore, according to the Secretary of the Commission Tetyana Lukash, the Commission does not plan to consider the issue again.
The observers in fact name the widespread involvement of courts in resolving electoral matters one of the negative features specifically of this electoral campaign.
In addition, they say, despite the fact that the campaign is transparent and free, many voters in Ukraine express disillusionment with politics and politicians, and democracy in general, which could also reflect on the results of the election and on voter turnout.