CVU: On the results of long-term monitoring of the 31 October Local Elections
The Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] has issued a brief statement on the results of the first month of the election campaign.
- It notes that the first month passed in an atmosphere of fierce competition. Practice showed up failings of the electoral legislation which were interpreted by electoral commissions without consistency this leading to numerous political accusations and appeals to the courts.
- The territorial electoral commissions [TEC] were formed on time and in accordance with the provisions of the legislation on local elections. However the procedure for forming TEC, envisaged by law, led to a certain imbalance in the representation of political forces in the make up and leadership of the TEC. Although in the general number of commissions, equal representation of members of the government and opposition was observed, pro-government political parties in many regions received an advantage in the TEC leadership.
- Various political forces had different approaches to the process of putting forward candidates. Some held open conferences with announcements and invitations to the media which CVU considers positive practice. Most parties, however, carried out nominations in closed session. There was virtually no open discussion of candidates among rank and file members of the parties before or during the conferences.
- The process of putting forward candidates passed in a free atmosphere, the parties held their conferences without external interference. CVU must note a not entirely correct race by parties for the first positions on the ballot papers. This led to a tense atmosphere during submission of registration documents, intervention by the police, as well as irregularities by members of the TEC.
- CUV notes excessive nitpicking and an over-formalistic approach by the TEC to checking documents and registering participants in the election. Refusals to register candidates in the main concerned members of VO Svoboda, “Strong Ukraine”, Batkivshchyna, and the Front of Change. In some cases refusals to register candidates on formal grounds had covert political motives. At the same time CVU stresses that in many cases political parties and individual candidates did not behave in a responsible manner regarding the procedure for putting forward and properly preparing registration documents.
- CVU estimates that the number of refusals to register did not exceed 1% of the overall number of candidates put forward. CVU calls on the appeal bodies to pass justified decisions regarding rectification of the mistakes of TEC and provide the opportunity for those candidates turned out without good grounds to register.
- The most prominent cases were of refusals to register local branches of the Batkivshchyna Party, or to register what the leaders of this party say are candidates from illegitimate local branches. The situation was to a large extent provoked by internal conflicts within this political force and the charter failings of the party which were used by their political opponents. The local Departments of Justice used procedural formal niggles to drag out the process of re-registration which resulted in the central leadership of the Batkivshchyna party losing control over candidates to two regional councils and several local councils.
- CVU points in all regions without exception to the participation in the elections of representatives of the authorities and bodies of local self-government which often use their official position for campaigning for this or that political party. CVU calls on all officials to refrain from campaigning in working time or to take leave for the period of the election campaign.
- As the elections approach, there has been an increase in the number of cases of unfair competition, publication of commissioned material in the media and the use of “black PR” by election participants. In some cases CUV has recorded the use of criminal methods in the political struggle (attacks on the offices of political parties, threats to activists). CVU calls on the law enforcement bodies to react swiftly to all such cases and bring those responsible to answer.
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