MEPs note failings in the October 31 Elections
Observers from the European Parliament, MEPs Pawel Kowal and Jan Kozlowski, from different parties in Poland, have made public their report which points to a number of failings in Ukraine’s local elections.
The report states that before Election Day one could observe a number of failings which had a direct effect on the running of the elections and their outcome and which caused concern over the process of voting.
One of these flaws, they say, was the late adoption of a law on the elections which only came into force on 31 July, leaving little time for preparation, especially given that the law then had amendments made.
Another problem was the removal of the right of blocs of parties to put forward candidates which made it necessary to register as individual parties making up the bloc. The MEPs note that this applied mainly to the bloc of Julia Tymoshenko and that of Volodymyr Lytvyn.
The arrangement in the new law meant that the party numbers on the list depended on who first put forward their candidacy, leading to the ruling Party of the Regions receiving first position in 85% of the polling stations
“The fact that the documents of opposition parties were not accepted by electoral commissions until the Party of the Regions list had been approved fostered a situation whereby the ruling party received first place in the lists in 85% of the precincts”, the report reads.
(As reported here, OPORA network observers found that it was not even first come, first served, with the Party of the Regions candidates sometimes in first place even when another party registered first. They reported that sometimes other parties were sent away on flimsy pretexts so that they weren’t first – translator).
The report also notes that there was registration of party clones of “Batkivshchyna” [Tymoshenko’s party] in the Lviv and Kyiv regions where the precinct electoral commissions registered lists made up of people who are not members of the party.
“As a result Ms Tymoshenko took the decision to boycott the elections in the Lviv region”.
The MEPs also refer to reports of violations in the media stressing that they did not have sufficient means to check the reports in the cost of their observing.
Among these were:
the significant advantage held by members of the ruling party in precinct and territorial electoral commissions which could lead to decisions being taken by representatives of one party alone (Another delight of the new law was that decisions could be passed by THREE members of the commission - translator).;
the printing of ballot papers without the appropriate documents in Kharkiv;
several thousand illegal ballot papers discovered in the Khmelnytsky and Ivano-Frankivsk regions;
the ordering by the Odessa electoral commission of an excessive number of ballot papers.
The MEPs also point to reports on refusals to register candidates in the Crimea from the Svoboda Party, “Strong Ukraine” and the Communist Party;
the arrest of several candidates.
The local elections took place on 31 October. The European Parliament passed a decision to send observers only on 19 October.