KYIV, Ukraine, October 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The just-concluded October 28th parliamentary elections in Ukraine were "broadly in line with international democratic standards" according to Thierry Mariani, the former French minister who headed the election observation mission of the European Academy for Election Observation (EAEO).
"The Ukrainian parliamentary elections were held in compliance with democratic norms," he said at a press conference in Kiev on Monday.
"There were no reports of systematic violations," Mariani added.
The delegation of the European Academy for Election Observation is made up of 56 parliamentarians and experts from 14 European countries.
Some 36 members of the delegation are serving MPs or Senators, with a further 10 former members of parliament. Many of the observers have significant experience of elections observation as members and former members of organizations such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the OSCE-Parliamentary Assembly, the NATO-Assembly, and the WEU-Assembly.
Some 28 of the observers were members of the European People's Party (EPP), 6 from the Socialist Group (SOC), 6 from Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), 4 from the European Democrat Group (EDG), 4 from Unified European Left Group (UEL), and 8 technical experts.
Most international observers arrived last week. Therefore the observers said they could not comment on the campaign prior to the elections.
On election day, observers were deployed in 28 constituencies, observing election and counting proceedings in more than 300 polling stations in Kiev City, Kiev Region, Odessa, Lvov, Dnepropetrovsk, Lugansk, Poltava, Vinnitsa and Khmelnitsky. A summary of their report follows:
"The country was calm during election day, with only isolated instances of minor technical organisational problems. In some instances we observed overcrowded polling stations, which reflects genuine interest of the voters, but also indicates that in future elections this technical issue should be tackled. No systemic abuses were reported.
"Access to the polling stations was free and without limitations. However, access for older and disabled people was sometimes too difficult. It is encouraging to note that so many local observers were present in all polling stations.
"There were no significant problems with the identification of voters, suggesting that the work of the Central Election Commission had strengthened the voter files. There were enough ballots and the vote was secret.
"We welcome the presence of webcams allowing online real-time monitoring of the elections in almost all polling stations, and archived footage of the vote counts.
"The PECs appeared to be properly staffed and the volunteers well-trained.
"The voting procedures were carried out in a professional and well organized manner, helping to make these elections broadly in line with international standards. Therefore we can qualify proceedings on election day as free and fair.
"The vote counts we witnessed were open and transparent, with opposition party members and election observers given correct access and oversight.
"The implementation of the new Electoral Reform Law voted by the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) was an encouraging sign, especially since it was approved by both opposition and government members of parliament.
"We encourage the country to continue to strengthen democratic institutions on the European model, through constructive dialogue between the opposition and the ruling parties, and to further comply with OSCE and Council of Europe resolutions and commitments, in close cooperation with the Venice Commission.
"In summary, from our standpoint, this election qualifies as a good election, not perfect but clearly acceptable, democratic, and broadly in line with international standards."
SOURCE European Academy for Election Observation (EAEO)