KYIV, July 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Polling stations throughout Ukraine will be fitted with webcams ahead of parliamentary elections in October this year, in what the Foreign Ministry says is a "bold use of technology for the protection of democratic freedoms."
The cameras will be positioned to ensure privacy while voters exercise their democratic rights, but will capture all other processes at the polling station, from arrival and registration to depositing ballot papers and leaving.
They will also be used to monitor the counting process when the polling booths close.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Oleg Voloshyn said the use of webcams is part of a comprehensive reform of Ukraine's electoral system.
"Last year we introduced a new electoral law that was approved in parliament by both, the government and the opposition," he said, adding that the reforms were praised by the Council of Europe's Venice Commission, which acts as the Council's advisory body on constitutional matters.
"This latest innovation gives voters the confidence of knowing they are taking part in an open, fair and transparent process. It is a bold use of technology for the protection of democratic freedoms," Mr. Voloshyn said.
The new law allowing webcams was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) this week with the support of 259 deputies.
It specifies at least two web cameras at every polling station and the webcasting of the video via the internet, allowing even the most remote locations to be monitored in real time.
The video archive can then be used after the October 28th election to assess polling station officials and to improve performance at future elections.
"This is all about instilling confidence," Mr Voloshyn said.
"A voter can enter the local polling station knowing the entire operation is subject to scrutiny from afar, insuring free and fair elections."
Ukraine's reform-minded President Viktor Yanukovych said in February that he wants the upcoming parliamentary elections to "bring a new quality of deputies, political tolerance, serious and productive discussions about the future of our country."
This latest measure is aimed to re-assure more than 25 million voters about their contribution to that process.
As well as electoral reform Ukraine has also completed transformative economic and legal reforms, including a new criminal code, liberalising of gas storage and distribution, and concluding a customs union with the European Union.
SOURCE Ukraine Foreign Affairs