Four EU Delegation staff members* joined the 800-strong OSCE/ODIHR observation mission monitoring the Ukrainian parliamentary election. In its Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions, the OSCE/ODIHR mission said that “parliamentary elections were characterised by the lack of a level playing field.” The statement noted this was caused primarily by the “abuse of administrative resources, lack of transparency of campaign and party financing, and lack of balanced media coverage.”
A delegation of the European Parliament that joined the mission also “criticized preparations” for the election but “praised voters’ aspirations.”
“I was positively surprised that there was a high interest in the elections,” remarked Dominik Papenheim, sector manager of the EU Delegation and short-term observer of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission. “Representatives from different political parties were following the elections and they shared with us their observations about the election process,” he explained. Together with his observation partner from the French embassy, Papenheim visited polling stations in numerous cities and villages in the Kyiv region, including Bucha, Demydiv, Dymer, and Novi Petrivci.
As did most of the observers, his team gave voting and counting processes mostly positive reviews. This assessment was reflected in the OSCE/ODIHR official report, which said that the “election day was calm and peaceful,” and that “voting and counting were assessed mostly positively.” It added, however, that the tabulation process “was assessed negatively as it lacked transparency.”
“The counting of votes lasted until 4:30 a.m.,” Papenheim said of his experience at one polling station. “It was definitely tiresome for the election committee members, who needed to personally hand in their protocols to the district election committees for tabulation,” he adds.
The OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission assessed the entire election process in terms of its compliance with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections, as well as national legislation. Observers followed campaign activities, the work of the election administration and relevant state bodies, the implementation of the legislative framework, and the resolution of election disputes.
*Joanna Smigiel, Kairi Merilai, Karoly Soos and Dominik Pappenheim are the four EU Delegation staff members who participated in the observation mission.
For more information on Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine:
International Election Observation, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions: http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/96675
European Parliament press release: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/ukraine/press_corner/all_news/news/2012/2012_10_29_en.htm
Statement by Catherine Ashton and Štefan Füle: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/ukraine/press_corner/all_news/news/2012/2012_10_30_1_en.htm