KYIV, UKRAINE--(Marketwire - Oct. 29, 2012) - The Canadian election observation mission today presented its preliminary report on the chief findings upon closing of polls in the Ukraine 2012 Parliamentary elections.
Presenting the interim report, Head of Mission, Senator Raynell Andreychuk, noted that Mission Canada observers are still in the field observing the important tabulation process following the closing of the polls, and that sufficient information is not yet available to make definitive pronouncements on yesterday's vote.
"Based on observations to date, we can report that the execution of the October 28th election did see some irregularities in a number of areas which undermine a fully fair election. These irregularities, in and of themselves, do not necessarily impede a free and fair democratic expression of the will of the
Ukrainian people," said Sen. Andreychuk. "However, the environment in which these elections were held underscores the fact that Election Day is but one important piece of a larger process that includes legal and structural factors equally important to electoral fairness."
"A cumulative effect of multiple factors in the broader electoral process leads our mission to preliminarily conclude that Ukraine's parliamentary elections fell short of meeting international standards in some significant respects that must be noted and should be remedied," she continued.
Mission Canada's preliminary report identified a number of serious shortcomings in the Ukrainian electoral environment, including:
- The imprisonment of leading opposition figures and potential electoral challengers;
- Structural advantages for the governing party;
- Uneven and unfair application of aspects of electoral law;
- Lack of effective recourse and appeal for perceived injustices and protection of electoral rights;
- Questionable practices in the delineation of electoral districts;
- Use of administrative resources to assist the governing party;
- Insufficient financial reporting requirements to allow voters and civil society groups to follow the flow of money backing campaigns;
- Insufficient transparency in the election administration across levels;
- Inequitable access to representation on district and precinct electoral commissions;
- A troubling degree of recrimination against, and harassment of, opposition candidates;
- A troubling backslide in media freedom, coupled with increasing media concentration and media alliances with political parties; and
- Failure to bring electoral offenders to justice.
Mission Canada - Ukraine Elections 2012 deployed 422 short-term observers to every oblast and region in Ukraine to monitor the parliamentary elections. Sixty-five long-term observers had been deployed for three months, evaluating the context of the election, including the organization of electoral commissions, electoral law, freedom of press, and other factors that contribute to an open and transparent vote.
The mission's objective was to observe and report on whether the election result genuinely reflects the democratic expression of the voters of Ukraine. The Canadian observers sought to observe, record, and report while in no way interfering or intervening in any electoral processes.
A final report will be issued, including recommendations for the strengthening of the broader electoral framework, as well as civil society and a freer media.
Mission Canada was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The project was implemented by CANADEM, a non-government organization.
Preliminary report can be found at www.canademmissions.ca/ukraine.