“Elections have met democratic standard” – Ukrainian World Congress Observers

The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), in conjunction with the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, provided more than 330 elections observers for Ukraine’s early October 26 parliamentary elections. The organization observed the elections through the monitoring of polling stations, as well as meeting with NGO representatives, the Central Election Committee, politicians, officials, and the monitoring of media content. Despite isolated voting irregularities and complications, the UWC believes that the elections met international democratic standards. This was stated at Ukraine Crisis Media Center by Petro Sztyk, the UWC Third Vice President.

UWC observers were present in 27 electoral precincts in Ukraine, including three in the Donetsk region. The UWC monitored the elections and the overall campaign in the context of Ukraine’s commitment to international standards of democracy. This process included monitoring of the media campaign, closely watching for potential administrative interference, interviewing politicians and members of civil society, judging balanced coverage for candidates, and noting Ukraine’s ability to remedy potential obstacles.

The UWC noted several irregularities, but claimed that problems were isolated occurrences and not indicative of broader attempts to disrupt the vote or alter the outcomes of the election. Some of these infractions included a surplus or ballots at some locations and a dearth at others, as well as unlocked ballot boxes that might encourage ballot stuffing. Some administrative problems also included polling stations that were opened later than scheduled and lack of voting privacy at some locations. However, despite some problems UWC did not witness administrative abuse to alter election outcomes.

In a preliminary report, the UWC is ready to state that the early Ukrainian parliamentary elections met international standards for a free and fair election. “The preliminary assessment is that the elections have met international standards for the conduct of democratic elections,” stated Sztyk. After the completion of the election process, UWC will release their final report and findings.

Sztyk also noted important differences between the October 2012 parliamentary elections, which were held under then President Viktor Yanukovych, and the elections held in October 2014.

“In comparison to the 2012 elections, the most distinguishing feature is the feeling that the administrative resources of the country weren’t being used against the people,” he said.

The recent elections, in meeting democratic standards, are a step in the right direction for Ukraine’s commitment to democracy, he noted.

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