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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Some updates from Ukraine’s parliamentary elections

Today, on 28 October 2012, Ukrainians voted for their next Parliament. The electoral process has started at 8 a.m. and lasted till 8 p.m. local time all over the territory of Ukraine. Ukrainians living abroad had the possibility to vote at the polling stations situated on the territory of Ukrainian embassies.

We would remind you that in this year Ukrainians choose the members of the future Parliament according to the mixed system which was implemented with the special law in this year. Ukrainian Parliament consists of 450 MPs, and this year half of the seats (225) will be chosen with the party lists and other half of the seats (also 225) will go to the majoritarian candidates from the single-mandate majoritarian districts. As for the majoritarian candidates, some of them represent different political parties running for the party lists and some of those candidates are independent and individual. 21 political parties are running for the seats in the future parliament. In order to win the seats in the parliament the party needs to receive at least 5% of the votes on the polling stations.

The special video system for observing the process of election was working on the polling stations, and every citizen of Ukraine could register on the special web-site where it was possible to follow the electoral process in any district and on any polling station. This initiative was estimated positive by the international observing groups as the step towards more transparent and fair process of elections. There were also several thousands of international and local observers registered for observing the electoral process.

Ukrainian ruling Party of Regions has already stated that the current parliamentary elections are the most fair, open, transparent and democratic in the whole history of Ukraine. Elena Bondarenko, one of the Party of Regions’ members, said today: “The Ukrainian electoral campaign 2012 showed that despite the negative forecasts and comments of the oppositional forces, which simply see that they are losing the elections, the electoral campaign was the most transparent and open for the whole period of Ukrainian history”.

The representative of the ruling party also added that the cameras on the polling stations and the numerous observers can guarantee the transparence of the electoral process. She stressed that there were more than 325 thousand registered observers: international, local and representatives of the political parties.

At the same time, added the politician, the ruling Party of Regions is in the hardest conditions during these elections as it is the ruling power which always experiences the higher demands. “More than 5,5 thousands of candidates have been fighting for the votes of Ukrainian citizens, and the concurrence was more than high. And our party, as the ruling one, was in extremely difficult conditions due to the higher demands and expectations to the ruling powers. It was like this in all the times and in all the countries. But our party did an excellent work and fulfilled its task during this elections, so we hope for our victory”, Mrs. Bondarenko said. The ruling Party of Regions has not recognized any fact of violations during the electoral process, according to the official statements.

Lady in Ukrainian traditional clothes at the polling station
Meanwhile the oppositional forces call these parliamentary elections the most dirty and unfair in Ukrainian history. The observers from the United Opposition Batkivshchyna (Homeland) along with many other oppositional observers reported thousands of violations during the day of voting. A lot of international observers and the representatives of different NGOs as well have also reported the numerous violations. It is also worth mentioning that the representatives of the electoral commissions from the pro-government parties refused to register and recognize a huge amount of those violations. The cases of attacking the observers and journalists trying to document and film those violations have been also reported. Thus some of the journalists and observers were beaten and their cameras were broken, according to the reports.

Among the numerous violations reported by the oppositional observers were the cases of the not existing voters (dead people, little children, the citizens officially living abroad since long time etc.); the opposite cases when the whole houses and streets were not included in the voters’ lists, so they couldn’t cast their ballots today; mass throw-in of the ballots; the cases of stealing the ballot boxes for the voting at home; mass transportation of the people to different polling stations, especially in the eastern and Southern regions; using the ink which disappears after 20 minutes; misusing of the stamp “Out of the electoral race” etc. There were also reports about the violations of the exit-polls, when the sociologists refused to add the votes of the people who voted for the oppositional parties.

Thus the representatives of the opposition declared that these elections have been conducted with the numerous violations and cannot be considered being the fair and transparent. One of the opposition’s candidates and the owner of the prominent Ukrainian independent TV channel TVi Mykola Knyazhytsky stated: “We can say now that the elections are conducted with the numerous and very serious violations, so we have all the reasons to expect that there will be violations during the counting of the votes”.

At the same time the oppositional candidate praised the average citizens of Ukraine who came today to the polling stations and made their choice. He expressed the hope that the representatives of the democratic forces will be able to win the majority of seats in the Parliament and there will be a chance to change the political landscape in the country giving Ukraine more possibilities and opportunities in attempt to build the democratic and developed country.

It is also worth mentioning that the process of the counting of the votes could be longer than it was usually, as the Central Electoral Commission is expected to receive the ballot boxes with the stamps not earlier than on Tuesday, 30 October, announced Andry Magera, representative of the CEC. Such a situation is connected to the more complicated system of counting the votes due to the newly implemented in Ukraine mixed system of voting which requires more time, said Mr. Magera.

These parliamentary elections are extremely important for Ukraine, because they will indicate the level of democracy and transparence in the country and will be watched closely by the international community. The transparence and fairness of the electoral process is among the main conditions for the future talks regarding the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and EU, for example. USA also declared that they could impose the sanctions on Ukraine in case the elections will not be democratic and legitimate.