According to the preliminary findings of the OPORA, local elections were held with numerous violations of the electoral process organization procedure and international standards including: instable electoral legislation and vague procedures, violation of equal opportunities principle and the principle of balanced proportion of mandates, low level of ballot papers security and violations which may be specified and voter bribery. Violations on 25 October were usually unsystematic and didn't have significant influence on election results or vote count process, and the campaign itself was quite competitive. OPORA calls on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to secure voting rights of Mariupol and Krasnoarmiisk citizens, where elections were disrupted on 25 October, and to amend the legislation to secure proper conditions for citizen participation in local self-government of these cities. OPORA calls on state authorities at all levels to restrain from using this disruption as grounds for restriction of local self-government.
The voter turnout in Ukraine was 46.5% as of 8 p.m., what is only 2.2% less than turnout in 2010 local elections. Olha AIVAZOVSKA, Electoral and Parliamentary Programs Coordinator at the Civil Network OPORA told about the most typical violations that occurred on the election day: “OPORA's observers detected minor violations at 24.1% polling stations in Ukraine (margin of error - 2.3%), and significant violations at 2.3% polling stations (margin of error - 1,4%). The most typical violations were: attempts to issue (receive) ballots without previous passport verification, violation of the voting secrecy – incidents were detenced at 17.7% of polling stations in Ukraine; violation of the voting secrecy – at 7.5% polling stations in Ukraine; incidents when voters took pictures of their ballots were detected only at 1.9% polling stations in Ukraine. However, the percentage of such violation at polling stations of Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk is much higher – 13.5% and 11.9% polling stations respectively.” However, ballot-box stuffing was detected at 1.5% polling stations in Ukraine.
As for voter turnout at elections, Analyst at the Civil Network OPORA Oleksandr Neberykut has stated: “The voter turnout in these elections is a little bit smaller (46.5%) than it was in 2010 local elections (48.7%). The difference, however, is only 2.2%. It should be mentioned that voter turnout was much higher every time elections to local self-government bodies coincided with parliamentary elections (75.6%in 1994, 70.8%in 1998, 69.3%in 2002, and 67.6%in 2006). As for the certain cities covered by OPORA's parallel vote tabulation, Odesa has 37.9% turnout, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk – 43,5%. To compare, Odesa had 45% voter turnout in 2010 local elections, Kharkiv – 39.9%, Dnipropetrovsk – 40.8%.”
Oleksandr Kliuzhev, Analyst at the Civil Network OPORA, has stated that disruption of elections in Mariupol and Krasnoarmiisk (Donetsk oblast) resulted from political schemes applied by electoral subjects, instead of using legal mechanisms established by Ukrainian legislation. “The situation similar to those is these cities has also occurred in other cities or regions of Ukraine facing issues with production of ballot papers, the process of their receiving from manufacturing enterprises as well as transportation to PECs. However, the cities of Mariupol and Krasnoarmiisk failed to resolve these problems in a legitimate way. Â As a results of acute confrontations between different electoral subjects, the functioning of territorial election commissions became absolutely unstable, proving that political parties have excessive influence on TEC members,”– stated the expert.
OPORA's summary is based on the results of long- and short-term observation, criteria and principles of democratic elections established by documents of the Venice Commission, Copenhagen Conference, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Final summary on regular local elections will be published by Civil Network OPORA only after territorial election commissions finish all the procedural activities and official election results are announced.
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Civil Network OPORA conducts citizen observation of local elections in Ukraine, scheduled for 25 October 2015. Civic monitoring conducted by OPORA - is a type of network activity, aimed at impartial assessment of the preparation and conduct of elections, as well as preventing electoral violations through comprehensive civic action. 144 long-term observers were deployed to all Ukrainian regions on 5 September, and 3000 short-term observers will join them on the election day. Follow the latest news on OPORA's website and Map of Violations “2015 Local Elections”. We recommend that every observer, journalist and active citizen downloads application “Local Elections” for Android