26.10.2015. Local elections: observation summary, OPORA

According to the preliminary findings of the OPORA, local elections were held with numerous violations of the electoral process organization procedure and international standards.

This includes: 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.

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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