COMMITTEE OF VOTERS OF UKRAINE
FINAL MONITORING REPORT ON RESULTS OF 2012 PARLIAMENTARY
All-Ukrainian civic organisation Committee of voters of Ukraine (CVU) operates since 1994
and hold mon i t o r i n g of election campaigns i n Ukraine. CVU branches work i n all re g i ons o f
t h e countr y.
Committee of voters of Ukraine is one of t h e f o u n d i n g memb e rs of European Network o f
Election Monitor ing Organizations (ENEMO).
I n May-October 2012 CVU held long-ter m mon i t o r i n g of every stage of p r e pa ra t i on and
conduction of election campaign o n r e gu l a r elections of t h e people 's deputies of Ukraine i n all
t h e districts.
O n t h e Election Day of October 28 th 6,500 CVU observers worked o n election pre c inc t s.
The given r e p o r t was p r e pa r e d based o n re su l t s of l ong- and short ter m observation of t h e
Committee of voters of Ukraine.
The 2012 elections of the people's deputies of Ukraine as a whole with violations of fair and democratic elections' standards. They became the most problematic national elections since 2004. The most problematic stages of the election process were as follows:
pre-election campaigning, accompanied by bribery and use of administrative resource;
formation of election commissions; establishment of the voting results in single-mandate constituencies.
However, the problems were also recorded another stages of election process as well as before its official beginning.
The legal basis made it possible to conduct fair and transparent elections, though had a number of important drawbacks. The regular elections of the people's deputies of Ukraine were conducted again on the basis of a Law, passed by the parliament less then a year before elections. Ruling of some of the Law provisions unconstitutional,
adoption of a Law On Peculiarities of Ensuring Openness, Transparency and Democratic Elections of People's deputies of Ukraine on October 28, 2012 less then a month before election process beginning, as well as revision of some important election rules (such as provisions on lotting for the candidacies for district and precinct election commissions, procedures for change of voting place without change of voting address etc) did not contribute to the principle of election legislation stability.
The Law on Election of People's Deputies of Ukraine did not take into account the majority of recommendations by the Venice Commission, OSCE/ODIHR and other international organisations, done based on previous elections results, as well as analysis of Election of People's Deputies of Ukraine draft law on the stage of it's preparation by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.
In particular, recommendations that covered the following issues were not taken into account:
determination of criteria for election districts formation; limitation of possibilities for change of election commission member by other
persons from the same subject of election process; regulation of pre-election campaigning; rise of election campaign financing transparency level; ground for declaring voting and election results invalid.
Non-consideration of these recommendations, as well as other drawbacks and lacunas in the Law caused a number of problems in its application. Some of these problems are lack of some parties and candidates' representation in the election commissions, abuse of administrative resource, frequent changes in the composition of DEC and PEC, violations of voting results establishment in single-mandate districts.
The key role in administration of the election process was played by CEC, while other state institutions were rather passive in providing elections correspondence with international standards. However, collegial nature and transparency in the work of the Commission was weakened by the practice of preliminary discussions of issues in the competence of the Commission on closed meetings, as well as practice of CEC members' territorial specialisation for preparation of some issues for consideration of the Commission.
Local public authorities in many cases have done necessary steps or proper organisation of the election process, though on a nationwide scale activities of these bodies lacked systematic nature and single approach to the piorities for provision of proper election process organisation.
CVU records passivity of law-enforcement bodies (Ministry of Internal Affairs, Security Service of Ukraine, Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine) in reacting on information on violations, as well as instances of illegal interference in the election process, especially during the vote tabulation.
Formation of election districts was done without public consultations with potentially interested subjects. In some cases a principle of election districts continuity of boundaries was violated with no good reason, in some cases districts were formed without consideration of administrative territorial devision of Ukraine (in 6 cases even territories of village councils were divided between several districts), as well as places of national minorities' compact residence.
Configuration of some districts was favourable for some candidates' balloting, who started campaigning long before the election process beginning. Such situation casts doubt on the lack of political influence on the districts formation.
Considerable number of problems connected with formation of election precincts was caused by the drawbacks of the Law on Election of People's Deputies of Ukraine. The CEC has limited a list of special election precincts formed on permanent basis, against the Law. As a result of the Law drawbacks and an order of special election precincts formation on permanent basis in places of temporary voters' stay approved by CEC, in some places of citizens' temporary stay temporary precincts were not formed at all, while in some other places of temporary stay there were not enough reasons to form the precincts (in particular, in sanatoriums, children's hospitals etc). The list of special precincts on permanent basis was several times changed by CEC that may have complicated organisation of voting.
Nomination of candidates was not enough transparent and was followed by inter-party and inner party conflicts, positioning of politically affiliated candidates as independent.
Nomination of candidates-clones in single-mandate districts was rather wide spread, such candidates had to distract part of votes in support of main candidates. Registering of deputies was done by CEC in the time according to the Law on Election of People's Deputies of Ukraine. As a whole, no considerable violations of election legislation were recorded in the process of candidates' registration.
The main problem on the stage of candidates' registration was questionable reading of the Law on Election of People's Deputies of Ukraine in the part of the term of permanent residence on the territory of Ukraine as a ground for realisation of passive election right. The grounds were understood by CEC rather broadly, and there were many cases of denial in candidates' registration. However, potential election subjects had enough possibilities to protect their right for registration in court.
One of the important problem of 2012 parliamentary elections became removal of some opposition leader from participation in election contest. Cases of mass candidates' resignations, as well as one of the parties cancellation of a decision of its candidates nomination which took place in September- October 2012 had negative effect on the organisation of the elections. Cancellation of candidates' registration on the above mentioned grounds has led to the necessity to reprint election ballots for many districts, as well as use of Withdrawn stamp for introduction of changes to the ballot papers.
The Law and the CEC procedures drawbacks for lotting of the candidates to precinct and district commission has resulted in a number of problems in PEC and DEC formation, in particular excessive representation of not well known parties or parties which nominated candidates in several single-mandate districts only in the commissions, lack of representation in the commissions of parties and candidates with high chances to be elected, inclusion to the commissions of persons without proper experience in organisation of the election process, frequent changes in the composition of the commissions (including changes just before E-Day and after the voting).
Formation of PEC was accompanied with multiple cases of violations on purpose prevention of some electoral subjects from nomination of candidates to the PEC composition, violation of deadlines for lotting and PEC formation, conduction of lotting in
a way that made it possible to pick certain pre-selected candidates etc. Some of these problems were caused by the fact that CEC has changes the order of lotting on the PEC composition shortly before the lotting.
As a whole, proper conditions for work of DEC were provided almost in all regions, while in some cases commissions were not provided with proper premises, office equipment etc. At the same time, proper conditions for work of PEC were not provided in many cases.
Most DEC were transparent in their activities, while PEC demonstrated to some extent lower level of transparency. Both DEC and PEC were not effective enough in considering complaints of election process subjects. At the same time, non-effectiveness of complaints consideration was in many cases caused by inappropriate level of headquarters' lawyers, candidates, authorised persons and proxies to contest decisions, activities on inactivity regarding elections in the election commissions.
In some regions ofcial observers have faced problems with registration by DEC.
Among main problems connected with formation and correction of voter lists should be named low level of preliminary and corrected voter lists in many precincts, violation of deadlines for submission of preliminary voter lists from State Voter Register bodies to PEC, drawbacks in organisation of State Voter Register bodies work.
Change of the order of temporary change of voting place without change of voting address by CEC has prevented mass migration of voters on the E-Day. However, correspondence of the new order with the requirements of the Law on State Voter Register and Constitution of Ukraine is rather questionable.
The Committee of voters of Ukraine has revealed a number of important problems in the practice of pre-election campaigning by the election process subjects. The main problems are as following:
start of campaigning long before the election process beginning; ; lack of content of campaigning materials/political advertisement of many election
subjects; wide spread in mass media hidden political advertisements (so called jeans); frequent cases of prevention from campaigning (damage of advertisement
posters, refusal from providing premises for campaigning events); use of so called black PR technology; mass direct and indirect vote buying; active excessive use of administration resource and involvement od state officials
in campaigning activities.
CVU has also registered non-systematic but not sporadic cases of pressure on candidates and their business, which had some indicators of being politically motivated.
Voting as a whole was held with no serious violations, though in such violations were recorded in some districts.
The following problematic aspects of voting on certain polling stations should be emphasised:
wrong application of Withdrawn stamp on ballot papers; prevention of observers from their activities on some polling stations; lack of explanation of voting procedure; drawbacks in the organisation of video surveillance; violations in the order of passing ballot papers to voters; excessive number of voters in the exerpt from the voter list for voting at voter's
place of stay; campaigning on the E-Day.
CVU observers have also recorded not rare cases of vote buying and other violations (including use of so called merry-go-round, photographing of ballot papers in the booths for secret voting, use of vanishing writing ink for filling in ballot papers etc).
One of the most problematic stages of the election process of the regular elections of people's deputies of Ukraine was vote tabulation and establishment of voting results. Numerous abuses became one of the reasons is was impossible to establish verifiable results in five single-mandate districts, though a list of problematic single-mandate districts is not limited to the ones where it was impossible to establish election results.
In many cases PEC held vote tabulation with violation of the Law requirements, rules of election documentation transporting were also frequently not observed. Work of most PEC on receiving election documentation was not organised properly. In the process of election results establishment in some districts cases of incorrect data introduction to the Elections system, as well as selective re-tabulation of ballots, intentional damage of ballots, violence, threatening, interference in election commissions' work.
Institutions of state authories should scrupulously consider 2012 elections experience in order to eliminate drawbacks in election process organisation before conduction of repeat and interim elections of people's deputies of Ukraine, and also 2015 presidential elections. Based on results of corresponding analysis shortly after establishment of results of elections of people's deputies of Ukraine changes should be introduced to the law on elections of people's deputies of Ukraine. Persons, guilty for violation of election legislation should be brought to justice.
Before 2015 presidential elections conduction electoral legislation should be codified. Besides, election system should be revised for parliamentary elections with consideration of recommendations of Council of Europe and Venice Commission.
. To Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine:The following changes should be introduced to the Law On Elections of People's deputies of Ukraine or another law that would establish the order of people's deputies of Ukraine elections:
in the part of territorial organisation of elections:
- establish reasons for change of electoral districts boundaries in a period before the beginning of election process;- provide principle of election districts continuity of boundaries (with possible excuse of th...