Last Sunday Ukraine held parliamentary elections. CEC is still busy with counting votes and coming "wet" protocols and international observers keep following the situation...

This election campaign differs from those Ukraine had before. New law on elections has changed the very system of elections, and modern technologies have improved the monitoring process. Thus, every voting station was equipped with video cameras and Ukrainians have had a possibility to monitor the process in online regime from home PCs.

Moreover, international observers were supposed to get free of charge visa following simplified procedure.

ForUm has asked experts and politicians whether these innovations have helped to improve the organizational level of the elections:

Mykola Azarov, Prime Minister of Ukraine:

- The voting process took place at all voting stations without exceptions. The expression of will was not disrupted or complicated. Video surveillance worked continuously. We have managed to implement this project despite tight schedule and far from European conditions of connection quality and internet network. Video surveillance has become a strong preventive measure against violations and frauds, as well as a document database in case of doubts. 

Volodymyr Paniotto, director of Kyiv international institute of sociology:

- We have not held special research on this case. However, many violations have been registered in single-mandate constituencies. My colleagues-sociologists say there have been many dirty technologies used during the process. However, it is difficult to say whether it was the fault of poor organization, the law on elections or the behavior of candidates themselves. Once I had a meeting in Sweden, where there is one of the top three centers for electoral behavior study. It turned out that our biggest problem was to predict the behavior of voters who had not made up their mind on candidates. In our country the law says the ten days before the election day all publications of results of similar researches must stop. In fact, we must predict elections basing on surveys held one month before. Our consultant on exit poll Peter Link says that in Great Britain there is no time limit and research data can be published even on the election day. The Center in Sweden studies the expectations of the population and compares them with the actions of candidates. Moreover, they try to define what elements of the election system - the law or organization of elections - prevent deputies to meet voters' expectations. Shortcomings in the election process are a subject of study. We have received orders on such surveys, but mainly from foreign universities.

Oleksiy Haran, political expert:

- I am not sure what they mean by organizational process, because sometimes people separate such process as the day of elections, vote counting and pre-election campaign. As for the pre-election campaign, I think it was full of manipulations, administrative pressure, bribing and attempts to change the lists of voters. The day of elections passed calmly, but any voting stations still had problems. As for the vote counting, the process is dragging on. We see disorganization: election commissions cannot finish counting the results and queues create fertile ground for frauds.

Kost Bondarenko, chairman of the Institute of Ukrainian politics:

- I believe that the elections of this year have been organized properly and transparently, and the majority of foreign observers confirm it. They've noted insignificant violations at 2-6% of voting stations. Such small figures prove that we've shown proper level of organization and certain progress.

Serhiy Sobolev, BYuT member, leader of "Reforms and order" party:

- To answer your question it would be enough to visit one of the district election commissions, where we can observer total disorganization and falsifications. Such dirty elections do not meet any standard, especially those of the Council of Europe or OSCE. I have not heard even one positive comment from respectful observers. Diagnosis is clear - elections have not been democratic. Positive estimations could be given only by observers from North Korea, China and Russia.

Thierry Mariani, EU MP, chairman of the mission of the European Academy for Election Observation:

- The parliamentary elections in Ukraine were held in compliance with democratic norms. These elections deserve good grades. They were not perfect, but quite acceptable and generally in line with international standards. The Ukrainian elections were observed by 56 EU parliamentarians and experts from 14 European countries. 36 of them are the current MPs or senators.

Majority of the international observers arrived last week, so we cannot comment on the campaign. On the election day, observers worked in 28 constituencies, watching the election and counting processes at more than 300 polling stations in Kyiv, Kyiv region, Odesa, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk, Poltava, Vinnytsia and Khmelnitsky.

There were single cases of minor organizational problems. Access to polling stations was free and without restrictions. Sometimes entrance was inconvenient for older people. We were really surprised at the number of local observers. Number of ballots was sufficient, and the vote was secret. PECs were adequately staffed and volunteers - well-prepared. The counting process, which we are witnessing, was open and transparent with the correct access and control on the part of the opposition parties and observers.

Kazbek Taisayev, observer from the Russian Federation, MP of the North Ossetia-Alania Republic from the Communist party:

I can say that elections in Ukraine have been more transparent and clean than recent elections to Russian Duma. We speak about the process, not results. However, I am glad that our colleagues, Communispt party, have improved the results.

Oleh Zarubinski, MP from People's party, chairman of the parliamentary committee on human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations:

-None of the world countries has even had perfect elections, and our country is not the exception. Don't forget that Ukraine had 33.6 thousand of voting stations and people working at these stations have their likes and dislikes and different levels of preparation, which is bound to influence the organizational process. However, the elections went calmly and without mass violations. I mean the organization was serious and successful enough.

Among positive factors, I want to point out the high level of competitiveness, which shows pluralism, which in turn proves democracy. There were 10 candidates per place on average in every single-mandate constituency - almost like in a prestigious university.

Moreover, this time the information about social situation in the country was open and available for all. We remember that in autumn of 2009 the state statistics service was prohibited to publish data.

Serhiy Taran, political scientist, director of International institute of democracies:

- Immediately after the adoption of the new law on parliamentary elections, it was clear that the attitude towards the election process will be alert, and that even the perfect scenario will raise questions.

Among negative facts, I would point out the failure to stop bribing during the election campaign. The very organization of elections seemed OK, especially the election day itself. International observers had all reasons to announce the elections transparent and democratic. However, they changed their declarations when the vote counting process started. Even the authorities admit the facts of violations and frauds at single-mandate constituencies. It turns out that the elections seem to pass properly, but the whole picture is not that good.


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