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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 14:59 GMT
Monitors criticise conduct of Ukraine poll

International election monitors say they believe Ukraine's presidential poll was not fully free and fair.

Ukrainian election officials install a ballot box in Lviv, western Ukraine
Ukrainian election officials setting up a ballot box

The Central Election Commission "displayed a lack of will to conduct a genuine democratic election" is how the main body co-ordinating international monitors put it on the day after the poll.

Below are the key findings of the International Election Observation Mission, which had 563 observers in Ukraine.

They were sent by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU parliament, the Council of Europe and Nato.

DURING THE CAMPAIGN

Favouring one candidate

"The abuse of state resources in favour of the prime minister demonstrated a widespread disregard for the fundamental distinction between the state and partisan political interests."

The state-funded media displayed "overt bias" which "continued to favour the prime minister in news presentation and coverage of the campaign".

Abuse of power

"Some citizens whose livelihood depends directly or indirectly upon the state were placed under duress to acquire and hand over to their superiors an absentee voting certificate".

"Observers reported that these documents were collected in the workplace on an organised basis."

Dubious data

The IEOM says the election was "compromised by significant shortcomings" including:

  • the inability of the local state executive to produce accurate voting lists
  • a lack of transparency in the tabulation of the first round results

  • the reluctance of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to grant relief on complaints, thus impeding legal redress

POLLING DAY

Intimidation

"Observers reported that...a significant number of polling stations commissions (PSC) members had been dismissed or ejected".

"Police were present in a majority of polling stations visited. In some instances unauthorised persons were interfering in or directing the process."

The IEOM reports that harassment was greater than it had been in the first round of voting the previous month, and worst in central and eastern Ukraine. These regions appear to be more strongly pro-government.

Extra votes

"A high number of votes - approximately 5% - were added to voter lists on election day. Almost all the added voters used absentee certificates."

Voters using absentee ballot certificates "were transported by bus in a number of regions".

Mystery votes

"Despite the suspiciously high turnout in some regions, overcrowding was reported by IEOM observers to be less of a problem in eastern regions than elsewhere."

The IEOM gives two examples of suspiciously high turnout. Both cities are in eastern Ukraine - 96.3% turnout in Donetsk and 88.4% in Lugansk.

"Far fewer voters were turned away from polling stations due to inaccuracies in the voter list during the second round than in the first round, but once again there was a regional variation, with fewer voters being turned away in the east".

VOTE COUNTING

Open to tampering

"Problems included lack of sufficient attention to ballot security and counting procedures. In almost half of polling stations, unauthorised persons were present, including police and local government officials."

"The last minute dismissals by Territorial Election Commissions (TECs) of hundreds of Polling Station Commissions appointed by the opposition in Kirovohrad, a key marginal region, and others in Donetsk, Zakarpattiya, Zaporizhia, Kyiv, Khmlenitsky, Odessa and Volyn, lessened transparency."

Map showing regional breakdown of official results




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