The findings of the Congress Information report on the elections in Ukraine were presented by Stewart Dickson (United Kingdom, GILD-ILDG), Congress Spokesperson on the Observation of Local and Regional Elections, at the Forum “Efficient local government as a background of democratic and rule-of-law state” in Ukraine on 9 December 2020. “Local elections in Ukraine were held in extraordinary circumstances. Not only due to the ongoing pandemic, but also regarding the decentralisation and the constitutional reform and the recent amendments to the Electoral Code of Ukraine, which fundamentally changed the electoral system”, he underlined.
The Congress Spokesperson also noted that some of the long-standing Congress recommendations have been implemented by Ukraine, notably on voting rights of IDPs who were, for the first time, able to register to vote in constituencies of their current residence. “Regrettably, not many IDPs made use of this provision and further efforts need to be made for future elections”, commented Mr Dickson.
Other issues mentioned were the low turnout, mostly due to COVID-19 related health concerns, and the situation of independent candidates who were not allowed to self-nominate and run in municipalities of more than 10,000 inhabitants. This means that independent candidates, not affiliated with any party, were excluded in the larger municipalities, which plays against the principle of nomination of independent candidates.
Vitaliy Plukar, Deputy Chair of the Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine, emphasised that problematic issues require wide consultations to find out potential solutions and to improve legislative provisions of the Electoral Code of Ukraine.
The Forum was organised by Donetsk Oblast State Administration; Luhansk Oblast State Administration; the Parliamentary Committee on State Building, Local Governance, Regional and Urban Development; and the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine, with the support of the Council of Europe programme “Enhancing decentralisation and public administration reform in Ukraine” and the contribution of the following projects:
- “Strengthening democracy and building trust at local level in Ukraine”;
- Supporting the transparency, inclusiveness and integrity of electoral practice in Ukraine”;
- Internal Displacement in Ukraine: Building Solutions”;
- “Promoting social human rights as a key factor of sustainable democracy in Ukraine”.