The Bureau of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe adopted, on 26 November, an information report on the remote observation procedure regarding the local elections held in Ukraine on 25 October 2020.
"This report acknowledges the extraordinary circumstances in which the elections were held, not only in view of the current pandemic, but also with regard to decentralisation and constitutional reform and the recent amendments to the Electoral Code of Ukraine that fundamentally changed the electoral system," stated Stewart Dickson (United Kingdom, ILDG), Spokesperson for the Observation of Local and Regional Elections and member of the Congress delegation.
"The delegation welcomed the fact that some of the long-standing Congress recommendations have been implemented by Ukraine before the October elections, notably voting rights of IDPs who were, for the first time, able to register to vote in constituencies of their current residence," Mr Dickson said, while regretting that few voters made use of this new provision. The report also highlights the low voter turnout, which may be explained by the sanitary situation related to COVID in general, and by lacking voter education and simple registration procedures with regards to IDPs and other mobile voters in particular.
"The delegation was particularly concerned about the situation of the independent candidates who were not allowed to self-nominate and run in municipalities of more than 10.000 inhabitants," the spokesperson underlined. "This runs counter to the principle that it should always be possible to nominate independent candidates," he said, calling on the Ukrainian authorities to scrutinise this provision before the next local elections.