Council of Europe Congress observes local elections in Ukraine


Congress calls on Ukraine to pursue the course of electoral reform and decentralisation [28/10/2015]
Improvements of the legal framework for local elections, measures to fight electoral fraud and corrupt practices and progress in terms of decentralisation and territorial-administrative reform were addressed by Congress’ Vice-President and Head of Delegation Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Austria, SOC), at the Kyiv press conference concluding the observation of the 2015 local elections. The Congress’ who deployed its largest ever mission to observe these elections – including also 12 members from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and four from the EU Committee of Regions, all in all 57 observers from 25 countries – visited on Sunday, 25 October, some 240 polling stations throughout the country, with the exception of those parts where elections could not be held. “These local elections were the starting point of decentralisation and territorial reform in Ukraine”, underlined MOSLER-TÖRNSTRÖM. “Despite difficult circumstances and some irregularities, they were organised in an overall satisfactory manner. For the next elections, we encourage the authorities to revise the existing legislation in order to better reflect the voters’ will at the grassroots level and, in particular, to allow for independent candidates in all races”, she concluded. 
Ukraine local elections generally respected democratic process, but additional efforts needed to enhance public confidence, international observers say [26/10/2015]
Ukraine’s local elections were competitive and well organized overall, and the campaign generally showed respect for the democratic process, international observers concluded in a statement issued today. Nevertheless, the complexity of the legal framework, the dominance of powerful economic groups, threats and physical attacks against candidates, and the fact that virtually all campaign coverage in the media was paid for all underscore the need for further reform. Additional efforts are needed to further enhance the integrity of and public confidence in the electoral process, the observers said. 
Enlarged Congress' delegation observes local elections in Ukraine [24/10/2015]
Findings of the Congress' pre-electoral visit were presented by Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Austria, SOC), Head of the Council of Europe's enlarged delegation to observe the local elections organised on 25 October 2015 in Ukraine, at a briefing session held on 23 October in Kyiv. For the first time, a Congress' delegation includes also members from the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, in addition to the members of the EU Committee of the Regions. 'This underlines the exceptional situation and the great attention paid by the international community to these elections,' stated Mrs Mosler-Törnström. In the center of different briefings over the day were the complexity of the new electoral law, concerns about vote buying and electoral fraud, the performance of the electoral administration at different levels of government and the shortcomings of the media landscape in Ukraine. In addition to an exchange of views with Ambassadors of several Council of Europe member states and an in-depth briefing with the core team of the OSCE-ODIHR Election Observation Mission, the enlarged delegation held meetings with representatives of domestic NGOs and media researchers.  
[19/10/2015]  Congress to observe local elections in Ukraine