Council of Europe Congress observes the local elections in Ukraine


Congress considers pre-term local elections in Ukraine as important step towards decentralization [26/05/2014]
A delegation from the Congress composed of 19 members representing 13 European countries was deployed in over 120 polling stations to observe the local elections simultaneously held with the presidential vote in Ukraine. “Our delegation was able to visit polling stations in three out of six regional centres, 11 towns of regional and district subordination, and we covered the vote for the Mayor in the entire capital city Kyiv” explained Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, presenting the preliminary conclusions together with Arnoldas Abramavicius (Lithuania, EPP), the spokesperson on this delegation for the EU Committee of the Regions. “We welcome the fact that the Ukrainian authorities took into consideration the recommendations made by our Congress in 2010, in particular: the changes of the voters' list in order to reduce possible fraud, the decisions of the election commissions in order to make them more democratic and transparent, the rights of domestic election observers who are allowed to challenge irregularities, and the direct election of the Mayor of Kyiv”, she said. “However, there is room for improvement with regard to the practical side of the election day and in particular the counting procedures. We also regretted that these pre-term local elections were held on the same day as the vote for the new President of Ukraine and were overshadowed by the national vote,” she added. “Despite the fragile political environment and the organisational problems, the Congress considers this vote as a positive test at local level”, she concluded. 
Congress observes pre-term local elections in Ukraine on 25 May [20/05/2014]
Following an invitation from the Ukrainian authorities, a delegation from the Congress observed the pre-term local elections held in that country on 25 May. The Congress delegation was be led by Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (SOC, Austria) and comprised 19 members, including 5 members of the European Union's Committee of the Regions. Nigel Mermagen (ILDG, United Kingdom) has been appointed rapporteur for this mission. On 22 and 23 May, the delegation met with representatives of the government, including Volodimir Groysman, Ukrainian Minister for regional development, construction, housing and municipal services, as well as representatives of the Central Electoral Commission. On polling day, nine teams were deployed in different oblasti (regions) of the country. On the fringes of these meetings, the Congress Rapporteur on Ukraine, Marc Cools, (ILDG, Belgium), held talks with Viacheslav Nehoda, Minister responsible for regional development, construction and municipal economy. These talks will launch the post-monitoring process, following the adoption of a recommendation on the situation of local and regional democracy in Ukraine by the Congress on October 2013. The Congress is also preparing a high-level political visit in Ukraine in the wake of the adoption of a declaration at its last session in March 2014, condemning the annexing of Crimea and offering its assistance in examining this matter.