The EPP Group has sent 7 MEPs to observe the Ukrainian elections and supports the key findings of the ODIHR long term mission: "The people of Ukraine were deprived of a fully democratic election process."
An elections is always to be judged in its entirety, with respect to whether a level playing field is provided. Election day is only one element of such an assessment. This electoral process failed to provide a level playing field for the different political contestants in Ukraine, especially due to the misuse of administrative resources; unequal media access; and the biased composition especially of the district electoral committees. Moreover, selective justice excluded important political actors, Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko from standing as candidates in the elections.
One of the basic preconditions for a functioning democracy is freedom of media. In the run up to the elections there has been increased pressure on journalists and media. The example is the obstruction of the only nation-wide independent TV channel TVi from major cable networks, after having lost terrestrial frequencies already in 2010.
The reported practice of "envelope payments" to journalists in return for positive news coverage leaves viewers unable to distinguish between news coverage and paid-for editorials.
Secondly, the composition of the electoral committees has been carried out in a manipulative and non-transparent way. Political parties UDAR and SVOBODA, for example, which have together obtained over 25% of the votes, have not been represented in any of 225 district election committees (DEC).
One of the key democratic principles is freedom of standing as a candidate in the election. The imprisonment on political grounds of some of the key representatives of the opposition, which led to their inability to run as candidates, has violated a precondition for free and fair elections. Political non-criminal sentencing is in direct opposition to the European values.
The abuse of administrative resources is a subject of widespread allegations and has been observed or verified by long-term observers in more than 20 instances in a dozen oblasts. Most such cases have been in support of the Party of Regions.
Finally, as the tabulation process is still ongoing, it is essential to follow up on concrete allegations of manipulation of the results in fiercely contested constituencies.
The EPP Group continues its engagement in Ukraine and is strongly in favour of continuing cooperation with its political partners and supports an active political agenda of the EU with Ukraine.
Notes to Editors:
In the current Election Observation Mission to Ukraine, seven MEPs from the EPP Group observed the election in different regions of Ukraine: Michael Gahler (EOM Vice-Chair, Germany), Jacek Protasiewicz (EP Vice-President, Poland), Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (Sweden), Mário David (Portugal), Andrzej Grzyb (Poland), Jan Kozlowski (Poland), Joachim Zeller (Germany).