CVU registers no major violations able to influence the election outcome

2,000 observers from the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] have watched over the voting and the vote count in the presidential elections. The Committee reports:

1.  The voting and vote count during the Presidential elections of 17 January 2010 passed in general without significant or systematic infringements which could make a noticeable impact on the outcome. There were, however, the traditional problems of Ukrainian elections:

·  spoiling on the eve of the voting of ballot papers by unlawfully stamping “gone”;

·  deliberately preventing a quorum on precinct electoral commissions;

·  infringements of the procedure and time for opening polling stations;

·  infringements of the rights of observers and members of the media with regard to their right to be present at the polling stations;

·  attempts to take ballot papers and the voting beyond the confines of the polling stations;

·  infringements of procedure for counting votes;

·  unpleasant incidents linked with burglaries of the premises of district electoral commissions, violence against journalists and observers, causing electricity cuts at polling stations during the vote count.

2.  The biggest problem during the Presidential elections was the low quality of the voter lists, and, linked to this, mass inclusion of people onto the voter lists at the decision of precinct electoral commissions. The numbers included varied from several to 100 voters at a polling station. CVU stresses that the procedure for such inclusion is unlawful, however states that according to its observers, in the vast majority of cases those included were people who really were entitled to vote at those polling stations, but whose names had for some reason not been added to the lists.

3.  The overall number of voters who voted according to place of residence on 17 January was on the whole in keeping with the average number of such voters, as compared with previous elections. However CVU recorded some cases where applications for home voting were rigged, as well as infringements during home voting.

4.  The Central Election Commission on Election Day on the whole coped with their duties regarding resolution of problem areas arising during the day. At the same time, the CEC paid insufficient attention to providing explanations to members of the commissions and citizens of procedural points regarding the organization of the voting. A separate problem was the participation in meetings of the CEC of a member who has already reached retirement age.

  On the basis of its observations, CVU recommends that:

1.  The Verkhovna Rada, before the second round of voting, resolve at legislative level the issue of voting procedure according to a voter’s place of residence and inclusion in the voter lists on Election Day;

2.  The Central Election Commission gives clear explanations to members of electoral commissions and voters regarding problems with application of legislation;

3.  Before the announcement of official results, that the issue of whether Anatoly Pysarenko can continue to be a member of the CEC be resolved. CVU calls on Mr Pysarenko to voluntarily refrain from taking part in the meeting where the results of the election will be established in order to not place the decision’s legitimacy in question;

4.  The bodies responsible for keeping the voter lists should fully analyze and include in the register all those voters who were on good grounds added to the voter lists on Election Day;

5.  Candidates who did not reach the second round refrain from appealing against the results of the elections since this could impact under the quality of preparation for the second round of voting.

6.  Candidates taking part in the second round should bear in mind the problems which arose during the first round of voting, ensure qualified representation on electoral commissions and refrain from scenarios of unlawful influence on the electoral process and distortion of the election results.

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