Member of European Parliament Plenkoviс:
October 27, 2015.
The 25 October local elections in Ukraine were conducted “largely in line with the internationally recognised standards,” concluded MEP Andrej Plenkovic, Head of the EP Election Observation Delegation, invited by the Verkhovna Rada. The polling “was conducted in a calm and orderly manner” in the cities visited, EP observers said and stressed their confidence that all electoral process shortcomings identified by the OSCE/ODIHR long-term observation mission would be vigorously addressed.
On behalf of the Delegation, its Head Andreі Plenkoviс (EPP, HR), also Chairman of the Parliamentary Association Committee EU-Ukraine, issued the following statement:
"We are very pleased to be here, at the invitation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. This mission is another proof of the high priority the European Parliament attaches to Ukraine, as well of the importance of these elections for the consolidation of the Ukrainian democracy and the European path of the country.
In our view, the local elections in Ukraine were conducted largely in line with the internationally recognised standards. We must bear in mind the delicate political, economic, social, as well as humanitarian and security context. This entails the illegal annexation of Crimea and temporary occupation of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts by Russia-backed illegal armed groups, where elections could not be held, thus over 5 million Ukrainian citizens could not take part in the voting. The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) should be able to exercise their voting rights in their place of origin at upcoming elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and in a secure environment.
Following the Maidan revolution and the subsequent early presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014, the October local elections are yet another national poll in a new political landscape with heightened stakes due in particular to the ongoing decentralisation efforts.
The new legal framework for the local elections has been adopted only in July, and it was required by the authorities to adequately explain the new electoral system to the voters. The EP observers noted that the polling was conducted in a calm and orderly manner in the cities they visited. The Long Term Observation mission of the OSCE-ODIHR will provide a detailed assessment of the elections, including the difficulties encountered in Mariupol, Krasnoarmiysk and Svatovo. We are confident that all relevant actors will vigorously address the identified shortcomings in the electoral process and implement the key recommendations as suggested in the final report. We commend the efforts of the Ukrainian authorities, the representatives of political parties, the electoral commissions, representatives of the civil society and international organisations we met during our mission.
The European Parliament firmly supports Ukraine in the realisation of its ambitious reform agenda. We will closely oversee the implementation of the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area through the work of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee."
Note to editors:
The European Parliament sent a 7 Members delegation to observe the local elections in Ukraine on 25 October. Led by Andrej Plenkovic (EPP, HR), Chairman of the EP Delegation for Ukraine, it also comprised Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SE), Tonino Picula (S&D, HR), Clare Moody (S&D, UK), Jussi Halla-aho (ECR, FI), Kaja Kallas (ALDE, ES) and Miloslav Ransdorf (GUE, CZ). MEPs were deployed in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk on Election day. The delegation was part of the long-term OSCE/ODIHR observation mission.