Ukraine’s Second Round Presidential Election Generally in Accordance with International Standards

Ukraine Version

Kyiv, Ukraine – IRI’s election observation delegation found Ukraine’s February 7, 2010 second round presidential election to be generally in accordance with international standards. 

IRI found the campaign period between the first round election, held January 17, and the second round voting to be open and transparent, giving the two candidates the opportunity to debate issues of concern to voters.

IRI commends the roughly 500,000 citizens who served as members of the polling election commissions throughout Ukraine.  IRI also commends the voters of Ukraine who turned out in very high numbers in the second round voting.

Between the first and second round of voting, an amendment was adopted by the Ukrainian parliament on February 3, and signed into law on February 4, changing a portion of the election law.  The timing of the amendment created unfortunate controversy prior to the election.  However, IRI found that the changes did not have an appreciable affect or impact on the second round of voting. 

The late amendment to the election law does underscore the need for a comprehensive review of the legal framework, particularly regarding the second round, in order to remove ambiguity in the election law.  Such a review, IRI hopes, would eliminate the need for such last minute changes in future elections.

Similarly the decision of the Central Election Commission (CEC) to alter the rules regarding mobile ballot box voting on Election Day raised concerns as to whether the rules could be implemented consistently by polling station officials.  Any review of the election law should include the provisions on mobile voting, as IRI noted a high number of mobile ballot requests in some oblasts.

IRI applauds the CEC’s efforts to develop a reliable, centralized database of voters and urges electoral authorities to continue their attempts to improve the maintenance and the accuracy of the voter registry. 

IRI will issue a final, comprehensive report in the near future.

IRI’s international delegation included representatives from Europe and the United States.  Delegates monitored more than 100 polling stations in Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odesa and Zhytomyr oblasts, as well as the city of Kyiv.

A delegation sponsored by IRI was led by David Kramer, former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund.  Other delegates are Gahl Hodges Burt, IRI Board Member; Geoffrey Connor, attorney at Jackson Walker L.L.P; Nadia Diuk, Vice President, Programs for Europe and Eurasia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy; Paula Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs; Anita McBride, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush; Stephan Minikes, former Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna; Brad Smith, congressional staff member; and Grace Warnecke, former Country Director for Winrock International in Ukraine and a trustee of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.

IRI staff also served as observers and assisted in the mission.  IRI staff was led by Thomas Garrett, Vice President for Programs at IRI, Stephen B. Nix, Regional Director for IRI’s Eurasia division and Chris Holzen, Resident Country Director for IRI in Ukraine.

Since 1993, IRI has worked to help strengthen political parties and good governance in Ukraine at both national and local levels.  IRI also works with youth, women and civil society to increase their participation in the political process.  IRI monitored Ukraine’s 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2007 parliamentary elections.  In addition, IRI monitored the country’s 1994, 1999, 2004 and first round 2010 presidential elections. 

IRI has monitored more than 140 elections since 1983. 

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