OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Mar 26, 2013) - Senator Raynell Andreychuk, head of Canada's independent election observation mission to the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary elections, today presented Mission Canada's final report to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Mission Canada concluded that Ukraine's parliamentary elections fell short of meeting international standards, and that these elections marked a regression in Ukraine's democratic development.
"Ukraine's parliamentary elections fell short of international standards," said Senator Andreychuk. "Not all our observations were negative, many were quite positive. In past elections Ukraine met international standards, yet it fell short of doing so in 2012."
The report indentifies serious shortcomings in the electoral environment and conduct of the vote, including:
- The imprisonment of leading opposition figures and challengers;
- Structural advantages and use of administrative resources by the governing party;
- Uneven and unfair application of electoral law;
- Lack of effective recourse and appeal for perceived electoral injustices;
- Questionable delineation of electoral districts;
- Insufficient financial reporting requirements to track the flow of money in campaigns;
- Lack of transparency in election administration, governance and operations;
- Inequitable access to representation;
- Harassment of opposition candidates and media;
- Increasing media concentration, and alliances between media conglomerates and political parties;
- Irregularities during the vote count and tabulation process.
Mission Canada's final report includes nineteen specific recommendations to help bolster Ukraine's electoral framework for future elections.
"The people of Ukraine cherish democracy," said Senator Andreychuk, noting the obvious desire among volunteers and grassroots party workers to organize and preside over orderly and functional polling stations on election day. "The people themselves stepped up - but they were let down by individuals in positions of authority, and the progressive erosion of administrative transparency, rule of law and media freedom."
"As a follow-up to this report, I look forward to additional conversations with Prime Minister Harper, and with ministers Baird and Fantino," she added.
The mission's final report had been held pending resolution of the question of five electoral districts where no result was declared by the Central Election Commission, due to very high levels of irregularities. The president of Ukraine signed a declaration on March 12 authorizing the holding of five by-elections; the date, however, has not yet been set.
Mission Canada - Ukraine Election 2012 deployed 422 short-term and 65 long-term observers across Ukraine to monitor the parliamentary elections. Its mandate was to observe, record, and report while in no way interfering or intervening in any electoral processes. Senator Andreychuk commended Canadian observers' perseverance, dedication and professional conduct.
Mission Canada was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The project was implemented by CANADEM, a non-government organization.
Mission Canada's final report can be found at www.canademmissions.ca/ukraine.