Ukraine Vote Presents Crucial Test
The repeat runoff election to be held December 26 in Ukraine presents a crucial opportunity for Ukrainian authorities to respect the will of voters and ensure harmony and stability in the country, Freedom House said today.
Ukraine's new Central Election Commission (CEC) faces an extremely important and challenging task. It must organize and run the next round of voting in a transparent and open manner, offering solid and extensive explanations to voters on every step of the process.
In recent weeks, as a result of courageous civic activism, Ukraine's Supreme Court and its legislature have lived up to their responsibilities as defenders of democratic procedures. This provides a basis for hope that the Dec 26 elections will be free and fair and, unlike those of November 21, untainted by fraud.
Nevertheless, in preparing for the third round of voting, Ukrainian election officials, candidates, political parties, and nongovernmental groups of all political positions should undertake the following:
- Publicize recent changes to the country's electoral laws, especially those altering voting procedures, so that citizens are fully educated and aware of the new requirements;
- Train new members of Ukraine's electoral commissions. All commission members, new and experienced, must be well aware of and able to operate within new provisions of the electoral laws and changes to the voting procedures; and
- Release voting results promptly and transparently so as to ensure public confidence. Any delays should be explained, and the process should be open to the contending candidates and parties.
"An electoral process conducted in accordance with the law and run in a professional, open, and transparent manner will ensure the realization of the will of the voters," said Freedom House Executive Director Jennifer Windsor. "It will also contribute substantially to the reduction of political and social tensions in Ukraine."
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.