Yesterday Ukraine successfully held their most democratic elections in the history of their young independence. Observers from around the globe dispersed throughout the country and reported overall success in the election of 450 new members to Ukraine's parliament. In the weeks leading up to the election, the recent change to election law and past issues of corruption were the topics of many debates. Coverage by the mainstream media today, unfortunately, seems biased towards part of a statement by one of the major observation groups, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), who sent 600 of 3,800 total observers for the election.
In their statement, OSCE claimed the elections "were characterized by the lack of a level playing field caused primarily by the abuse of administrative resources, lack of transparency of campaign and party financing and lack of balanced media coverage," which seems ironic considering how the media coverage has gone since they released their opinion. Taken apart, the issues found by OSCE mirror issues found in every election around the world. Certainly concerns of transparency and unbalanced media coverage are ones with which Americans can relate. OSCE goes on to write that "certain aspects of the pre-election period constituted a step backwards compared with recent national elections," which many in the media have seized on to describe the entire election. However, Reuters points out that OSCE was referring to the presidential election in 2010 which was met with approval by the West. Further, the report goes on to declare, "Election day was calm and peaceful overall. Voting and counting were assessed mostly positively." So the main goals of the election were declared to be successful even by the one organization many are quoting to say otherwise. In fact, the majority of observers agreed Ukraine's parliament election was a democratic victory.
French MP and former Minister, Thierry Mariani, observed and approved of the election.
Transparent ballot boxes, webcameras, live debates in front of million TV viewers. It is difficult for an election to be more transparent than that. This is the first time that I have seen such a transparent competition. These elections are a great success for Ukraine and a great success for democracy. Today Ukraine is a real European democracy. Collaboration between the EU and Ukraine is absolutely necessary. I hope this can lead to the signing of the Association Agreement. It’s in our mutual interest.
European Parliament member Daniel van der Stoep felt the election in Ukraine was better organized than some European elections. As for any minor concerns, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has said they will be taking all findings into account and working to continue improving the election process. The final results of the election will be available The Party of Regions is currently in the lead with 34.27% of the vote, followed by the United Opposition at 22.46%, the Communist Party with 14.73%, UDAR at 11.97%, and Svoboda with 8.68%. Only 60.17% of the votes have been counted. All exist polls show the Party of Regions continuing to hold the majority in Ukraine's parliament.