The final report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on the 28 October 2012 parliamentary elections in Ukraine concludes the elections were characterized by the lack of a level playing field, and recommends measures to improve the transparency and impartiality of the election process.
The report, issued on 3 January 2013, notes that the elections were marked by the abuse of state resources, lack of transparency of campaign and party financing and the lack of balanced media coverage.
While the electoral law adopted in November 2011 contains a number of improvements and could provide a sound foundation for the conduct of democratic elections if properly implemented, the report says that further improvements are required in order to fully comply with OSCE and other international commitments. Issues cited include the full enjoyment of candidacy rights, adequate campaign finance provisions and more effective sanctions for serious violations of the law.
The inability of main opposition leaders to stand as candidates, following their convictions in trials that were criticized by a number of European parliamentary institutions as unfair, negatively affected the election process and contradicts OSCE commitments, the report states.
To enhance the transparency, impartiality and independence of the work of election commissions, the report recommends that all sessions of election commissions should be public, with no meetings held behind closed doors.
It also concludes that institutional mechanisms could be strengthened for monitoring possible abuse of administrative resources for campaign purposes, including the use of official events for campaigning, and holding accountable those responsible.
Other recommendations address ensuring balanced media coverage of the elections, increasing the transparency and accountability of party and campaign financing and simplifying the process for resolving electoral disputes.