2014

Repressions in Azerbaijan: civic observers unable to monitor municipal elections on 23 December 2014

 

Azerbaijani civic observer organization Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS) is concerned about the ongoing violations of human rights and the crackdown on civil society and opposition political parties. The systematic restriction of political freedoms, particularly, freedom of expression, assembly and association observed prior to the Municipal Elections to be held on 23 December 2014, does not allow for the establishment of democratic environment necessary for holding free and fair elections in Azerbaijan.

 

Therefore, EMDS will not carry out long-term and short-term observation of the 2014 Municipal Elections.

See the full EMDS statement here: PDF (EN)

EPDE expresses solidarity with political prisoners in Azerbaijan, Warsaw, 12 December 2014

 

Statement

on Human Rights in Azerbaijan

by European Platform for Democratic Elections

 

European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) observes with great concern that a number of states that are home to EPDE member organizations have not only regressed in the field of free and democratic elections, but also grossly violate human rights, continuing to harass civil society activists for their civic and human rights activities.

 

EPDE is deeply concerned about the systematic violation of social and political rights, politically-motivated persecution of democracy activists, community leaders, and human rights defenders, who are brought to criminal responsibility under fabricated evidence. Moreover, the rights of political prisoners are being grossly violated during imprisonment, with frequent incidence of torture and other inhuman treatment.

 

EPDE condemns the frivolous and unlawful criminal conviction of Anar Mammadli, Member of the Coordinating Council of the EPDE and Head of Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS, Azerbaijan), and the deputy head of EMDS, Bashir Suleymanli

 

EPDE also expresses its concern about the repression of independent monitoring organization and the mass arrests of prominent human rights defenders Leyla Yunus and Intigam Aliyev.

 

We regard such actions of Azerbaijani authorities as an act of retaliation against the prominent Azerbaijan organization for its independent, honest, and principled position in evaluating the presidential elections in Azerbaijan.

 

EPDE demands Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release all political prisoners and to allow for their full rehabilitation.

 

EPDE expresses solidarity with political prisoners in Azerbaijan, its fellow human rights defenders, and calls the governments of democratic states to follow the principles of universal human rights and the rule of democratic values in their contact with the Azerbaijani government.

 

We encourage continuing any form of pressure on the Azerbaijani government with an aim of ending repression against civil society and other actions restricting citizen rights.

 

This statement as PDF (EN)  |  PDF (RU)

Public discussion with civic observers from Ukraine, Moldova and Russia, Warsaw, 11 December, 19.00, Club Chmury

 

European Platform for Democratic Elections cordially invites to a public discussion on the recent parliamentary elections in Ukraine and Moldova.

 

The discussion will be held on 11 December 2014 at 19.00 hours

in Club CHMURY, St. 11 Listopada, House 22, Warsaw-Praga, Poland

 

Speakers:

Serhi Tkachenko, Comitee of Voters of Ukraine, Donetsk

Nicolae Panfil, Promo-LEX, Chisinau

Lilia Shibanova, GOLOS, Moscow.

 

The discussion will be held in Russian with Polish translation.

 

After the event there will be an opportunity for further talks and informal networking.

For interviews and all other inquiries please contact EPDE team: info@epde.org.

 

EPDE expert assessment on the parliamentary election in Moldova

 

European Platform for Democratic Elections

Expert assessment

Parliamentary Elections in Moldova on 30 November 2014

 

Introduction

On 27 November 2014, EPDE began its experts’ mission for the parliamentary election that took place in Moldova on 30 November 2014. The mission was composed of 17 EPDE representatives – members of citizens’ election observation organizations from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine – who observed the election day proceedings in approximately 100 polling stations in Chisinau and other regions of the country. Furthermore, EPDE conducted several meetings with representatives of the Central Election Commission, political stakeholders, and representatives of the civil society. Due to the limited observation period, this statement mainly focuses on some aspects of the election campaign, electoral legislation, and election day procedures and their implementations.

 

Full report as PFD (EN)  |  PDF (RO) PDF (RU)

 

Summary

The parliamentary election in Moldova took place in a competitive environment, with 19 parties, 1 electoral block and 4 independent candidates registered at the CEC. A scandal concerning cancelation of electoral registration of one of the parties with relatively high voter support overshadowed the final days of the campaign. There was an overall lack of trust in the public opinion surveys – there were no exit polls conducted. The voting process on election day happened in a calm atmosphere, and established procedures were largely followed. Some irregularities were observed during the election day, however, they did not influence the election results. The recently introduced electronic State Voter Register and the system to electronically deliver the voting results from the PEC to the CEC were not fully operational in all observed polling stations. The criteria for establishing polling station abroad were not clear and contested by some of EPDE respondents.

 

 

Elections environment was competitive. Initially there were 21 political parties, 1 electoral block and 4 independent candidates registered at the CEC. There are relatively high minimal thresholds to obtain seats in Moldovan parliament: 2% for independent candidates, 6% for political parties and 9-11% for electoral blocks of 2 and 3 or more political parties respectively.   

 

Although the campaign was overall calm, it was overshadowed by cancelation of the electoral registration of the “Patria” party for illegal donation from abroad.  This situation was extensively covered by the media. Registration cancelation on the last day of the campaign of a political entity, which, according to sociological studies, had all the chances to be elected to the new Parliament of Moldova, raises concerns that a formal legal excuse in this case was used to achieve political results.

 

In general, Moldovan election law gives a sufficient legal framework to conduct democratic elections. However, concerning the formation of election administration, it tends to favor parties represented in the parliament. For example, the law does not give a chance for independent candidates and parties that are not represented in the parliament to nominate members of the election commission.

 

Several EPDE respondents assessed control over the campaign expenditures of the election contestants as not sufficient. A large number of the election process participants did not publicize complete reports on election campaign financing. This does not allow to establish a clear picture of how all the candidates complied with the rules of financing.

 

In general, the campaign was active and visible. Open-air events sponsored by some of the electoral contestants took place in Chisinau in the last days of the election campaign. The state and private media largely covered those events. On election day, there were no exit polls published. All EPDE respondents reported overall lack of trust in the opinion surveys.

 

The recently introduced central electronic State Voter Register was not operational during the election day in all observed polling stations. This caused difficulties in the work of all the PECs and led to the de facto use of traditional forms of voter registration, criticized by national and international observers in the past. The PEC members reported long-lasting interruptions in the work of the system. Changes and updates to the voter lists were made on self-arranged, hand-written lists prepared by the PECs. CEC provided no clear instructions on how to proceed in case of disruption of the system’s functioning.

 

The law provides detailed procedures of including voters in supplementary voter lists and offers sufficient safeguards against multiple voting. On election day, voters can be added to the supplementary list after they provide evidence of being registered within the territory of respective precinct, or present an absentee ballot, if they are students and voters voting with mobile ballot box and in special PEC, i.e. in hospitals.

 

There were 25 polling stations where voters from Transnistria could cast their vote. However, access restrictions to those polling stations were observed this time just as during the previous election campaigns. 

 

The number of polling stations established abroad as well as the number of ballots issued for polling stations abroad were a matter of serious concern for several EPDE respondents. Crowds at the polling stations and protest rallies in the Russian Federation (Ramenskoe town), where only 5 polling stations had been established, were reported and largely covered by the Russian media.

 

In several cases, different PECs implemented procedures differently during the voting. This was obviously due to the insufficient preparation of the PEC members by the Center for Continuous Electoral Training. Filming and taking pictures were prohibited in many cases. Handling of protocols during the opening of the polling stations was carried out differently in various polling stations.

 

In the Soroka region, in polling stations with a large Roma population, voters entering polling stations received advice to vote for a particular party. There were persons controlling the “proper” voting and exercising pressure on voters in the vicinity of the polling stations.

 

Overall, there was high interest among the civil society groups in exercising civic control over the electoral process. There were civic observers present in all the visited polling stations.

 

Main Recommendations:

 

  1. To the parliament of Moldova

a)      Allow independent candidates and parties that are not in parliament but participate in elections, to delegate their representatives to the commissions at all levels and participate in a lottery for the seats in election commissions.

b)      Introduce amendments to the election law that would eliminate last minute changes in the list of candidates, and guarantee a voter sufficient time to form opinion about the electoral candidate.

 

2.  To the CEC of Moldova:

a)      Ensure effective work of the electronic system of the State Voter Register.

b)      Enhance control over the campaign expenditures of electoral contestants; establish a special body under the CEC, which would monitor campaign financing effectively, using available international practices.  

EPDE to send expert mission to Moldova

EPDE deploys expert mission to observe the parliamentary elections in Moldova scheduled for 30 November 2014. 16 representatives of EPDE member organizations from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Lithuania and Ukraine will observe the voting process in the area of the capital of Chisinau. Several meetings with election stakeholders are also planed. The experts will closely colaborate with the Moldovan EPDE member organization Promo-Lex.

 

The expert mission will issue a statement and present its findings during a debriefing to be held on 1 December at 13.00 at IPN press agency.

 

For more information please contact:

Nutsi Odisharia, ISFED (Georgia)

email: nodisharia@isfed.ge

mobil: +995 591 55 77 88

 

 

EPDE holds training for citizens observers in Armenia

 

From December 16 through December 18, EPDE holds a training for Armenian citizen election observer groups on coalition building and new methods of election observation. The training will take place in Tbilisi and will be hosted by the EPDE member ISFED (The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy). The training is part of EPDE's cooperation programme with the Council of Europe. Participation is by invitation only.

 

Presidential elections in Romania: EPDE experts' mission conclusions

 

The EPDE began its experts’ mission on 29 October 2014 for the presidential election that took place in Romania on 2 November 2014. The mission was composed of 14 EPDE representatives – members of citizens’ election observation organizations from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine – who observed the election day proceedings in approximately 100 polling stations in all six districts of Bucharest. Furthermore, EPDE conducted several meetings with the representative of the Permanent Electoral Authority, political stakeholders, and representatives of the civil society. Due to the limited observation period, this statement mainly focuses on some aspects of the election campaign, electoral legislation, and the election day procedures and their implementations.

 

The presidential election in Romania was conducted in a competitive environment, with 14 candidates registered for the first round. The final days of the election campaign were overshadowed by corruption scandals that dominated the public debate and media coverage. Despite the efforts of civil society groups, a formal TV debate between the candidates did not take place due to the main election competitors’ lack of willingness to participate. The voting process on election day took place in a calm atmosphere, and established procedures were largely followed. Widespread procedural shortcomings occurred during the counting process, but they did not influence the final results. A matter of concern on the part of the EPDE mission was the absence of sufficient safeguards against multiple voting, which created the potential for manipulation of votes.

 

In the final days leading up to the election, the electoral campaign was overshadowed by corruption scandals that were widely covered by the electronic media. The EPDE mission received information that some of the main candidates had effectively refused the proposition to organize a televised debate. Overall, there was a rather negative assessment among the civil society actors of the coverage of the election campaign by the state and private mass media and generally a low level of trust in the accuracy of opinion polls conducted by polling firms.

 

In general, the established election law provides an adequate framework for conducting democratic elections. However, two Urgent Ordinances issued by the government, head of which was one of the main candidates in the elections, came into force shortly before elections which is not in line with international standards on good electoral practice as established by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.

 

Urgent Ordinance no. 55/2014 (in effect since 2 September 2014) allowed all elected mayors, heads of county councils, and members of local and county councils to change their party affiliation by leaving the parties on whose ticket they were elected, in order to either join other parties or become independent. This declaration of party affiliation was to be made by approximately two weeks before the election day.  In the opinion of the EPDE experts, this Ordinance has the potential to have a strong influence on the political balance of the public administration, which is responsible for organizing the elections on the regional and local level.

 

In addition, Urgent Ordinance 45/2014 (in effect since 27 June 2014) introduced the possibility for voters to cast their ballots at any polling station outside their residence town or commune. This new regulation provides insufficient safeguards against multiple voting, as it is not possible to cross-check the high number of changes of voting place in a reasonable time frame, due to the lack of efficient verifying control mechanisms (i.e. an electronic register).

 

Due to the high number of changes of voting place (in some polling stations, more than 40% voters applied for voting outside their home polling stations), many observers noted that polling stations had run out of declaration forms by the second half of the election day. In some polling stations, declaration forms were granted only to some voters arbitrarily selected by the PEC heads, while other voters were sent to another polling station. Furthermore, nervous interventions of members of the higher-level election commission and long queues were observed during the second half of the election day. Due to this fact, at least in one observed case, approximately 50 voters could not enter the polling station before closing in order to exercise their voting rights (PEC 1205).

 

Some regulations in the electoral law favor parties represented in the parliament. For instance, the law does not grant the right to independent candidates to appoint the members of the electoral commissions and significantly affects the rights of parties not having their faction in the parliament to appoint their representatives at the electoral commissions, thus depriving them the right to receive the copies of the voting protocols. This inability ultimately limits the rights of independent candidates and candidates from the majority of non-parliamentary parties to contest the results.

 

While the election law provides opportunities for civil society organizations to observe elections, political parties and independent candidates are not entitled to deploy observers.The electoral law does not sufficiently prescribe the rights of observers, and there are no clear provisions concerning the rights of media representatives and international observers. The law stipulates that observers must be located in places designated by the chairman of the commission, but does not guarantee the possibility to observe the entire voting process directly. Furthermore, observers do not have the right to obtain a copy of the voting protocol. All these elements of the electoral law limit the possibility of collecting information for appealing the results of the elections in case of serious violations; there is no clear regulation on submitting complaints by the observers and the processing the complaints in the courts.

 

On election day, the actions of EPDE observers at the polling stations — the ability to enter and move freely in the polling venue, to film and take pictures — depended on the good will of the PEC head or its other members. Some of the interpreters of the EPDE teams were not allowed into the polling stations for voting and vote counting. While in general the reception of EPDE observers at the polling stations was good or very good, in some cases their accreditations were not accepted and/or they were deprived of the ability to collect public information. Both observers and members of the election commissions were often instructed or even intimidated by the representatives of the local administration who were present at the polling stations.

 

In all observed cases, the procedures of vote counting were insufficiently implemented and the transparency of the process was not guaranteed. In one case, additional accreditation for the observation of vote counting was required by the PEC head. Filming and taking pictures were prohibited in most cases.

 

Overall, there was a limited interest among the civil society groups to exercise the civic control over the electoral process. In most visited polling stations, civic observers were absent. In some cases observers allegedly representing non-governmental organizations were in the fact proxies of parties or candidates.

 

Recommendations:

-          For the Romanian authorities:

 

1. Adopt a unified election code, which would eliminate contradictions in laws and regulations regarding elections.

 

2. Change the law regarding observer rights:

  • Allow parties and candidates to send observers to the electoral commissions
  • Ensure the right of observers to make photos and videos without hindrances, provided the secrecy of the vote is secured
  • Ensure the right of observers to receive a copy of the voting results protocol.
  • Oblige electoral commission members to provide the observers with all the necessary information on the voting proceedings and let them visually inspect the documents.

 

3. Allow independent candidates and non-parliamentary parties taking part in the elections to send representatives to electoral commissions of all levels and to participate in the draw on the seat distribution in the commissions on equal terms.


4. Define procedures for voting and counting more clearly, with particular attention given to the training of members of the electoral commissions.

 

5. Introduce sufficient control mechanisms to avoid multiple voting

6. Improve quality of material equipment in polling stations:

  • Provide commissions with transparent boxes
  • Improve ballot protection
  • Place posters at the polling stations with information about the candidates.

 

-          For the international donor organizations:

 

7. Encourage and support the Romanian citizens’ election observation

First results of the election observation from CVU and OPORA

 

The overall conduct of the early Parliamentary elections has demonstrated a strengthened democracy in Ukraine. Local election observers have recognized Ukraine’s parliamentary elections as democratic, reported Berit Lindeman, the representative of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, during a press conference on October 27, 2014 at the International Media Center in Kyiv.

 

A total of 6,000 domestic observers attended elections proceedings on election day, in addition to 200 long-term observers who documented the course of the entire election campaign, reported Chairman of the Board of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) Oleksiy Koshel. “Observers identified more than 850 violations, Koshel noted”, but 85% were of a technical or procedural nature and did not have an impact on the outcome of the election. “About 90% of violations occurred due to the majoritarian, first-past-the-post component of the electoral system. OPORA and CVU agree that the electoral system should be amended to a proportional system.  

 

Most of the violations, as OPORA analyst Alexander Neberykut explained, were caused by the incompetence of election commission members rather than targeted attempts to falsify results. However numerous violations were also related to the frequent replacement of commission members, including on election day itself.

 

According to parallel vote tabulation, the final voter turnout is 51.2%. As Neberykut explained, the figure is “lower than in previous years, but not critical.”  There are several reasons for the lower turnout; one is the difficulty and inability of citizens in Donetsk and Lugansk regions to vote. We also need to be aware of the fact that previous turnout figures may have been inflated.

 

See summaries of the reports on voting day:

CVU (EN) | CVU (RU) | OPORA (EN) | OPORA (RU)

 

Results of Parallel Vote Tabulation by OPORA: CHART (EN)

 

CVU report on election dispute's resolution (summary): PDF (EN) | PDF (RU)

 

Reports on the conduct of election campaign:

CVU (EN) | CVU (RU) | OPORA (EN) | OPORA (RU)

5,5 years of prison for EPDE board member Anar Mammadli

Baku, 27th May 2014

On 26th May 2014, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes sentenced Anar Mammadli, chairman of EMDS (Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre) and EPDE board member to 5.5 years of imprisonment. His deputy Bashir Suleymanli was sentenced to 3,5 years and arrested in the courtroom. The head of the Public Association for International Cooperation of Volunteers Elnur Mammadov was given the same term with 2 years on probation.

They were found guilty under Articles 179.3.2 (appropriation in significant size), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship by an organized group), 213.1 (tax evasion), 308.2 (abuse of official authority with grave consequences) and 313 (service forgery) of the Criminal Code.

EPDE and its member organization EMDS consider the sentence groundless and unjust, and demand the remission of the sentence and immediate release of convicted in unfair trial Anar Mammadli, Bashir Suleymanli and Elnur Mammadov.

This trial is a reaction to EMDS' critical assessment of the Presidential elections in October 2013, an attempt to destroy independent and critical citizens’ election observation in Azerbaijan and a proof of political discrimination that dominates the judicial system of Azerbaijan.

The Republic of Azerbaijan has just taken the chairmanship of the council of ministers of the Council of Europe. We appeal to all member states of the Council of Europe to protest this unacceptable violation of the European Convention of Human Rights.

A criminal case was opened at the end of October 2013. Anar Mammadli was in pre-trial detention since 16 December 2013, and the other two were under house arrest. Amnesty International Organization considers Anar Mammadli to be a prisoner of conscience. A criminal case was opened at the end of October 2013 and the other two were under house arrest.

More information here

 

Chronicle of the arrest

3 July 2014

Press

gozetci.az. Anar Mammadli:“We will fight with an honor for election monitoring and freedom of association”

 

26 May 2014

 

Baku Court of Grave Crimes sentenced Anar Mammadli to 5.5 years of imprisonment. His deputy Bashir Suleymanli was sentenced to 3,5 years and arrested in the courtroom. Elnur Mammadov was given the same term with 2 years on probation.

 

Press

WorldBulletin Azerbaijan sentences election watchdog chief to jail

Reuters Azerbaijan sentences election watchdog chief to 5 and 1/2 years in jail

Monitoring.az PACE members demand liberation of anar Mammadli

UN Special Rapporteur UN Experts urge Azerbaijan to drop charges against human rights defenders

 

Human rights commissioner Nils Muižnieks expresses concerns about the arrest of Anar Mammadli under investigation for illegal business, tax evasion and abuse of power. Read more

 

21 April 2014

Baku Court of Grave Crimes dismissed on the first court hearing on April 21st the laywers' petitions to discontinue the criminal case against EPDE board member Anar Mammadli, his deputy Bashir Suleimanli and Elnur Mammadov, Director ICV. The petition to change the pre-trial detention of Anar Mammadli into house arrest was denied as well.

Please find a report written by Bashir Suleymanli (EMDS) here.

 

29 Januar 2014

 

PACE members demand liberation of Anar Mammadli. See Written declaration initiated by Swedish PACE member Tina Acketoft (ALDE): Free Azerbajan's Human Rights Defender and Election Observer Anar Mammadli

 

16 January 2014

 

Statement of Azebaijani President Ilham Aliyev at NATO press conference 15 January 2013 in Brussels, that no political prisoners exist in his country.

 

14 January 2014

 

Petition calling for the release of Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center Chairman Anar Mammadli.

 

6 January 2014

 

International Human Rights Protection Association Statement about arrest of Anar Mammadli.

 

24 December 2013

 

Statement of representatives of Azerbaijan’s civil society.

23 December 2013

 

Amnesty International Public Statement (Freedom of expression, NGOs and Civil Society, Anar Mammadli's case)

 

20 December 2013

 

PACE repporteurs concerned about pre-trial detention of Anar Mammadli (full report available here)

US ambassador to OSCE calls to release Anar Mammadli immediately

EU HR Ashton and Commissioner Füle: Statement on the detention of Mr Anar Mammadli, chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre in Azerbaijan

Civil society organisations of Azerbaijan: Joint Statemetnt of the Civil Societ of Azerbaijan

Head of Norwegian OSCE/PA delegation is concerned over the arrest of Anar Mammadli and fears it is politically motivated

 

19 December 2013


Canadas Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights: Canada Concerned About Detention of Election Monitoring NGO Chairman in Azerbaijan

 

18 December 2013

 

European Parliament:

Open letter to Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

 

Deomratic Institutions and Human Rights Social Union: The government started to arrest active members of civil society in Azerbaijan

Amnesty International: Detained election watchdog chief must get fair trial

OSCE PA: OSCE Parliamentary leaders disturbed by arrest of Azerbaijani election monitor

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum: Statement on arrest of Anar Mammadli

ENEMO: Letter of support to ENEMO member in Azerbaijan

Marieluise Beck (German Bundestag, Greens): Free immediately prominent human rights defender (DE)

Christopher Staesser (German Bundestag, Social-Democrats): Statement on detention of Anar Maammadli (DE)

US Embassy in Baku: Ambassador Morningstar's Statement on Detention of Anar Mammadli (source: http://azerbaijan.usembassy.gov/)

 

Press

NYT: Arrest of dissident overshadows UK-backed Azeri pipeline deal

Deutschlandradio: Azerbaijan: Kritik ist nicht erwünscht

Frontline Defenders: Human rights defender Mr Anar Mammadli in pre-trial detention for criminal charges

 

17 December 2013

Human Rights House: Head of independent election monitoring group must be released

Norwegian Helsinki Committee: NHC protests against arrest of independent election observer Anar Mammadli in Baku

OSCE/ODIHR expresses concern about the arrest of Mammadli

EPDE issues statement protesting the arrest of Mammadl

 

Press

Contact (AZ): It turnes out that Anar Mamedli rigged elections (last access: 18.12.13)

 

16 December 2013

Anar Mammadli imprisoned for a three months pre-trial detention through the Nasimin District Court in Baku. He faces criminal charges on tax evasion in significant amount, excess of official powers and engaging in illegal business activities and risks up to five years of prison.

Voting in Donbas: updated map

Updated map of open polling stations in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

 

In the Donetsk region, 1058 polling stations are working. That makes up 92,4% of pre-arranged 1145 polling stations. According to the CEC, only 1,416,142 voters out of 3,368,242 will have the opportunity to vote (42 /).

Shibanova: "We hope that ECHR can stop the destruction of the most powerful and independent NGOs in Russia"

 

Interview with Liliya Shibanova, former Executive Director of Golos 2001 -2012

 

epde: On 1 September 2014, the Moscow City Court found that there was no reason to treat GOLOS as a so-called “foreign agent”. What are the consequences of this decision?

Lilia Shibanova: This is a very important decision, which was made by ​the supervisory authority on the basis of an earlier decision of the Constitutional Court. It gives us the right to request exclusion of GOLOS from the list of “foreign agents”. But just one day after that, another court at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office again recognized the association as a “foreign agent”. Our lawyer described it as a legal anarchy.

 

What further legal action is planned in connection with this decision?

After the ruling of the Constitutional Court, the lower courts cannot make decisions contrary to the its decision. Now we have to submit another cassation appeal and challenge the new judgment again... And it’s just delaying the situation aiming at further keeping GOLOS on the list of “foreign agents”. However, the courts have no chance to decide differently than to exclude GOLOS from the “foreign agents” list.

 

What are the reasons than it was exactly during the local electionsthat the court made ​​the decision?

There was one desire – to prevent the independent observers to monitor the elections in 21 regions. We witnessed how much pressure was put on the court two days before voting.

 

Can the decision of the Moscow City Court be seen a signal of a “thaw” in government policies in relation to the NGOs?

No, it’s not a thaw. The Constitutional Court could simply not longer ignore the fact that the Association GOLOS was still labeled as a “foreign agent” despite the fact that it had not received any foreign funding within the last five years and even refused to receive a monetary award from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. This ridiculous situation resulted in acknowledgment by the CC the legal inconsistencies even in this shameful law.

This applies, however, only to the Association GOLOS. In all other cases, the CC has made ​​matters even worse – it even tightened the very wording of what is meant by the political activities of an organization. Now any foreign funding and virtually any civil activities that are disloyal to the government can be interpreted as political ones.

 

Why was the law on “foreign agents”adopted and how this law impacts the NGOs in Russia?

Initially, the Law was adopted solely against GOLOS, it was openly discussed in the State Duma when passing the bill. It was caused by a desire to discredit the statements made by GOLOS following election observation campaigns.

But after the law was passed, there was a wave of prosecutorial investigations, which were rather caused by a desire to “polish the apple”, especially against the background of a strong media campaign against the “foreign agents”.

As a result, harassment affected over 600 organizations.

Since none of them had voluntarily entered into the list of “foreign agents”, the government adopted a new amendment to the law – the Ministry of Justice received the right to forcibly include NGOs in the list.

Now the list includes: Memorial, Public Verdict (engaged in investigating police-related torture reports), GOLOS, “Women of the Don” (because of their peace projects in the North Caucasus), Agora and JURIX (legal protection of NGOs)... The Soldiers’ Mothers and several other organizations are still facing ongoing lawsuits. We have to understand that the hunt continues against the best, most active and independent civil society organizations.

And in this situation, we note that everyone is waiting for the ECHR’s decision on this issue. It has been more than two years since as a number of Russian NGOs appealed to the ECHR to consider the facts of pressure that has been systematically used by the Russian authorities against civil society, including the use of the infamous crime law, which is completely contrary to the international agreements signed by Russia. And we hope that this is the last instance, which can still stop the destruction of the most powerful and independent NGOs in Russia.

Video: Golos' Press Conference on Election Day, Moscow, 15.09.2014

  

    Press conference conducted by Association Golos in Moscow, 15 September 2014:

    See the video HERE (Russian)

Golos' Preliminary Statement on Election Day, Regional and Local Elections, Russia

 

On 14 September, Golos conducted civic monitoring of the procedures associated with voting, the counting of votes and the tabulation of election results in the higher-level election commissions in 21 of the 83 (with Crimea: 85) subjects of the Federation. This election observation was carried out in the krais Altai, Krasnodar and Stavropol, in the oblasts Astrakhan, Volgograd, Voronezh, Ivanovo, Irkutsk, Kirov, Kurgan, Lipetsk, Nizhniy Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Oryol, Samara, Tver, Tchelyabinsk and in Moscow Oblast, in the Altai Republic and the Bashkortostan Republic and in the City of Moscow. Trained long-term observers, correspondents of the newspaper Grashdanskiy Golos and activists conducted the observation.

 

The fact that the outcome of the elections was predictable and that no real contest was involved resulted in reduced interest among voters. Voter turnout in most regions came in at between fifteen and thirty per cent.

 

In several regions the level of irregularity was very high. Particular mention should be made on the violations which occurred in Samara Oblast and Tyumen Oblast and in the Bashkortostan Republic. In St. Petersburg the irregularities were systematic, starting with the unique techniques to refuse to admit candidates in the registration phase, to the anomalously high proportion of votes cast early (9%) to a whole range of incidents on election day in which the rights of candidates and election observers were infringed upon.

 

Numerous cases were recorded in which voters received calls made in the name of a candidate in the elections to the Moscow City Duma and, on the pretext of sociological research, were prompted to vote for that candidate or covert campaign advertising was conducted. In addition, there were many cases of supervisors compelling citizens to go the polls. In several schools, parents were the object of appeals during official parents’ meetings with the aim of increasing voter turnout and encouraging them to vote for a particular candidate (for instance in Moscow’s 1981st precinct and the 575th precinct in Chelyabinsk Oblast).

 

The home voting method (with mobile ballot box) is widely used not only to increase voter turnout, but also to acquire additional votes for a specific candidate. The most frequent irregularity was the absence of a registry on home voting; in other cases it is largely filled in by social workers. Irregularities were reported in several areas, including Moscow, Oblast Nizhniy Novgorod and Stavropol Krai, as well as in Vologda and Ivanovo. Members of the social services were actively used to arrange home voting for the people under their care.

 

Cases of vote buying were detected in Moscow’s Noginskiy District, in Mikrorayon Pervomayskiy and in the municipal district of Beryosovyi (both in Irkutsk), in the city of Lyubertsy (Moscow Oblast) and in the settlement of Krasnogorskiy (district Zvenigovo, Mari El Republic).

 

Information was received about many incidences in which additional ballots were cast or attempts to cast additional ballots were received in Moscow Oblast. There are reports of both one-off ballot stuffing actions and multiple actions. Reports came from the cities Balashikha, Zhukovskiy and Korolyov (all in Moscow Oblast), the settlement Volgo-Kaspiyskiy (Kamyzyak district, Oblast Astrakhan) and the city Ufa (Bashkortostan Republic). Ballot stuffing attempts were prevented in the cities Zhukovskiy and Odintsovo.

 

Numerous cases in which election observers’ rights were ignored were detected in St. Petersburg and in Moscow Oblast, where representatives of the press, members of the precinct election commissions entitled to act as advisors and even some with full voting rights were expelled from polling stations. Election observers and representatives of the press were prohibited from moving around the polling station, taking photographs or filming. In addition, it was reported that the St. Petersburg election commission send out SMS messages and an official paper in order that representatives of the civic organization “Nablyudateli Peterburga“ (“Petersburg’s Observers”) would be prevented from monitoring the elections.

 

The provocative behaviour of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Russian Federation deserves particular attention, as it was responsible for scuppering monitoring of voting by local election observers who were accredited as correspondents of the newspaper Grazhdanskiy Golos (Civic Voice) in several of the country’s regions. A statement released by the CEC’s press service on 12 September 2014 said that the presence of “foreign agents” at the polling stations could “result in the discrediting of the institution of the election observer and to the creation of conditions leading to the destabilization of the democratic process of the formation of the organs of public power”. This statement was unlawful and contained no references to legal provisions which would support the legality of such a decision. On 1 September 2014, the Moscow City Court had already determined that, in view of the opinion of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation as formulated in Ruling No. 10-P of 8 April 2014, it did not appear possible to establish evidence of financing from foreign sources for the association Golos, which would be necessary in order for the organization to be classified as “performing the functions of a foreign agent”.

 

During election day, all Grazhdanskiy Golos correspondents were removed from polling stations in oblasts of Samara and Chelyabinsk and the Bashkortostan Republic and a significant number of correspondents were refused entry to polling stations in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and Moscow Oblast. Thus a state authority, responsible for upholding the laws during elections, in effect resorted to deliberate deception and to the incitement of lower-ranking election commissions to violate the law. It does the regional election commissions in the other regions credit that the vast majority of them did not comply with this provocation.

 

To conclude, it should be noted that while a significant number of the irregularities can be traced to negligence or ignorance of the law on the part of commission members, failure to comply with procedural regulations often had the aim of preventing observers from obtaining truthful information.

 

This statement as PDF (EN)   |   PDF (DE)

See the full Preliminary Report by Golos: PDF (RU)

See the video from the Golos' press conference on 15 September in Moscow here

Golos' report on regional and local elections in Russia

 

REPORT ON THE LONG-TERM OBSERVATION OF THE REGIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS

Russian Federation 14 September 2014

 

GENERAL CONCLUSIONS

Within just one year, Federal Law No. 67-FZ “On basic guarantees” was amended eleven times. In nearly all of the regions, the final drafts of the regional electoral law were adopted right before the start of the election period. With respect to positive changes, it should be noted that the same law, Federal Law No. 95-FZ, reduced the maximum allowable electoral threshold for regional elections and local council elections from seven to five per cent.

 

The minimum number of signatures required to register candidates was raised to three per cent of eligible voters in the relevant electoral constituency. This regulation has prevented the registration of numerous candidates and reduced the number of party lists registered for elections.

 

The 2014 gubernatorial elections have continued the previously observed detrimental trend towards the use of the so-called “municipal filters”. Candidates capable of winning significant support among the voters were excluded from the elections on various pretexts.

 

Most of the election commissions are in fact dominated by “United Russia” members who were officially nominated by civic organisations or local legislatures.

 

Since the official campaign period falls mainly in the summer vacation period, the actual election campaigns began well before the calls for elections in April and May. The main candidates having been registered and their most prominent rivals having been denied registration, the intensity of the campaigning dropped sharply in June and in August.

 

Concerns have been raised by multiple cases involving the prosecution of candidates who appear to have good prospects among voters.

 

On 1 September 2014, the Moscow City Court overturned the decision to hold the organisation Golos liable under administrative law for allegedly receiving foreign financing despite having failed to register as a “foreign agent”.

 

See the full report here: PDF (RU)  |  PDF (EN)  |  PDF (DE)

Moscow City Court: Golos is not a "foreign agent"

On September 1, 2014 the Moscow City Court canceled the decision to bring the Golos Association and Lilia Shibanova to administrative responsibility under Section 1 Article 19.34. of the Admnistrative Code of Russian Federation. On 25 April 2013, the Moscow court found Golos guilty of „violating the rules regulating a non-profit organization that functions as a foreign agent“. The proceedings were terminated under Clause 2 Section 1 Article 24.5 of the Administrative Code of Russian Federation in connection with the absence of administrative offense. This was announced on September 8, when the ruling appeared on the Court's website.

 

The Moscow City Court's ruling put an end to one and a half years litigation between the Golos Association and the Ministry of Justice of Russian Federation.

 

On the basis of the rulings, the Ministry of Justice should immediately remove Golos from the registry of "organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent". On September  9 Golos sent the corresponding statement to the Ministry of Justice. The state should return 400 thousand rubles of paid fines (300 thousand to the Golos Association and 100 thousand to Lilia Shibanova).

 

It is possible to request a review of the decisions that were made on the basis of canceled decisions of the Magistrate's Court. In particular, there is a case of the Golos Association in the Court of Appeal against the Prosecutor's Office submission.

 

The situation with the Golos Association was unique. The law on "foreign agents" was initially adopted by the State Duma to discredit Golos. Afterwards, the law was disseminated on other NGOs and the Prosecutor's Office has also engaged in the campaign against "foreign agents".

 

Application of this law to the Golos Association demonstrated the absence of an independent judiciary and customized nature of the application of this law. The Golos Association did not receive any foreign funding and provided all the documents from the bank. Despite the fact that Golos had even refused receiving monetary award from the Norvegian Helsinki Committee, it was nevertheless declared a "foreign agent“. Finally, we have been forced to file for liquidation of the Golos Association to avoid new fines and to avoid the registration as "foreign agent"

 

For one and a half years Golos was fighting against Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor's Office and the courts. We eventually won thanks to the joint efforts of Nikolai Vasilievich and Victor Mikhailovich from the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia, who were providing legal support for the case, Commissioners for Human Rights, Vladimir Lukin, who supported the appeal to the Constitutional Court, and Ella Pamfilova, who submitted a petition to the Moscow City Court regarding a revision of the case by way of supervision, and the constant work during these one and a half years of lawyers Ramil Akhmetgaliev and Ilya Sivoldaev!

 

This court ruling is, above all, a sign of hope for the rest of the NGOs in Russia. We must fight and join the forces of all human rights and non-profit organizations!

 

The team of Golos did not stop its work for any single day and that is what we are now proud of the most. Moreover, we became more experienced and more motivated to protect the electoral rights in Russia. Despite the persecution in the last years, Golos has a strong team, which is able to work under difficult circumstances.

 

Author: Lilia Shibanova, Executive Director of Golos in 2001-2012

 

EPDE Panel Discussion "Ukraine after the Presidential and before Parliamentary elections. Developments in the East of the country"

Berlin, 24 June 2014

The panel discussion "Ukraine after the Presidential and before Parliamentary elections. Developments in the East of the country"organized by EPDE took place on 24 June 2014 in Berlin. Two experts from Ukraine Serhij Tkachenko (Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Donetsk) and Piotr Andrusieczko (Polish journalist currently working in the East of Ukraine) shared their views on the current situation in Ukraine and the future development of the country.

 

Serhij Tkachenko said that the situation in the East of the country is so dangerous that the civil society activists and their families have to leave the region in large numbers. According to the official statistics, 30,000 activists have already left the Eastern regions. In expert’s view, this number is much higher in reality (up to 100 000 activists). The crucial question for the future of the region is whether these people will be willing to come back after the conflict has been resolved. Otherwise, the efforts of the last 15 years to promote and nurture the civil society in the region have been in vain.

 

Piotr Andrusieczko who has been reporting for the Polish media from Mariupol, Slavjansk and Kramatorsk stressed the extremely insecure conditions of journalists working in the East of Ukraine. The reporting on the territory of Crimea, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics is almost impossible. There are numerous cases of journalists’ intimidation, beating and kidnappings, many incidents of attacks on mass media offices and shutting down of TV channels.    

 

The panel discussion reflected the results of the EPDE civil experts’ mission prior to the Presidential elections in Ukraine. The final reports of the EPDE election experts’ mission were disseminated among more than 45 participants. From 8th to 15th May 2014, EPDE experts Arkadii Lyubarev, Piotr Andrusieczko and Maria Amparo Tortosa-Garrigós conducted their research in Ukraine focusing on security issues, the role of the media and use of administrative resources during the election campaign. The experts’ mission was supported by the EU and the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation. Please find the final reports here.

Worldwide protest against conviction of Anar Mammadli, EPDE board member - GNDEM Letter to President Aliyev

Berlin, 18 June 2014

EPDE and other members of the Global Network of Election Monitors (GNDEM) sent a letter to Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan expressing great concern about the sentencing of Mr. Anar Mammadli, chairman of Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS) and board member of EPDE. He was convicted to 5,5 years in prison in a Baku court on May 26, 2014. In the same case Mammadli's deputy, Bashir Suleymanli, was sentenced to 3,5 years and Elnur Mammadov, head of the partnering NGO the Public Association for International Cooperation of Volunteers was given a 3,5 years term with 2 years on probation.

GNDEM and its member organization EMDS consider the sentences politically motivated, groundless and unjust. We demand an immediate release of the convicted Anar Mammadli, Bashir Suleymanli and Elnur Mammadov and that the sentences against them be repealed.                                

 

Find the letter here PDF

ISFED Statement on Local Elections in Georgia 15 June 2014

Tbilisi, 16 June 2014

EPDE member organization International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) conducted monitoring of local self-government elections in all electoral districts around Georgia on June 15, 2014.

Key findings

Based on its PVT data, the ISFED concludes that the voting process was conducted in an organized and calm environment throughout the country. Opening, voting and counting procedures at the majority of polling stations were in line with the rules determined by the Georgian legislation. Similarly to the 2013 Presidential Election, most violations reported were of a procedural nature and their number has decreased since the last election. Notwithstanding the improvement of the overall electoral process, cases of physical violence and damage of the election material were observed at some polling stations, which was not the case in the Presidential Election.

Given the information collected on the conduct of the Election Day process, ISFED is confident in the projections of Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT). ISFED has received information from 100% of their observers.

 

The full report is available here: PDF (EN)

EPDE at the annual conference of Global Network of Domestic Election Montoring GNDEM

Mexico City, 5 June 2014

EPDE as one of six regional networks of Global Network of Domestic Election Montoring GNDEM participates at the annual conference of GNDEM in Mexico City. Together with Damaso Magbual from the Asian Network for Free Elections and Dansa Kourouma from the Westafrican Election Observers Network in Mexico City EPDE has set up a working group for the worldwide solidarity and defense of independent citizens' observers.
Anar Mammadli, Board member of EPDE and Bashir Suleimanli from Azerbaijan 's EMDS deserve our highest attention now. They have been convicted to 5,5 and 3,5, years of prison for reporting election fraud.

NEWS AND REPORTS

 

EPDE supported its Ukrainian members  Committee of Voters of Ukraine CVU  tl_files/EPDE/LOGOS/Committee of Voters of Ukraine CVU.jpgand the  Civil Network OPORA tl_files/EPDE/LOGOS/Civil Network OPORA (Ukraine).png and conducted election observation of the recent Presidential elections in Ukraine on 25 May 2014. 

See here for news and reports of the EPDE members:

 

 

tl_files/EPDE/LOGOS/Committee of Voters of Ukraine CVU.jpgread more HERE           

 

tl_files/EPDE/LOGOS/Civil Network OPORA (Ukraine).png  read more HERE

 

 

MEDIA COVERAGE     |     PHOTO GALLERY

 

 

27 May 2014

COMMITTEE OF VOTERS OF UKRAINE (CVU): PRELIMINARY EVALUATION OF VOTING AND VOTE TABULATION FOR THE EARLY PRESIDENTIAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE ON MAY 25, 2014

 

SUMMARY

At most polling stations (more than 90%) the Presidential Elections were held without substantial violations of electoral legislation and in accordance with international standards of fair and transparent elections.

In problematic regions (Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts) voting was held with violation of international standards of fair and transparent elections. Terrorist groups disrupted the elections at most polling stations. Law enforcement bodies, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Security Service of Ukraine, did not provide adequate security during transportation of election documents and did not ensure the personal security of election commission members and voters. As soon as it was determined that conducting elections in these regions was life-threatening to citizens, elections were stopped.

read more HERE

 

25 May 2014

CVU Interim Reports on Presidential and Local Elections

Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) is a non-governmental civic organization that monitors election processes in Ukraine. Since the beginning of the Presidential campaign, 150 CVU long-term observers have been working in regions across Ukraine.

Presidential Elections - Interim Report Summary PDF (EN)

Local Elections - Interim Report Summary PDF (EN)

 

25 May 2014, 20:00, CVU Press service

Committee of voters of Ukraine is a non-governmental civic organization which monitors the May 25 elections of the President of Ukraine. On the Election Day 3000 CVU observers work on polling stations.

 

As a whole, the elections proceeded according to the established procedures. Elections may be qualified as free and transparent, despite cases of violations and organizational difficulties, particualrly in districts where simultaneous presidential and local elections were held. There are only individual cases of serious violations of election procedures. The violations are not systematic.

read more HERE

 

25 May 2014

ELECTION DAY OBSERVATION STATEMENT

On 25 May, OPORA organized parallel vote tabulation, based on a representative and statistically-based sample. The sample included 1,500 polls, with a 2.9% margin of error.


OPORA's accredited and specially-trained observers analyzed the election process from 07:15 until the completion of vote tabulation at the polling stations. In conclusion, they sent 9 reports to OPORA's call-center, concerning

read more HERE

 

25 May 2014

CVU INFORMATION UPDATE AS OF 20:00

Committee of voters of Ukraine is a non-governmental civic organization which monitors the May 25 elections of the President of Ukraine. On the Election Day 3000 CVU observers work on polling stations.

As a whole, the elections are progressing according to the established procedures. Elections may be qualified as free and transparent, despite cases of violations and organizational difficulties, especially in districts where simultaneous presidential and local elections are held.

There are only individual cases of serious violations of election procedures, the violations are not systematic.
Individual cases of violations or problems were recorded, such as:

read more HERE

 

25 May 2014

CIVIL NETWORK OPORA: Voter turnout at the extraordinary Presidential elections as of 12:00 PM constitutes 25% of all voters.

According to the data of the Civil Network OPORA, the voter turnout at the extraordinary Presidential elections as of 12:00 PM constitutes 25% of all voters.
As of 12:00 PM the voter turnout at the extraordinary Presidential elections in Ukraine is 25%. Namely, in central oblasts the turnout is 27%, in the West it constitutes 25%, in the East and South 22%. (The statistical error of 3% is taken into account.)

Throughout the Election Day, OPORA plans to inform the media and the public about the results of the parallel turnout tabulation.

read more HERE

 

25 May 2014

CIVIL NETWORK OPORA: Rapid Press Brief: the voting in Ukraine has begun with a calm atmosphere. Only Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts are unstable.

The atmosphere during conduction of preparatory meetings in precinct election commissions and the beginning of voting has been calm, without mass violations of election procedures. Major interruptions are happening only in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where most election commissions are not functioning at all and voting is mostly not being conducted. In general, there are still serious complications with securing proper voting conditions for the voters in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

According to the preliminary data, the voting began in 7 of 22 territorial election districts in Donetsk oblast. There are documented incidents of terroristic attacks against individual polling stations. In district #61, armed criminals seized precinct election commissions #140796, 140792, 140803, and 140800 (city of Dokuchaevsk). Unlawful activities aimed to hinder the electoral process are still occurring. In addition, the PEC #140061 was seized the village of Kalinino (Artemivsk raion, TED #46), where intruders threatened OPORA's observers.

In Luhansk oblast, the voting has started in only 2 of the 12 territorial election districts. According to OPORA's observers, separatists have strengthened their control over roads in the oblast, directing traffic and hindering the election process. Simultaneously, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Mykolaiv has received the information that 7 polling stations were mined. Law-enforcement officers are still verifying that information.

read more HERE

 

25 May 2014

CVU and OPORA Breaking News: report from civil society observation mission in Ukraine

Troubles in Donetsk:

By 3:00pm, voter turnout in the Donetsk region was 13.7%

Unknown individuals smashed windows at a polling station and stole all the ballots in the village Metalist, Amrosiyivskiy district

According to witnesses, representatives of Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) broke into the voting room and blocked work of the electoral commission. They demanded an end to the voting, insisting that the elections are illegal. Gunmen took with them all 1308 ballots.

Also, according to the DEC № 62 commission lost contact with 52 of the 82 polling stations operating in the constituency. Because of this members of the commission cannot figure out turnout at these polling stations.

As reported earlier today in Dokuchaevsk, representatives of DNR blocked the work of all district commissions.

 

24 May 2014

Golos observers arrived in Ukraine. Russian and Ukrainian Election Observers unite in solidarity to observe presidential elections in Ukraine 25 May.

 

The Russian citizens’ observers will contribute to the overall international monitoring of these important elections for Ukraine and Europe. All members of the mission have experience from monitoring elections in Russia on behalf of the renowned Russian election watchdog organization Golos. The Russian citizens’ observers complement the work of the prominent Ukrainian election observation organizations OPORA and Committee of Voters of Ukraine, who already have 6000 domestic observers in activity all over the country. The Ukrainian and Russian NGOs are both members of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE).

 

“This mission is an extraordinary signal of solidarity between Russian and Ukrainian citizens”,  says Lilia Shibanova, Director Golos –“It underscores the citizens’ will to stand together for peace and democracy in both countries”.

 

850 Russian volunteers have expressed their readiness to observe these elections in partnership with their Ukrainian colleagues. Due to a protracted process of obtaining accreditation from Ukrainian authorities, this mission has been dramatically reduced in numbers so that tomorrow a smaller group of round 150 Russian volunteers will meet their Ukrainian counterparts in 8 out of 25 oblasts.

 

The observation mission is financially supported by the Open Russia Foundation of Mikhail Khodorkovski, the European Commission and the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation.

 

The mission will follow international standards for election observation with the aim to support free and fair elections in Ukraine.

Core team: see here

 

23 May 2014

Press Conference Announcement

On 26 May 2014, at 11:30am, in the UNIAN Information Agency (4 Khreshatyk St.), the press-conference titled "Presidential Election: Summary of observation conducted by OPORA" will be held by the Civil Network OPORA.

On the day after the election day, OPORA will promulgate the voter turnout and results of voting during special elections of the President, based on the quick count results, conducted by the OPORA.

Thanks to 2,000 observers, deployed in all Ukrainian oblasts, OPORA's representatives will be able to present monitoring results, particularly information about violations on polling stations. Besides that, activists will analyze activities of state bodies and institutions, responsible for the organization of elections, during the voting process, tabulation and processing of votes.

  • Olha Aivazovska, Electoral and Parliamentary Programs Coordinator of the Civil Network OPORA;
  • Oleksandr Kliuzhev, OPORA's analyst;
  • Oleksandr Neberykut, OPORA's analyst.

Journalist registration is conducted on-the-spot by press accreditations.

Detailed information: Tetiana Kyrylenko, press-secretary of the OPORA, +380509793596

More about Civil Network OPORA:    http://oporaua.org/

 

23rd May 2014

On the Eve of the Presidential Election: Summary from OPORA

Observers of Civil Network OPORA have examined how Presidential candidates were campaigning in all 213l election districts. Today, activities of armed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts remain the key destabilizing factor for the election process. Systematic activities of unlawful units in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts may cause disruption of the voting process in half of the districts in these regions. There are no conflicts or violations in other oblasts that may hinder free voting process.

According to the observation results, the following Presidential candidates had the largest-scale election campaigns, respectively: 1. Petro Poroshenko, 2. Yuliia Tymoshenko, 3. Anatolii Hrytsenko, 4. OlehTiahnybok, 5. Oleh Liashko. These rankings are based on how the candidates covered election districts with their campaigning and assess the scale of election campaigning conducted by every Presidential candidate.

According to OPORA's monitoring results, the most popular type of campaigning during the snap Presidential Election was media campaigning (publications, announcements, public addresses, and information materials in local media). The most active in this type of campaigning was Yuliia Tymoshenko. The second popular type is outdoor advertising, which was most often used by Petro Poroshenko. Direct campaigning (door-to-door campaigning, collection of signatures, correspondence, meetings) was the least used method by all candidates during these elections. Street campaigning (rallies, marches, demonstrations, pickets; campaigning tents; dissemination of printed campaign materials; concerts, exhibitions, sport competitions, film shows etc.) is the third popular type of campaigning. It was most often used by Yuliia Tymoshenko.

The most powerful network of election headquarters wascreated by YuliiaTymoshenko, Petro Poroshenko, AnatoliiHrytsenko, OlehTiahnybok, and Oleh Liashko. Andrii Hrynenko, Volodymyr Saranov, Vasyl Tsushko, Vadym Rabinovych, and Renat Kuzmin have few temporary organizational structures in individual districts.

Besides intensification of campaigning activities on this final stage of election campaign, incidents of unlawful campaigning and other abuses committed by candidates also become more frequent. Almost in all regions of Ukraine, observers report about surge of  "dirty campaigning" (printed materials and content in social networks), directed mostly on Yuliia Tymoshenko and Petro Poroshenko. Dissemination of campaigning materials without an imprint, and their placement in prohibited locations became typical incidents. Dissemination of so-called "dzhynsa" (hidden advertising) – political ads in printed mass media without the corresponding marking, under the mask of news – has also become more prominent.

Ukraineis facingsuch a large-scale counteraction to free voting for the first time itshistory as an independent country. The "Donetsk People's Republic" and "Luhansk People's Republic", which were determined by the Prosecutor General's Office as terroristic organizations, commit crimes against electoral rights of citizens. Members of election commissions, as well as premises, property, and equipment of the corresponding commissions, have becomethe target for the terrorists. Due to the intensive dislocation of terroristic groups on the territory of these oblasts, it is difficult to tell how many voters may be deprived of the right to vote.

District election commissions have, in general, qualitatively fulfilled their duties. However, they faced the certain complications during the formation of PECs and during personnel rotations in commissions. The situation was even more complicated by the fact that DECs themselves were undergoing mass rotations. As of 20 May, more than a third (36%) of membership in DECs was substituted. Manycommission members chosen by candidates, who de facto stopped participating in the election campaign (particularly Petro Symonenko), are in fact sabotaging theactivities of election commissions. Rotations in precinct election commissions haveappeared because candidates’ headquarters failed to secure the qualitative organization of the selection and preparation of commission members. In addition, several commission members in eastern oblasts of Ukraine refuse to fulfill their duties because they are threatened and under physical pressure frompro-Russian terroristic groups. Another common reason for high turnover in commission membership across Ukraine is that proxies of candidates submitted documents to nominateindividuals for commission membership without their permission, or nominated the names of individuals who do not exist(so-called "dead souls").

In order to assess the quality of the election process with a minimal margin of error and to forecast maximally accurate election results, OPORA will apply the statistically-based quick count. Quick count techniques include stationary observation during the voting and counting process at the polling station, chosen by random sampling. On 26 May, the day after the voting process, at 11:30am in the UNIAN Information Agency, OPORA will promulgate the results of its parallel vote tabulation (quick count).

Civic monitoring conducted by OPORA is a type of network activity aimed to carry out impartial assessment of the preparation and conduct of elections and to prevent electoral violations through comprehensive civic action. Since March, OPORA has been conductinga wide observation campaign during snap Presidential election, interim Parliamentary elections (district #83), and special local elections. The organization cooperates with 175 long-term observers who watch the course of election campaign in all Ukrainian regions. On the Election Day, 25 May 2014, 3,000 activists will join them to conduct the parallel vote tabulation, based on statistical sample.

 For comment, please contact:

Olha Aivazovska,

Electoral and Parliamentary Programs Coordinator of the Civil Network OPORA

+38063 617 97 50

a.olja@opora.org.ua

 

21st May 2014

On the eve of the election day: OPORA presents preliminary results of electoral observation
On 23 May 2014, at 10:30am in the UNIAN Information Agency (4 Khreshatyk St.), the press-conference titled "On the eve of the election day: OPORA presents preliminary results of electoral observation" will be held by the Civil Network OPORA.

On the eve of the Presidential election, OPORA presents preliminary summary of election monitoring campaign. In particular, the organization will report on complications in functioning of election commissions, as well as violations and abuses, committed by participants of the election process, such as abuse of administrative resource, unlawful campaigning etc., which were detected by observers during the electoral process. Besides that, experts tell whether the polling stations are ready to conduct the voting process, and air their forecasts on the course of the election day. Information about the observation campaign in detail, including activities of short-term observers on May 25, will be presented by:

  • Olha Aivazovska, Electoral and Parliamentary Programs Coordinator of the Civil Network OPORA;
  • Oleksandr Kliuzhev, OPORA's analyst;
  •  Oleksandr Neberykut, OPORA's analyst.

Journalist registration is conducted on-the-spot by press accreditations.

Detailed information:

 Tetiana Kyrylenko, press-secretary of the OPORA, +380509793596

 

20th May 2014

Today, the EPDE's Ukrainian member Civil Network OPORA holds a press-conference titled "Vinnytsia oblast: five days before the election day".
During the press-conference, Regional Coordinator of the Civil Network OPORA in Vinnytsia oblast Nataliia Velychko will tell about the course of Presidential race in Vinnytsia oblast in the context of national situation, and present interim results of long-term observation conducted by OPORA.
More informaion here
 

15th May 2014

EPDE's Ukrainian member Civil Network OPORA launched a mobile application for Android "Elections - manual for observers". Now, every owner of a smartphone, tablet, smartbook or netbook on Android will have a user-friendly instrument of a qualified observer and active voter.
 
More informaion and the link to download here
 
14th May 2014
EPDE's Ukrainian member Civil Network OPORA published its Report on the creation of precinct election commissions during snap election of the President of Ukraine on May 25, 2014.
 
Find the report here

 

8th May 2014

EPDE's Ukrainian member Committee of Voters of Ukraine CVU has published its report on results of its long-term monitoring of preparation for early Presidential elections in Ukraine during April, 18 – May, 8 2014.
 
Find the report here

 

 

30th April 2014
Press release by CVU and OPORA on the first stage of election campaign

 

Elections Unanimously Declared Fair and Free by OPORA, CVU, and EPDE

PDF EN   |   PDF RU

 

Kyiv, 27th May: Today, three election observation missions from the Ukrainian NGO Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU), OPORA Network, and the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), presented their results of the Ukrainian presidential and local elections. Together, the three organizations deployed more than 6,000 independent elections observers across all Ukrainian regions.

 

The EPDE mission included 200 Russian citizen observers who worked in cooperation with OPORA observers in 9 Ukrainian regions. The EPDE mission was the only mission in Ukraine to include independent civil society observers from the Russian Federation.

 

Janusz Onyszkiewicz, former Minister of Defense, Poland, MEP, also took part.

 

Overall Evaluation:

OPORA, CVU and EPDE unanimously declare the Ukrainian Presidential elections as free, fair, and in accordance with international standards.

-          With the exception of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, elections proceeded without any major violations.

-          Despite delays in voting and long waits, turnout was high across Ukraine (60% in Ukraine according to OPORA).

-          Elections are legitimate and reflect the will of the Ukrainian people.

 

Specifics from EPDE, OPORA, CVU, and Janusz Onyszkiewicz

 

Roman Udot, Senior Election Expert, European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE)

-          Russian citizen observers of EPDE worked in partnership with OPORA observers on mobile teams.

-          EPDE observers attended the opening of 82 polling stations, observed the voting process at 1,011 stations and were present at counting of votes at 67 sites.

-          Observers recorded no major violations or tensions with the local population.

-          Commission members and Ukrainian citizens were generally friendly toward EPDE/OPORA observers.

EPDE Interim Statement: English    |    Russian

 

Olha Aivazovska, Chairperson of the Board of Civil Network OPORA

-          With the exception of Donetsk and Luhansk districts, campaigning was free and fair, and vote tabulation was transparent across Ukraine

-          Kyiv: experienced long delays and procedural problems throughout Election Day due to parallel local and national elections and inadequate training of commission members.

-          In the future, local and national elections should not take place at the same time. Commission members should be better trained in electoral procedures and organization.

OPORA reports:

 

Oleksandr Chernenko, Director General of all-Ukrainian NGO “Committee of Voters of Ukraine” (CVU)

-          The elections clearly represent the will of the Ukrainian voters.

-          These elections will bring back the democratic tradition of elections to Ukraine.

CVU reports:

 

Janusz Onyszkiewicz, former Minister of Defense, Poland, MEP

-          The presence of Russian civil society observers was important, particularly in the absence of official Russian observers.

-          Ukrainians clearly opted for European policy and integration. This is a clear message of the voice of the Ukrainian people

-          Luhansk and Donetsk do not disqualify the results.

-          There can be no doubts of the legitimacy of the elections.

 

For more information see:

www.cvu.org.ua

www.oporaua.org

www.epde.org

Mission statement of the European Platform for Democratic Elections

Kyiv, 27th May

European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) led a mission of short-term observers for the presidential election in Ukraine. Initially, 823 observers were supposed to be deployed across all Ukrainian regions.

 

However, the Ukrainian Central Election Committee (CEC) initially (May 19) denied accreditation to the mission. On May 23, a court decision was reached to allow accreditation, but due to this delay, EPDE had to reduce the number of observers. As a result, 200 short-term observers were deployed in 9 regions of Ukraine: Kiev, Kiev district, Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Odessa, Poltava, Chernihiv, Kharkiv region, as well as northern Luhansk. EPDE observers also conducted observation at the Ukrainian Embassy in Russia and the Ukrainian Embassy in Finland.

 

Observation was carried out in groups of 2 mobile EPDE observers that visited 1,160 polling stations during Election Day. Most monitoring crews included representatives of the Ukrainian civil network OPORA to ensure the group’s effectiveness and awareness of the local context in each location.

 

EPDE observers attended the opening of 82 polling stations, the voting process was observed at 1,011 stations and the observers were present at counting of votes at 67 sites.

 

Members of election commissions were generally friendly to EPDE Mission observers. Only 16 cases (1.5% of all visited polling stations) of admission difficulties to the polling site were recorded. In one case (Starobil's'k, Luhansk region), EPDE observers were rudely removed from the site and were not allowed to carry out their monitoring duties. At the PEC 800961 in Kiev, where observers arrived on call from the representatives of OPORA, they were not admitted to the premises.

 

In general, in those regions where the EPDE Mission conducted monitoring (except Luhansk oblast), voting and counting were calm. Observers of EPDE did not report a single case of major violations, such as ballot stuffing, proxy voting, and voter bribery.

 

EPDE observers reported violations and incidents at a small number of polling stations, which were mostly due to procedural issues and did not affect the outcome of the vote. During the opening of the polling stations, the most frequent violation observed (24 cases, 29.3% of the visited stations prior to opening) was the failure to record the number of received ballots in the report of the commission before the beginning of voting. Another common violation was the lack of posters providing information about the candidates (97 sites, 9.6% of the visited polling stations). Commission members often considered informational materials to be propaganda, suggesting the need for a more thorough training of the committee members.

 

In 35 cases (3.5% of the total visited polling stations), observers noted the presence of campaigning and advertising in the vicinity of the polling station. 26 sites (2.6% of the total visited polling stations) had violations in the procedures for issuing ballots, with the most common being the issuing of ballots by a single commission member.

 

During vote tabulation, the most common violation was failure to record the data immediately, which happened on 16 sites (23.9% of the visited polling stations prior to vote count). In 11 cases (16.4% of the visited polling stations prior to vote count), the counting procedure for candidates was not fully implemented. 5 sites (7.5% of the visited polling stations prior to vote count) recorded a mismatch between the number of ballots and the number of listed voters who were marked as having received the ballots.

 

Many polling stations experienced long queues due to high voter turnout and shortcomings in the organization of voting. Vote counting by the precinct election commissions was also delayed due to the inexperience and lack of adequate training of commission members, a combination of elections at different levels: particularly, in Kiev presidential elections were held simultaneously with local mayoral and city council elections. The council elections use a mixed electoral system, that is, with two ballots.  There were also shortcomings of the electoral law, in particular, because it poorly resolves issues related with a combination of elections.

 

In general, the Mission is confident that the election of the President of Ukraine on May 25, 2014, with the exception of most parts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts, were held in line with international standards for free and fair elections and the results of these elections reflect the will of the citizens of Ukraine.

 

The Mission notes that the voting and counting of votes in accordance with the Ukrainian law "On the Election of the President of Ukraine" largely resolved efficiently. However, the law contains a number of flaws, and the Mission recommends that the Ukrainian lawmakers continue to work on improving the electoral process.

 

More information on the frequency of violations you can find here:

Frequency of Violations: Opening

Frequency of Violations: Voting

Frequency of Violations: Vote Counting

EPDE observers after ballots counting complete short-term mission

Kyiv, 26th May

International observers of short-term monitoring mission have attended 1153 polling stations in 9 regions of Ukraine: Kiev, districts of Kiev, Lviv, Poltava, Odessa, Zhitomir, Chernigov, Dnepropetrovsk and Northern part of Lugansk region. Worth to mention that monitoring was carried out not only in Ukrainian districts but also in the embassies of Ukraine in Russian Federation and Finland. Unfortunately, observers were not allowed to attend polling station in Consulate in Rostov on Don.


The observation was carried out by mobile teams of two international observers and the observer from civil network OPORA (Ukraine).

The general attitude of members of election commissions to EPDE Mission observers is friendly; only eleven cases of difficulties in the admission to the site of an international observer has been recorded.

Until 9 am May, 26th there were not recorded a single report of gross violations such as ballot stuffing, voting for others in collusion with the commission or bribery of voters.

In Starobielsk (Lugansk region) international observers were forced to leave the area, refusing their right to observe. Besides, there were attempts to take away photo equipment and remove the photos.

On a PEC # 800,961 extinct 200 ballots has been recorded.
In general, the voting went smoothly, with no gross violations.
 
Observers noted some violations. The most common ones are the cases when the data was not recorded immediately what happened on 15 PECs.

In 11 cases, the counting procedure for candidates was not fully implemented. At 3 sites, there was non-compliance with the sequence of opening the ballot boxes. 5 PECs were noted by international observers with discrepancy between the control coupons figure and the number of ballots issued.

Starting from May, 8 EPDE carries out presidential election observation in Ukraine, which will be held on May 25, 2014. EPDE conducts long-term expert monitoring and short-term monitoring on the Election Day involving observers mostly from Russia. They are most experienced observers, participated in more than one national mission in partnership with GOLOS, SONAR, Citizen Observer, Rosvybor, St. Petersburg Observers and other civic associations. The mission relies on the Ukrainian members EPDE - Committee of Voters of Ukraine and Civil Society Network OPORA.

The aim of the European Platform for Democratic Elections is to promote civic election monitoring in Eastern Partnership countries and the Russian Federation, and the development of democratic electoral processes.

 International election observation of presidential elections in Ukraine in 2014 is carried out in order to provide objective assessment of the electoral procedures on behalf of the population of the country. This mission is a public initiative of civil society activists. Mission is a non-political and non-governmental.

EPDE observers visited 1049 polling stations during the presidential elections in Ukraine in 2014

Kyiv, 25th May

At 8:00pm, international observers of the short-term monitoring mission attended 1049 polling stations in 9 regions of Ukraine: Kiev, districts of Kiev, Lviv, Poltava, Odessa, Zhitomir, Chernigov, Dnepropetrovsk and the northern part of Lugansk district. It is worth noting that monitoring was carried out not only in Ukrainian districts but also in the embassies of Ukraine in the Russian Federation and Finland. Unfortunately, observers were not allowed to attend the polling station in the Ukrainian Consulate in Rostov on Don.

Voting has now finished, but observers continue to monitor the vote counting process.

Observation was carried out by mobile teams of two international observers and one observer from civil network OPORA (Ukraine).

Members of election commissions were generally friendly to EPDE Mission observers. Only ten cases of admission difficulties to the polling site were recorded.

By 8:00pm, no reports of gross violations such as ballot stuffing, voting for others in collusion with the commission, or bribery of voters were recorded.

PEC #440266 in the same region received a threatening phone call warning that the station would be captured. The electoral commission decided to close early. At the same site, voting from home was not available because of lack of transport.

In Starobielsk (Lugansk region) during the preparations for the elections at a polling station (# 440562) PEC members were replaced three times as a result of potential threats. At 13:00 the turnout at this PEC was around 15%.

In the remaining regions observers noted some violations. The most common one was the lack of posters providing information about the candidates, with 87 such cases reported.

In 33 cases, near the polling station observers noted the presence of electioneering closer than 50 meters from the polling station. In 6 cases the movement of observers was restricted at the polling station.

At 33 polling stations our observers found campaign materials closer than legal minimum of 50 meters from the polling station.

There were 6 cases noting restriction on the relocation of observers at the polling station.

24 sites were noted by international observers’ for infringing procedures concerning issuing bulletins, with multiple members of the commission issuing a single bulletin, rather than individual reports. At 9 PECs the ability of observers to conduct video recording was limited.

Significantly, international observers managed to visit polling stations within penal colonies as well as those in the community. Observers visited a polling station in Sokal penal colony (Lviv region).

International election observation of the 2014 presidential elections in Ukraine is being carried out in order to provide objective assessment of the electoral procedures on behalf of the country’s population. This mission is a public initiative of civil society activists and is both non-political and non-governmental.

Since May 8, 2014, EPDE has been carrying out its observation for the May 25, 2014 presidential election. The aim of the EPDE is to promote civic election monitoring in Eastern Partnership countries and the Russian Federation and to develop democratic electoral processes. EPDE conducts both long-term expert monitoring and short-term monitoring on the Election Day involving independent observers. Most of these observers are from Russia and are highly experienced observers who have participated in more than one national mission in partnership with GOLOS, SONAR, Citizen Observer, Rosvybor, St. Petersburg Observers, and other civic associations. The mission relies on the Ukrainian members of EPDE: the Committee of Voters of Ukraine and Civil Society Network OPORA.

Mid-day Summary of Ukrainian Presidential Elections

Kyiv, 25th May, 2014

This is a summary report of three election observation missions from the Ukrainian NGO Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU), OPORA Network, and the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), which together have almost 6,000 observers in all Ukrainian regions.

E-Day in Ukraine:
• In most regions, voting is proceeding with no major violations, such as ballot stuffing, voting in collusion with the commission, intimidation, or bribery of voters have been reported (EPDE).
• Some minor violations such as delays in opening of polling stations, broken seals on safes containing ballots, and lack of security have been reported (OPORA).
• Voter turnout in Kiev seems high (EPDE).


Donetsk and Luhansk:
• Only 2 out 12 territorial election districts in Luhansk and 7 of 22 territorial election districts in Donetsk were operational in the morning (OPORA).
• Several polling places have been forced to close after opening or had no ballot (OPORA)
• Major violations have occurred, including intimidation, abductions of election commission members, and forcible closing of polling stations (OPORA).
• More polling stations of Donetsk region began their work midday, as they finally received ballot papers and/or voters lists (CVU).
• By 3:00pm, voter turnout in the Donetsk region was 13.7% (CVU and OPORA).

Troubles continue throughout the day (CVU and OPORA):
• Unknown individuals smashed windows at a polling station and stole all the ballots in the village Metalist, Amrosiyivskiy district
• According to witnesses, representatives of Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) broke into the voting room and blocked work of the electoral commission. They demanded an end to the voting, insisting that the elections are illegal. Gunmen took with them all 1,308 ballots.

EPDE observers continue monitoring the elections in Ukraine

Kyiv, 25th May, 15>00

International observers continue short-term monitoring of the presidential elections in Ukraine.

 As on 3 pm, 200 international observers have attended 679 polling stations in 9 Ukrainian regions. Mobile teams composed of two international observers and an observer from the civil network OPORA (Ukraine) will visit 1,500 PECs to ensure procedural compliance.

Members of election commissions have been generally friendly toward EPDE Mission observers. Only five cases of admission difficulties to the polling station have been recorded.

Turnout at polling stations is high with some are experiencing long lines.

It is worth noting that there have been no reports of gross violations. No cases gross violations such as ballot stuffing, voting in collusion with the commission, or bribery of voters have been reported.

The most frequent violation our observers noted is missing posters with information about the candidates on the site. 53 such cases were recorded.

At 27 polling stations campaign materials were seen at a distance closer than 50 meters from the building where voting takes place.

In 6 cases there was restriction on the relocation of observers at the polling station.

17 sites noted infringement of procedures for issuing bulletins. At 9 PECs the ability of observers to video record the proceedings was limited.

Since May 8, EPDE has been carrying out presidential election observation in Ukraine, which will be held on May 25, 2014. EPDE conducts long-term expert monitoring and short-term monitoring on the Election Day involving highly experienced observers mostly from Russia who have participated in more than one national mission in partnership with GOLOS, SONAR, Citizen Observer, Rosvybor, St. Petersburg Observers and other civic associations. The mission relies on partnership with Ukrainian EPDE members - Committee of Voters of Ukraine and Civil Society Network OPORA.   

The aim of the European Platform for Democratic Elections is to promote civil society election monitoring in Eastern Partnership countries and the Russian Federation and the development of democratic electoral processes.

International election observation of presidential elections in Ukraine in 2014 is carried out in order to provide objective assessment of the electoral procedures on behalf of the population of the country. This mission is a public initiative of civil society activists.  The mission is a non-political and non-governmental.

 

URGENT: operative information about the work of election commissions in the Donetsk region at 9:00

Donetsл, 25th May, 2014

Observers of joint monitoring campaign DRO "Committee of Voters of Ukraine" and network OPORA in Donetsk reporting that on 9:00 15 District Election Commissions didn’t work:

№№ 41 ,42, 43, 44, 45 — Donetsk;

№№ 51, 52 — Gorlivka;

№ 53 — Yenakiyeve;

№ 54 — Torez;

№ 55 — Shahtarsk;

№ 46 — Artemivsk. Part of election commissions in the district was opened, but working without ballots.

№ 48 — Kramatorsk;

№ 56, 57 — Makyivka;

№ 60 — Maryinka. District commission doesn’t work, but some polling stations are opened.

 

Only in 7 districts of Donetsk region pooling stations are opened and trying to organize voting process:

№ 47 — Alexandrovka. Only 19 polling stations are opened. In 2 commissions Chairman and Secretary resigned, but the commission decided to work;

№ 49 — Dobropillya. Only 8 pooling stations did not open in the town, 1  pooling station didn’t open in the district;

№ 50 — Krasnoarmiysk. In Krasnoarmiysk from 55 polling stations 6 didn’t open.

№ 58 — Mariupol. Only 4 polling stations did not open;

№ 59 — Mariupol. 91 polling stations opened, 8 pooling station did not;

№ 61 — Dokuchayevsk. Some polling stations opened in the district, but in the morning several stations (№ 140 803, № 140 800, № 140 792) were seized by the DNR;

№ 62 — Starobeshevo. In the district polling stations only receive ballots. Into polling station № 140 472 at 5 am came DNR representatives and forbade working members of the PEC. In many premises of PSC Amvrosievka unknown broke the windows.

 

About Public Election Observation

Public Observation of network OPORA and DRO "Committee of Voters of Ukraine" is aimed to provide objective assessment of the preparation and conducting of elections and prevent violations of the electoral legislation through effectively organized public control.

Since March 2014, Network OPORA conducted a major monitoring campaign of early elections of the President of Ukraine, as well as parliamentary (83 district) and early local elections. The organization works with 175 long-term observers observing the progress of the campaign in all regions of the country. On Election Day, May 25, more 3000 activists join them for observation and statistic counting. In the Donetsk region public observation of the presidential election provides by regional NGO "Committee of Voters of Ukraine".

 

Contact information:

Oleksandr Ivanov

Press-secretary  DRO «Committee of voters of Ukraine»

(050) 569-23-05; (062) 337-63-16

aivanov@cvu.dn.ua

EPDE observers went to the Ukrainian polling stations from 7 am

Kyiv, 25 May 2014

Despite yesterday's Administrative court resolution to cancel the decision of the CEC, short-term observers from Russia within the mission of the European Platform for democratic elections (EPDE) to monitor the presidential elections in Ukraine began to work since a court decision is not in force.

There are more than 200 international observers in nine regions of Ukraine. Our observers were present at the opening of 75 polling stations. Mobile teams of two observers who on election day should visit about 1,500 PECs carry to out examination.

There are 21 candidates running for the post in the presidential elections in Ukraine. 33,200 precinct election commissions are formed. 33,700,000 voters can participate in elections.

 

The general attitude of members of election commissions towards EPDE Mission observers is friendly; only one case of difficulties in the admission to the site of an international observer has been recorded. Turnout at polling stations is noticed as high, so for half an hour after the opening PEC # 180450 in Korostyshiv (Zhytomyr region)  more than a hundred people have voted.

 

The most frequent violation our observers have noted is the fact that data on the number of ballots received were not included in the report of the commission before the vote.

In three cases, observers had difficulties in obtaining information from the Commission. In six instances campaign agitation materials were seen at a distance closer than 50 meters from the building where voting takes place.

 

In addition, one instance of not presenting empty ballot boxes immediately before voting by the chairperson of the PEC was recorded.

In 4 cases the procedure of filling checklists  into the ballot box after sealing was broken.

There have also been messages received denying observers to  film , but after a joint study of the relevant  law with a PEC representative, the problem was solved.

Starting from May 8 EPDE carried out presidential election observation in Ukraine, which will be held on May 25, 2014. EPDE conducts long-term expert monitoring and short-term monitoring on the Election Day involving observers from Russia. They are experienced observers, having participated in more than one national mission in partnership with GOLOS, SONAR, Citizen Observer, Rosvybor, St. Petersburg Observers and other civic associations. The mission relies on the Ukrainian members of EPDE - Committee of Voters of Ukraine and Civil Society Network OPORA.   

 

The aim of the European Platform for Democratic Elections is to promote civic election monitoring in Eastern Partnership countries and the Russian Federation, and the development of democratic electoral processes.

EPDE aims at increasing the professionalism of election observation across Europe and improving the visibility of the results of election observation both on national and international level.

 

International election observation of presidential elections in Ukraine in 2014 is carried out in order to provide objective assessment of the electoral procedures on behalf of the population of the country. This mission is a public initiative of civil society activists. Mission is a non-political and non-governmental.

 

Main office of short-term observation mission of the European Platform for democratic elections during the presidential elections in Ukraine.

 

Joint Press conference of Domestic Observers and International Experts

27 May 2014, at 11.00 (simultaneous translation Ukrainian - English provided)

NEW LOCATION: Building of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, Khreschatik 27a, Kyiv

In times of deeply  strained relations Russian civil society observers have joined Ukrainian colleagues as a sign of solidarity for free and fair elections.

The Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) , the Civil Network OPORA and 200 Russian observers from the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) will present findings and expectations for the future.

Speakers:

Oleksandr Chernenko, Director General of all-Ukrainian non-governmental organization “Committee of voters of Ukraine” (CVU)

Olha Aivazovska, Chairperson of the Board of Civil network OPORA

Janusz Onyszkiewicz, former Minister of Defense, Poland, MEP

Stefanie Schiffer, Secretary of European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE)

Roman Udot, Senior Election Expert, European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE)

 

Location:

International Media Centre

Khreshchatyk 27a, Kyiv

(Buildung of the Union of Journalists of Ukraine (2nd floor, conference hall)

 

CVU and OPORA represent two biggest domestic election observation organisations, which deploy up to 6000 observers to all regions of Ukraine.

Contact to Domestic Election Observers and Experts in Ukraine

Kyiv, 23rd May 2014

Contact to Domestic Election Observers and Experts in Ukraine

We hope that you arrived well in Kiev! We invite you to make the International Media Center your base of operations for your stay here.

We hope that you arrived well in Kiev! We invite you to make the International Media Center your base of operations for your stay here.

The International Media Center offers:

  • Free Workspace with wifi and printer access
  • Direct contact to domestic election observers in Kiev and all Ukrainian regions
  • Contact to Association GOLOS, the independent Russian civil society organization with election observers in Ukraine
  • Interviews with experts on Saturday, 24th May, and Sunday, 25th May
    • Werner Schulz, German Member or EU parliament, expert on Russia-Ukraine-EU
    • Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Former Minister of Defense, Poland, Member of EU Parliament

 

Please contact the International Media Press center to arrange interviews and for any other queries. 

International Media Center

27a Kreschatyk Str., 2nd Floor Conference Hall

Kiev, Ukraine

+380 50 960-94-22

+380 96 397-22-54

+380 93 947-95-80

press-office@epde.org

Hours: 

May 24:  08:00-20:00

May 25:  08:00- (open all day and all night)

May 26-27: 08:00-20:00

Follow us for updates:

Website: www.epde.org

Twitter: @EPDE_org

Facebook: facebook.com/epde.electionsmonitoring

The joint International Media Center “For Fair Elections – 2014!”  is implemented in partnership with the All-Ukrainian Non-Governmental Organization Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU), Civil Network OPORA, and the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) with financial support from the European Union and the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of implementing partners and does not reflect the views of the European Union and the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation.

 

Russian and Ukrainian Election Observers unite in solidarity to observe presidential elections in Ukraine 25 May

Kiyv, 23rd May 2014

The Russian citizens’ observers will contribute to the overall international monitoring of these important elections for Ukraine and Europe. All members of the mission have experience from monitoring elections in Russia on behalf of the renowned Russian election watchdog organization Golos. The Russian citizens’ observers complement the work of the prominent Ukrainian election observation organizations OPORA and Committee of Voters of Ukraine, who already have 6000 domestic observers in activity all over the country. The Ukrainian and Russian NGOs are both members of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE).

 

“This mission is an extraordinary signal of solidarity between Russian and Ukrainian citizens”,  says Lilia Shibanova, Director Golos –“It underscores the citizens’ will to stand together for peace and democracy in both countries”.

850 Russian volunteers have expressed their readiness to observe these elections in partnership with their Ukrainian colleagues. Due to a protracted process of obtaining accreditation from Ukrainian authorities, this mission has been dramatically reduced in numbers so that tomorrow a smaller group of round 150 Russian volunteers will meet their Ukrainian counterparts in 8 out of 25 oblasts.

The observation mission is financially supported by the Open Russia Foundation of Mikhail Khodorkovski, the European Commission and the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation.

The mission will follow international standards for election observation with the aim to support free and fair elections in Ukraine.

9 years prison requested for EPDE board member Anar Mammadli

Baku, 23th May 2014

On 21st May at the Baku Court of Grave Crimes, the state prosecutor requested 9 years prison sentence for Anar Mammadli, chairman of EMDS (Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre) and EPDE board member, 8 years 6 months for his deputy Bashir Suleymanli and 8 years 6 months for Elnur Mammadov, Director ICV. Anar Mammadli and Bashir Suleymanli face charges under Articles 179.3.2 (appropriation in significant size), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship by an organized group), 213.1 (tax evasion), 308.2 (abuse of official authority with grave consequences) and 313 (service forgery) of the Criminal Code. Elnur Mammadov, in addition to the same set of charges, also accused of committing crimes under the 3 clauses of the Article 179 (same acts committed repeatedly, by a person with use of service position and with causing of damage in significant size).

EPDE and its member organization EMDS consider the request of the prosecution groundless and unjust, and demand the court to discontinue the criminal case against Anar Mammadli, Bashir Suleymanli and Elnur Mammadov. This trial is a reaction to EMDS' critical assessment of the Presidential elections in October 2013, an attempt to destroy independent and critical citizens’ election observation in Azerbaijan and a proof of political discrimination that dominates the judicial system of Azerbaijan.

The Republic of Azerbaijan has just taken the chairmanship of the council of ministers of the Council of Europe. We appeal to all member states of the Council of Europe to protest this unacceptable violation of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Anar Mammadli is in pre-trial detention since 16 December.  Amnesty International Organization considers Anar Mammadli to be a prisoner of conscience.

Next court hearing is scheduled for 26th May, 10.30 am at the Baku Court of Grave Crimes.

Read the statement of EPDE member EMDS here:

EPDE, OPORA, CVU: Joint Press Conference "Preparations for elections - Expectations for Election Day"

Preparations for elections - Expectations for Election Day

Joint Press Conference, May 23, 1 pm

Venue: International Media Center

27a Khreshatyk street

(5 min walk from Maidan in the Building of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, 2nd floor)

Answers to journalists' questions will be given by:

  • Andriy Magera, Deputy-Head of Central Election Commission (CEC), tbc.
  • Oleksandr Chernenko, Director General of all-Ukrainian non-governmental organization “Committee of voters of Ukraine” (CVU)
  • Olha Aivazovska, Chairperson of the Board of Civil network OPORA
  • Anton Geraschenko, Counsellor of the Minister of Internal Affairs

Consecutive Ukrainian-English interpretation provided.

CVU and OPORA represent the two biggest domestic election observation-organisations, which deploy up to 6000 observers to all regions of Ukraine.

Contact information:

+380 50 960 9422

+380 96 397 2254

+380 96 552 0134

press-office@epde.org

 

Joint international media center for analysis and consulting “For Fair Elections – 2014!” is realisedin framework of aproject which is implemented in partnership with the All-Ukrainian Non-Governmental Organization Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Civil Network OPORA, and the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) with financial support from the European Commission and German-Polish-Foundation. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of implementing partners and does not reflect the views of the European Union.

The CEC of Ukraine refused the accreditation of EPDE mission

Kyiv, 19th May 2014

Official note by the EPDE Mission Council monitoring presidential elections in Ukraine.

On Monday May 19th, the Central Election Commission of Ukraine issued accreditation for observers from international organizations. To our great disappointment, our mission has not received the expected accreditation.
We disagree with the decision of the CEC. Together with our Ukrainian partner OPORA, we have brought the decision by CEC to court. Anyway, due to shortage of time, we will not be able to organize your training and observation in the initial scope, even in case of the positive outcome. Therefore, we propose the following solution:
Those of you who have not paid for the tickets to Ukraine at the time of reading this newsletter can  make plans for the rest of this week at home. We cannot organize your participation in the mission. We are very sorry that you had to spend your time filling out a questionnaire for the Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine and to worry about your accreditation.
Those of you who have booked the tickets as instructed by your regional coordinator before this message was published will be contacted by the coordinators to clarify the situation and to determine further action. You can also contact them. The mission will take measures to either to ensure your participation or compensate for your financial losses.
We will get the court decision on 21st or 22nd May and immediately inform you.
Council Mission EPDE

Civil Society Media Center opens in Kyiv

The Media Center will provide news and background information on the conduct of election campaign and the voting day. It will publish press releases and reports based on the findings of several thousand professional and impartial domestic observers deployed in all regions of Ukraine. It will also provide consulting on election regulations, logistic information and trainings on demand.

The findings will be presented at the press conferences by the directors of the CVU, Oleksandr Chernenko and OPORA, Ol’ha Ajvazovska as well as the EPDE secretary, Stefanie Schiffer.  

EPDE political experts, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, former vice-president of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and Werner Schulz, Member of the European Parliament, will stay in Kyiv from 24-27.05 and join the press conferences too.

For interviews please feel free to contact the Media Center.

The schedule of the press conferences at the Media Center will be announced soon.

 

Working hours of the Media Center:

20 – 24 May, 26 – 27 May: 08.00 – 20.00 h

Election Day, 25 May: 8.00 – all day and night

 

Contact:

T: +380 50 960 94 22

T: +380 96 397 22 54

T: +380 96 552 01 34

M: press-office@epde.org

EPDE Civic Experts’ Mission to the Presidential Elections in Ukraine Starts its Field Visit to Ukraine

The Mission is organized by European Exchange (Germany), Stefan Batory Foundation (Poland) and Promo- LEX (Moldova) in the framework of European Platform of Democratic Elections (EPDE) and supported by European Commission and Polish-German Cooperation Foundation.

The EPDE Experts’ team started its activity on April 30 and will continue until June 30, 2014 (covering also the eventual second round of the Presidential Elections) by combining work at distance as well as carrying a field visit to Ukraine in the period May 8 – 15, 2014 in order to get acquainted with the developments of the election campaign.

 

The Experts’ Mission will focus on the following aspects:

  • need-based support and assistance offered to EPDE platform members in Ukraine to run independent election observation efforts
  • analysis/expertise of the main problematic issues related to the electoral policies and legislation in the eve of the Early Presidential Elections in Ukraine.

 

Taking into consideration current specific social-political situation in Ukraine, based on the recommendations made by the Ukrainian EPDE members (Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) and the Civil Network OPORA), the activity of the Experts’ Mission is concentrating on the following specific objectives:

  • Analysis of the impact of the conflicts in the South-Eastern regions of Ukraine on the conduct of Presidential elections;
  • Analysis of the role of the media in the context of the 2014 Presidential elections in Ukraine, particularly from the perspective of the situation of media in the Eastern regions of Ukraine;
  • Monitoring of the conduct of the election campaign, particularly from the perspective of occurrence of such problems as abuse of official position (administrative resources), voters’ bribery, unsatisfactory activity or sabotage of the work of the electoral bodies and law enforcement agencies.

 

During their assignment, the members of the Experts’ Mission will accomplish the following tasks:

  • Analyze the legal framework and the electoral background of the Presidential elections in Ukraine;
  • Review the election observation reports of previous national and international EOM, media and other sources for the identification of the most problematic issues connected to the elections;
  • Conduct field research in Ukraine and hold meetings, interviews or focus groups with relevant stakeholders for an in-depth analysis of the most problematic issues related to the elections;
  • Elaborate tools, guidelines and relevant documents that will be used by the EPDE Expert’s mission during the Election Day;
  • Offer assistance (upon request) to the Ukrainian partners (consultations, analysis of documents, trainings/workshops etc.), including at distance (via e-mail, Skype etc.);
  • Collect relevant information for the reports, statements that will be elaborated in the framework of EPDE;
  • Formulate recommendations that would further improve the law on election of the President of Ukraine;
  • Other relevant tasks.

The findings, conclusions and recommendations of the experts will be presented within public events organized in Kiev and Warsaw, Berlin or Brussels and disseminated by EPDE members in EU and EaP countries.

For more information, please contact the bellow mentioned persons:

 

Stefanie Schiffer,

Secretariat of EPDE / European Exchange

Erkelenzdamm 59, 10999 Berlin

Tel. +49 30 616 71 464 – 0

e-mail: schiffer@european-exchange.org

Nicolae Panfil

Coordinator of the EPDE Experts’ Team

Tel. +372 54083707 (for the period May 8-15, 2014)

Tel. + 373 79381842

e-mail: nicolae_panfil@yahoo.com

EPDE conducts election observation of the upcoming Presidential elections in Ukraine

 

Dear EPDE Members and Declaration of Global Principles Endorsers,

 

European Platform for Democratic Elections is coordinating observation for voting in the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election and invites EDPE members and all Declaration of Global Principles endorsers to participate in this election observation.  

 

The aim of the EPDE is to assist citizens’ election observation in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and in the Russian Federation, and to contribute to democratic election processes throughout Europe.

 

According to its aim, last year EPDE carried out expert missions to observe Presidential election in Armenia, United Day of Voting in Russia, Norwegian Parliamentary Election, Bundestag elections in Germany, Presidential Elections in Georgia, and informational support for citizen observation on Azerbaijan Presidential Election.

 

For registration see HERE

 

Background

First round of the Ukrainian Presidential elections will be held on 25 May 2014. They were originally scheduled to take place on 29 March 2015, but were brought forward following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. The second round, if necessary, is to be held on 15th of June 2014.

 

Mission

Given high public interest to the election and extreme importance of this democratic procedure to restore legitimacy of official authority in post-revolutionary environment, EPDE decided to accompany its ordinary expert mission with international mission of short-term observers invited from interested organizations and groups.

 

The short-term observers (STOs) will be deployed in all 25 regions of Ukraine. In accordance with its aim, EPDE mission will pay special attention for assistance, cooperation and support of local citizen observation efforts.

 

EPDE would secure accreditation for participants of the mission from the Central Election Commission of Ukraine which would provide the legal right to conduct observation. EPDE would also provide training for observers, as well as a manual and forms for Election Day.

 

Official languages of the mission will be Russian and English, period of STO deployment – from 22nd to 27th of May.

 

Depending on received funding, EPDE would provide interpreter services and transportation during E-day, transportation to/from deployment region, lodgings in deployment region, cover cost of tickets to/from Ukraine, and so on. Although, given sacristy of resources, EPDE might provide limited coverage and reimbursement.

 

Information from STOs will be collected and processed by the team of experts.

 

Finally, the mission will held a press-conference and publish a preliminary and final reports to share its findings and recommendations.

 

Invitation to EPDE Members and All Declaration of Global Principles Endorsers

EPDE invites its members and Declaration endorsers to contribute to their election observation efforts for the 2014 Ukrainian presidential elections by recommending EPDE their activists to take part in the mission. Any group of participants with their financial and organizational resources will be welcome.

 

EPDE would greatly appreciate if its members and Declaration endorsers could cooperate in this effort. For any practical details on participation, please contact the EPDE: mission@epde.org.

 

Invitation to Donors and Supporters

EPDE invites any organizations and institutions interested in free and fair elections in general, and in Ukrainian presidential elections 2014 in particular to provide financial, informational and other support for this endeavour.

 

If you want to grant any type of support, please, contact the EPDE secretariat:

Stefanie Schiffer

EPDE Coordinator

Europäischer Austausch gGmbH

Erkelenzdamm 59

10999 Berlin

Tel. +49 30 616 71 464 - 0

Fax: +49 30 616 71 464 - 3

Email: schiffer@european-exchange.org

www.european-exchange.org

 

Ukraine elections 2014: Press release by CVU and OPORA on the first stage of election campaign

 

Kyiv, 30th April 2014: Kyiv, 30 April 2014: Based on the results of a long-term observation during the first stage of election campaign for the 2014 Presidential elections in Ukraine, the two monitoring organisations: the all-Ukrainian non-governmental organisation “Committee of Voters of Ukraine” (CVU) and the Civil Network OPORA came up with their conclusions.

 

According to CVU, in a number of regions, the political situation remains unstable. Activity of illegal paramilitary groups, clashes of pro-Russian radicals with citizens and law enforcement bodies complicate election preparations and may invalidate elections in certain regions. According to the law “On Elections of the President of Ukraine,” election results can be established regardless of the number of precincts where the elections were not held or where voting was declared invalid.

 

In order to provide proper electoral legitimacy, law enforcement bodies should enact additional measures to further ensure voting, including vote tabulation and assessment of voting results in problematic regions (in particular, in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv oblasts).

 

The idea of holding the early presidential elections on the same day as the national referendum should be critically assessed. First, currently, there is no constitutional ground for the acting President to adopt the outcome of such a referendum. Second, the existing wording of the law “On all-Ukrainian Referendum” does not allow the referendum to be held in accordance with international standards, because a number of the Law’s provisions are contrary to the Constitution, and legal regulation of the referendum procedures is very poor. Third, the short period of time from announcement of the referendum to the day of voting does not provide voters with enough time to learn the procedure and issues of the referendum.

 

Anational survey (announced 30.04.2014 by the Prime Minister of Ukraine) will concern issues of national unity, territorial integrity and decentralization. The Prime Minister proposed to hold the survey on election day for the President of Ukraine (25.05.2014). The survey is designed to calm the situation in eastern Ukraine. However, election experts conclude that conducting the survey on the same say as the elections will complicate the procedure of voting and vote counting, as well as the work of election commissions.

 

For these reasons, CVU recommends that the all-Ukrainian referendum not be held on the same day as the Presidential and, in some cases, early (midterm) local elections.

 

Candidates for the President of Ukraine are not conducting active pre-election campaigns.

 

The CVU report is available HERE

 

As for the Presidential races, OPORA states that the candidates seem to understand that Ukrainian voters are focused on important current events, which means that excessive use of traditional advertising may work against the candidates. Therefore, we can conclude that the candidates concentrate their efforts in the central, southern, and eastern oblasts of Ukraine, where they use non-standard campaigning tools.

 

Extremist activities complicate the conduct of election campaigning and create obstacles for the organization of the election process. A large part of the voters are living in fear and are threatened, which complicates their involvement in the electoral campaign. While the socio-political situation is unstable due to military aggression of the Russian Federation, campaigning is often accompanied by manifestation of intolerance, which may cause social conflicts and violence.

 

Local and regional media are not very active in covering the electoral process, limiting their campaign coverage to publication of campaign materials and coverage of the overall context of elections. Materials relating to the presidential campaign are mainly published after the arrival of a candidate to the region and are accompanied by political advertising in the local media. Media focuses primarly on events in Ukraine’s southeastern regions. Placing of political advertising in print media without proper labelling remains a problem, as does the placement of election advertising on the same page with commercial or social advertising. Such cases have been often recorded in Kirovohrad and Zhytomir regions. As a whole, media coverage of events related to the election remains balanced.

 

The conduct of electoral process is stable for the time being, although we continue to observe intensive personnel rotations in district election commissions (DEC). As of 25 April 2014, the Central Election Commission has passed six resolutions on changes in membership of DECs. 819 members of 4,164, or 20%, have been already replaced. The largest number of members was substituted by the following candidates: Nataliia Korolevska – 87 substitutions (41%); Vasyl Tsushko – 81 substitutions (38%); and Vadym Rabinovych – 72 substitutions (40%). However, Renat Kuzmin has substituted the largest percentage of commission members representing him – 60% (49 of 82 persons). Nevertheless, the commissions are authoritative, fulfill their duties, and pass the corresponding decisions.

 

OPORA’s latest news are available HERE. More information at: +380 44 286 26 70, info@opora.org.ua.

First Court Hearing against EMDS held in Baku

 
Baku, 21th April 2014: Baku Court of Grave Crimes dismissed on the first court hearing on April 21st the laywers' petitions to discontinue the criminal case against EPDE board member Anar Mammadli, his deputy Bashir Suleimanli and Elnur Mammadov, Director ICV. The petition to change the pre-trial detention of Anar Mammadli into house arrest was denied as well. Next court hearing is scheduled for April 28 at 11.00 at Baku.
 
Please find a report written by Bashir Suleymanli (EMDS) here.

Free Anar Mammadli ! Chronicle of the arrest

 

On December 16th Anar Mammadli, chairman of EMDS, Baku, and board member of EPDE has been imprisoned for a three months pre-trial detention. Anar Mammadli risks up to five years of imprisonment if convicted. This is an attempt to destroy independent and critical election observation in Azerbaijan one year ahead of the Parliamentary elections and a reaction to EMDS' critical assessment of the Presidential elections in October 2013. Anar Mammadli has to be released immediately!

 

Chronicle of the arrest

 

29 Januar 2014

 

PACE members demand liberation of Anar Mammadli. See Written declaration initiated by Swedish PACE member Tina Acketoft (ALDE): Free Azerbajan's Human Rights Defender and Election Observer Anar Mammadli

 

16 January 2014

 

Statement of Azebaijani President Ilham Aliyev at NATO press conference 15 January 2013 in Brussels, that no political prisoners exist in his country.

 

14 January 2014

 

Petition calling for the release of Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center Chairman Anar Mammadli.

 

6 January 2014

 

International Human Rights Protection Association Statement about arrest of Anar Mammadli.

 

24 December 2013

 

Statement of representatives of Azerbaijan’s civil society.

23 December 2013

 

Amnesty International Public Statement (Freedom of expression, NGOs and Civil Society, Anar Mammadli's case)

 

20 December 2013

 

PACE repporteurs concerned about pre-trial detention of Anar Mammadli (full report available here)

US ambassador to OSCE calls to release Anar Mammadli immediately

EU HR Ashton and Commissioner Füle: Statement on the detention of Mr Anar Mammadli, chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre in Azerbaijan

Civil society organisations of Azerbaijan: Joint Statemetnt of the Civil Societ of Azerbaijan

Head of Norwegian OSCE/PA delegation is concerned over the arrest of Anar Mammadli and fears it is politically motivated

 

19 December 2013


Canadas Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights: Canada Concerned About Detention of Election Monitoring NGO Chairman in Azerbaijan

 

18 December 2013

 

European Parliament:

Open letter to Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

 

Deomratic Institutions and Human Rights Social Union: The government started to arrest active members of civil society in Azerbaijan

Amnesty International: Detained election watchdog chief must get fair trial

OSCE PA: OSCE Parliamentary leaders disturbed by arrest of Azerbaijani election monitor

Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum: Statement on arrest of Anar Mammadli

ENEMO: Letter of support to ENEMO member in Azerbaijan

Marieluise Beck (German Bundestag, Greens): Free immediately prominent human rights defender (DE)

Christopher Staesser (German Bundestag, Social-Democrats): Statement on detention of Anar Maammadli (DE)

US Embassy in Baku: Ambassador Morningstar's Statement on Detention of Anar Mammadli (source: http://azerbaijan.usembassy.gov/)

 

Press

NYT: Arrest of dissident overshadows UK-backed Azeri pipeline deal

Deutschlandradio: Azerbaijan: Kritik ist nicht erwünscht

Frontline Defenders: Human rights defender Mr Anar Mammadli in pre-trial detention for criminal charges

 

17 December 2013

Human Rights House: Head of independent election monitoring group must be released

Norwegian Helsinki Committee: NHC protests against arrest of independent election observer Anar Mammadli in Baku

OSCE/ODIHR expresses concern about the arrest of Mammadli

EPDE issues statement protesting the arrest of Mammadl

 

Press

Contact (AZ): It turnes out that Anar Mamedli rigged elections (last access: 18.12.13)

 

16 December 2013

Anar Mammadli imprisoned for a three months pre-trial detention through the Nasimin District Court in Baku. He faces criminal charges on tax evasion in significant amount, excess of official powers and engaging in illegal business activities and risks up to five years of prison.

Call for Experts for the Presidential Elections in Ukraine

 

In December 2013 European Exchange (Germany), Promo-LEX Association (Moldova) and International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (Georgia), with the financial support of the European Union, have launched in the framework of the European Platform for Democratic Elections a two years project aimed at supporting the democratization of the EaP countries by enhancing the role of civil society organizations in promoting free, fair and democratic elections.

 

In the framework of the project, Promo-LEX Association and partner organizations (Action Management Team, AMT) will deploy an Experts’ Mission to the Presidential Elections in Ukraine, planned to be held on May 25, 2014. It is envisaged that the Experts’ Mission will concentrate on one or both of the following aspects: need-based support and assistance offered to EPDE platform members in Ukraine to run independent election observation efforts and analysis/expertise of the main problematic issues related to the electoral policies and legislation in the eve of the Early Presidential Elections in Ukraine.

 

The AMT is looking to select a team of international experts who will be capable to accomplish the objectives of the project which are described in the attached Terms of Reference.

 

EPDE Experts will work for about one month during the period April 17-June 30, 2014 (this period includes also the eventual second round of the Presidential Elections). Also, representative of the experts’ team may be invited to present the final report in Berlin or Brussels in the course of an international event organized by EPDE. The experts’ team will have to provide to the AMT two short reports on their activity (interim and final reports) as well as to elaborate two analytical reports (interim and final reports).

 

For more details please see here:

PDF (English)   |   PDF (Pу́cский)

Call for Experts for Needs Assessment among Election Observers

 

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (Georgia), European Exchange (Germany) and Promo-LEX Association (Moldova) have launched in the framework of EPDE an assessment of the training and development needs of EPDE members and thus, aim to build the basis for a series of capacity development activities as well as programmatic activities for the EPDE members.The needs assessment shall provide an objective assessment of the situation of EPDE members with regard to their capacities, needs and possibilities of conducting citizen election observation. The needs assessment shall be conducted in April and May 2014.
 
More details here.

STATEMENT of Committee of Voters of Ukraine and Civil Network OPORA on illegitimacy of so-called referendum in AR Crimea

 

On March 6, 2014, Verkhovna Rada of Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol City Council adopted a resolution on so-called referendum on the status of Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. Committee of Voters of Ukraine and Civil Network OPORA state the following:

 

  • Members of Verkhovna Rada of ARC and Sevastopol City Council do not have relevant powers;
  • There is no law on organization and holding of local referendums in Ukraine;
  • Terms of conducting and provisions on organization of so-called referendum do not meet general international standards.

 

Therefore CVU and OPORA, the largest Ukrainian organizations with long-term experience of professional monitoring of elections and referendums in Ukraine, do not recognize the legitimacy of the voting scheduled for March 16 and will not participate in official observation of these processes.

 

Also CVU and OPORA appeal to all Ukrainian, foreign and international organizations, which plan to observe the pseudo-referendum, to refuse from participating in political actions which are beyond Ukrainian and international legal framework. Work in Crimea on March 16 will be perceived as an attempt to legitimize illegal process, which can't be supported by organizations with experience, history and principles.

 

CVU and OPORA emphasize that trust and reputation are priorities in activities of any observation organization. Participation in monitoring of illegal referendum may be considered as politically motivated and biased.

 

The organizations claim that such an instrument of democracy as elections and referendums should be used only within the law and international standards.

 

This statement as PDF (EN)

Ukraine: Amendments to Election Law Needed

 

The election process remains the most efficient and legitimate way for solving crisis. The confrontation between local political elites, electoral and social groups should be stopped. However, only fair elections can be a solution, with procedures and results trusted by all citizens.

 

Today, the major goal is making technical amendments to the Law of Ukraine on Election of the President of Ukraine and securing efficient work of the CEC. Qualitative law and transparent activities of commissions at all levels, proper and wide civic watch, political will of government bodies regarding exclusion of the administrative resource abuses, and efficiently functioning law-enforcement system called to prevent voter bribery, are major challenges of the election campaign.

 

Besides rewarding the law, it's also important that the public together with MPs and the VRU Committee on State Building and Local Self-Government created a comprehensive plan to reform the electoral legislation. It should include the adoption of the Election Code, wide discussion and agreement on the type of electoral system to be used during Parliamentary and local elections, as well as improved procedure of formation and transparent functioning of the CEC.

 

The effective Law of Ukraine on Elections of the President of Ukraine needs urgent technical amendment, in order to avoid abuses during the electoral process and secure its transparency, as well as efficient functioning of election commissions, and equal opportunities for the candidates.

 

The law contains a number of drawbacks, which can hinder holding democratic elections. These drawbacks are:

- Election commission have the right to take decisions by the majority of present members of election commission during voting day and vote count process (it actually can be the third part of the commission);

- Non-governmental organizations don't have the right to conduct civic observation, and therefore cannot secure comprehensive watch over the election process;

- PECs have the right to amend updated voter lists till and during the voting day;

- Absence of distinct requirements for providing citizens the right to vote at the place of residence;

- Absence of the right to vote for citizens who are temporarily residing outside their place of residence during the voting day;

- Obscure definition of the election campaigning, confusion of concepts “election campaigning” and “informing of voters”;

- Unsatisfactory regulation of procedures for repeated voting: changing membership of election commissions, compilation and updating voter lists;

- Only those voters who voted few times at the same polling station are criminally liable. Thus, such regulation of the Criminal Code doesn't impose liability for those voters who voted few times at different polling stations.

 

Taking into consideration that draft amendments to the Law of Ukraine on Election of the President of Ukraine have already been registered in the Parliament (bill #739-VII, drafted by R. Kniazevych), which provides a number of innovations, it can be taken as a basis with the following changes in the technical wording of the transient law:

 

  • To establish the maximum membership of district and precinct election commissions.  The Law of Ukraine on Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine provides only minimum membership of these commissions (12 persons). The experience of previous Presidential elections has shown that the large membership of DECs and PECs destabilizes the voting process and preparation to it. Similarly to the Parliamentary elections, large representation of presidential candidates in election commissions can be secured by drawing of lots in every commission separately. According to OSCE/ODIHR recommendations, based on results of observation during 2010 Presidential elections, election commissions should be smaller in order to secure qualitative organization and conduct of elections.  Besides that, synchronization of regulations of the laws on Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine and on Election of the President of Ukraine, which concern the membership of election commissions, will contribute to securing decision-making practices and observance of the quorum by commission members.

     

  • To allow Ukrainian non-governmental organizations to officially conduct observation and widen their powers. To harmonize the institute of civic observers with the effective Law of Ukraine on the Elections of Deputies, and add the following regulations: 1) to provide the registration procedure for observers, both in the CEC and in DECs, in order to simplify the logistics of documents to the capital, ease the CEC, and, simultaneously, give representatives of civic organizations the official status for attending meetings of the CEC, in contrast to Parliamentary elections; 2) to civic observers the right to sign and express a dissenting opinion in both vote count protocols of PECs and DECs, and results protocol of the CEC.

     

  • In order to increase the transparency of electoral financing, introduce the interim reporting of electoral fund managers of presidential candidates, and secure publication of reports on official site of the CEC. Harmonization of similar norms of the Law of Ukraine on Election of the President of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine on Elections of People's Deputies will strengthen the control over the use of funds and facilitate the unification of electoral procedures in Ukraine.

     

  • In order to avoid the excessive restriction of passive electoral rights of citizens, to decrease the amount of monetary pledge for presidential candidates from two to one thousand of minimum wage. Liberalization of passive electoral right should include the returning of monetary pledge to all presidential candidates, who received more than 10% of votes during elections.

     

  • Include candidate's refusal to participate in TV debates to the list of reasons for issuing warnings by the CEC, as long as it hinders realization of conscientious chose of citizens.

     

  • To establish prohibition on and provide administrative responsibility for election campaigning, spreading campaigning materials, calling to vote "for" or "against" the certain candidates or parties during events, which are organized by state authorities and local self-government, communal enterprises establishments, organizations etc.;  The proposed regulation is aimed to detailing the restriction for intervention of officials into the electoral process, and is already included into the effective Law of Ukraine on Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine.

 

Besides making technical amendments to the Law of Ukraine on Election of the President of Ukraine, the Parliament should urgently consider the formation of the CEC in new membership, or prolong authority of the effective commission to the end of the electoral process.

 

Thus, the effective CEC, powers of 13 members of which terminate on 1 June 2014, will be able to establish and announce the voting results in the first and maybe the second round, and announce the winners. As long as the election process is about to start officially, the risks of changing members of the CEC during the election process are significant. Thus, MPs should openly discuss in the session hall the possibility of prolongation of the commission's powers till the end of election process, or urgently appoint new professional members. During the preparation of the Election Code, the principle of CEC's formation should be considered: a commission of technocrats or a commission created according to the principle of quotas.

 

Civil Network OPORA, Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Media Law Institute, and a number of other NGOs will control and assist to a valuable reform of the electoral legislation. Unfortunately, we have witnessed a number of imitations when the laws were adopted on motives of political expediency. Today, it's extremely important to conduct Presidential elections democratically, to elaborate the electoral system for potential conduction of extraordinary Parliamentary elections, prepare new wording of the law on local elections, and start creating the Electoral Code. It's greatly important that the legislative framework efficiently realize active and passive electoral rights in Ukraine. The Election Code should be adopted till the end of this year.

 

This statement as PDF (EN)

PACE members demand liberation of Anar Mammadli

During the Winter Session from 27-31 January 2014 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expressed its concern on the imprisonment of Anar Mammadli, Chairman of the Azerbaijan election observation organisation EMDS and board member of EPDE. In this context Maryvonne Blondin, a French MP, called for coordinated efforts of the PACE during the upcoming chairmanship of Azerbajan. A written declaration initiated by Swedish PACE member Tina Acketoft (ALDE) urged to immediately release Anar Mammadli from pre-trial detentions and to guarantee a fair and transparent trial.

 

During the plenary session on 27 January Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin, a Swedish MP, raised the question about the poor quality of the Presidential elections in Azerbaijan in fall 2013 and underlined that she was not behind the report of the PACE delegation, although she was a member of the PACE monitoring group in Azerbaijan. She went on to express her frustration with the process in the Ad hoc committee leading up to the report of the observation of the elections in Azerbaijan on 9 October 2013 (link http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/Doc/XrefViewPDF.asp?FileID=20259&Language=EN).

 

EPDE has previously critisised the statement made by the joint PACE and EP delegations the day after the election. (link http://www.epde.org/newsreader/items/epde-concerned-about-ep-and-pace-statement-on-presidential-election-in-azerbaijan.html). Former rapporteur on Azerbaijan, Andres Herkel (Estonia), commented: "It is better not to send an election observation mission if it is so weak".

 

EPDE had a delegation during the first part of the PACE Winter Session in Strasbourg. The group had several meetings, including with the Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks, the current rapporteurs on the monitoring of the obligations of Azerbaijan, Pedro Agramunt and Joseph Debono Grech, and with members of the Delegations.

 

Anar Mammadli, chairman of the election observation organisation EMDS and board member of EPDE was sentenced to a three months pre-trial detention on 16 December 2013 in Baku. EMDS has been conducting independent election observation of all elections in Azerbaijan since 2001 and has published critical statements on the quality of the last Presidential elections in October 2013.

This document as PDF (EN)