Ukraine’s early was run efficiently and professionally by the electoral authorities, who overcame challenges created by legal procurement rules and deadlines. At the same time, however, political parties replaced a significant number of election commission members at local level as late as election day, undermining the stability and efficiency of their work.
The parliamentary elections took place in the context of ongoing armed conflict and other hostilities in the east of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation, which meant that voting could not take place in Crimea or the regions controlled by illegal armed groups.
Some 35.6 million people were eligible to take part in the elections. The international observers welcomed the fact that the simplified procedure for internally displaced persons, or IDPs, to change their voting address, has now been extended to all voters across the country.
Shortfalls were also noted in the area of media freedom. While the constitution guarantees freedom of expression, the five largest private media groups have a combined audience share of more than 70%, and both their editorial policy and political agenda is determined by the economic interest of their owners. At the same time, the relatively new public broadcasting company is chronically underfunded. The safety of journalists also remains a major concern.
The international election observation mission for the early parliamentary election was composed of 811 observers from 45 countries, including 719 ODIHR-deployed experts, long-term, and short-term observers, 60 parliamentarians and staff from the OSCE PA, 17 from NATO PA, and 15 from the European Parliament.