STRASBOURG, France, December 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called the weekend repeat elections for the Ukrainian parliament "well-ordered", coming in the wake of the government's drive to strengthen election laws and procedures.
The repeat elections - also called by-elections in other nations - were for five seats in the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.
"The delegation noted that the election day was calm at the polling stations it visited. It noted also the well-ordered running of the election during the day," PACE said in a statement Monday.
The PACE mission also praised the reforms the government has undertaken to bring voting in Ukraine into line with international best practices. Just last month the Verkhovna Rada passed a comprehensive legislative package, introduced by the ruling Party of Regions, which sets into law sweeping changes to the way Ukrainians elect their public officials.
"As regards the election legislation, the PACE delegation welcomes the improvements to the election legislation by the Verkhovna Rada adopted in November 2013," the PACE statement continued.
The reform of Ukraine's electoral system has gone beyond legislative measures. Ahead of these repeat elections, 58 District Election Commissioners were in October specially trained under a programme overseen by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in conjunction with Ukraine's Central Election Commission (CEC).
The CEC was singled out for praise by PACE, which noted that it had organised these elections with little preparation time, but had still managed an "orderly" day of voting and counting.
Despite the recent protests in Kiev, opposition parties failed to reap a windfall at the ballot box. Just one Opposition MP was elected in the five constituencies contested over the weekend.
SOURCE Ukraine Monitor