Ukraine election ‘free and fair’, MEP delegation says

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Sunday’s parliamentary election in Ukraine was conducted in line with international standards, according to a team of MEPs that monitored the polls across the country.

The EU delegation said that the voting process was “very positive”, in am election seen as breaking Ukraine from its Soviet past and turning it towards European integration.

“This is the first post-Maidan Verkhovna Rada. There is no doubt about the legitimacy and the free and fair elections that have taken place,” said Hungarian MP Andrej Plenkovi. Chair of the Parliament’s Election Observation delegation. “I think that in that respect we should praise the Ukrainian authorities. 52% (turnout) is even from many European states point of view very solid.”

MEPs praised the Ukrainian authorities for trying to enable citizens in eastern Ukraine, an area under rebel control, to exercise their voting right.

However, the Parliament’s team pointed out potential improvements in the electoral process, after visiting polling stations in Kiev and other cities across the country and observing the counting of votes.

“On a technical level, there are a number of improvements to be done, whether it is the legislative framework or the technology of the campaign or the electoral process or the media context. But our general impression has been positive,” Plenkovi said.

Western leaders claim that the result in Ukraine is a victory for democracy. Moscow says they don’t want Kiev “to preserve the split in society”.

And as for Ukraine, they face two big challenges: an economy that is expected to continue shrinking and an armed conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in the east still ongoing.