Kyiv, 25 April 2014 – In accordance with Ukraine’s presidential election law, the election will be deemed to have taken place regardless of the number of polling stations, and even the possible introduction of martial law or state of emergency in some areas will not affect the overall result. This was said by Andriy Magera, Deputy Head of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine, during a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, to dismiss the rumors that Ukrainian presidential election may not happen. At the same time, he added that every effort is being made today to create proper conditions for all citizens of East Ukraine, Crimea and Sevastopol to be able to vote.
In general, the election in Ukraine will be held in accordance with the standard procedures. According to Mr. Magera, this means that either the President will be elected right away or a second round will be held to choose between the two candidates who received the most votes. “We have formed 213 out of 225 district electoral commissions at 213 territorial voting districts. Every single one of them has begun their work. Our next step will be to create polling station commissions. In accordance with the law, presidential candidates have until May 1 to suggest their candidates to form district electoral commissions. The deadline for the formation of district commissions together with the polling station commissions is May 6,” he said.
Despite the fact that several areas in the Donetsk region have been disconnected from the general electoral register, actions will be taken to make sure that polling stations open in the eastern regions of Ukraine and the Ukrainian citizens are able to take part in the election. “As the situation gets back to normal in various localities, we come back to the usual legal framework. The law enforcement bodies are continuing the counter-terrorism operation,” Mr. Magera said, “our ultimate task today is to make sure that voting takes place at every last station, including the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. As for Slovyansk and Kramatorks, I remain optimistic and hope that we still have enough time before May 25.”
A.Magera also believes that because Crimea and Sevastopol have been and still are part of Ukraine (as stated in the Constitution of Ukraine and as recognized by the international community), the Ukrainian government should take actions to secure voters’ rights in these areas. In accordance with the law, voting does not take place in the temporarily occupied territories. However, a voting procedure is in place to secure the voting rights of Ukrainians living in Crimea and Sevastopol. They can file an application with the register authorities in the mainland Ukraine (more than 600 of them have been formed) requesting to vote at any polling station of their choice. The application should be submitted not later than 5 days before the voting day. In contrast to the residents of other areas who are, for various reasons, unable to vote where they live (e.g. due to business trips, vacations etc.), the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol do not have to provide any confirming documents.
Commenting on the distinguishing features of the upcoming election, Mr. Magera said that the election process is affected by terrorist actions in certain locations which he referred to as the external influence factor. At the same time, he expects that there won’t be nearly as many problems with electoral fairness and transparency as there were in 2010. “No a single complaint has been received at the Central Election Commission so far. This means that the participants of the electoral process are trying to comply with electoral legislation and refrain from breaking the campaign rules. Also, there are no apparent violations on the part of electoral commissions,” summarized Mr. Magera.
Andriy Yosypovych Magera has been the Deputy Head of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine since 2007 and a member of the Commission since 2004. He is an Honored Lawyer of Ukraine.