For the Ukrainian 2006 parliamentary elections, the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) has deployed 42 long-term observers covering all oblasts of Ukraine in preparation for 340 short-term observers coming from election monitoring organizations from 15 countries. ENEMO long-term observers focused on the conduct of election campaign, voter registration and activities of election administration ahead of the March 26, 2006 parliamentary election.

While Ukraine will see multi-level elections on March 26th, ENEMO observers will focus on monitoring elections at the parliamentary level. ENEMO’s observation of the pre-election period shows significant improvement from the 2004 presidential elections for campaigning by political parties and blocs. The atmosphere is generally free of pressure, intimidation or harassment against any political parties. In stark contrast to 2004, there have been no reports of centralized misuse of administrative resources and ENEMO observers report only isolated cases of pressure of employees by their local directors or employers. While these cases should be vigorously prosecuted, this marks a significant improvement.

Parties and blocs campaigned primarily through paid media advertisements, televised debates and direct distribution of campaign materials. There were only a few cases when political parties voiced complaints about attacks on campaign workers or campaign tents and on illegal or unethical campaigning against campaign workers and parties. These violations have generally been responded to swiftly by the election administration and the courts.

ENEMO observers note that the Central Election Commission (CEC) functions in a professional, fair, and transparent manner. Since December 2005, the CEC has held 81 meetings, all of them open to observers and the press, during which 1249 rulings were adopted.

However, the conduct of local and regional elections concurrently with parliamentary elections highlights particular organizational challenges.