Members of a local electoral commission empty a ballot box at a polling station after voting day in Kiev Oct. 28, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
The observation mission, comprised of 422 Canadians, issued a preliminary report on Monday to highlight concerns about the "Ukrainian electoral environment" including the imprisonment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, alleged advantages for the governing party and a lack of administrative transparency.
The report also cites a number of issues including "vote buying" and voter intimidation and suggests "structural and legal reforms" are needed to level the playing field.
"Democratic reform requires an independent judiciary, application of the rule of law, and other reforms that strengthen the political will that is critical for effective scrutiny of government officials and political parties to require they operate fairly, transparently and in the public interest," the report states.
But the head of the Canadian mission, Conservative Senator Raynell Andreychuk, says her team cannot make a final assessment until votes are calculated.
Some observers are responsible for watching how votes are tabulated and will observe if this process complies with Ukrainian law, Andreychuk says.
Andreychuk, a former laywer, judge, ambassador and high commissioner to Portugal, Somalia, Uganda and Kenya, says it is crucial to watch the environment around Ukrainian elections, especially because of bilateral relations. She also says Canada wants to work with the people of Ukraine who want to uphold pillars of democracy.
The observation mission was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and the foreign affairs department.