Approximately 3 million people couldn’t vote in the Donbas region, neither could Ukrainians living and working in Russia since the Ukrainian Embassy didn’t open the planned voting stations. Moscow thinks that 7 to 10 million of Ukrainian citizens didn’t have the chance to participate in the electoral process. “This problem had an enormous influence in yesterday’s elections”, said the president of the observation mission from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Michal Szczerba during a press conference on April 1st.
The 2019 presidential election in Ukraine is unique for several reasons. First, it takes place amid a civil war. Second, notwithstanding the civil war, the electoral campaign is very competitive. The competition does not concern politicians or their electoral programmes but is centred around a degree of false statements by candidates. There was hardly a case before whereby the Central Electoral Commission’s -system presented data on 50% of processed ballots by 9am the day following the election.
The ODIHR Election Observation Mission's Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions does not support allegation about large-scale electoral fraud. The document describes various procedural problems and irregularities however does not report about wide-scale falsifications which could significantly distort the actual voting results. "Election day was assessed positively overall and paves the way to the second round", according to the Statement.
The fact that the first round of elections was held without crucial violations is confirmed by various international organisations. The OSCE PA Election Observation Mission in Ukraine has declared that the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was competitive, and citizens had the opportunity to freely express their will. “We can admit that there were definitely competitive elections and the opportunity to vote for the candidate the citizens wanted to elect was provided”, the OSCE Special Coordinator, OSCE PA Honorary President Ilkka Kanerva said.
Following the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine, the same position was announced by the Head of the EP election observation delegation Dariusz Rosati. According to him, these elections were definitely competitive, since no candidate could be clearly identified as the likely winner.
The Canadian Election Observation Mission in Ukraine also considers the elections as fair. A press release of the Canadian Mission says that Ukraine’s highly competitive presidential election meets international standards.