BRUSSELS, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Ukraine's Oct. 28 parliamentary election was marred by a delayed vote count and other irregularities, the European Union said on Monday.
The criticism by the bloc – which has frozen a trade deal
with Ukraine because of concerns over the country’s political
and justice systems – came a day after final election results
showed the ruling party would likely keep its grip on
President Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions remained
the biggest party in the 450-seat parliament, gaining an overall
185 seats, but was thought likely to retain control with support
from communists and independents.
“We express our concern about the conduct of the post
electoral process, which was marred by irregularities, delays in
the vote count and lack of transparency in the electoral
commissions,” EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and
enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule said in a statement.
The EU comments came on top of earlier criticism of the
build-up to the election and the vote itself.
Other problems alresady identified in a report by the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe ranged from
biased media coverage to a lack of transparency in financing.
The European Union and Ukraine initialled an agreement in
March on greater political and economic integration, including
trade, investment and movement of capital.
But the 27 EU governments and the European Parliament have
yet to sign the accord because of concern over the former
Soviet country’s elections, judicial system and arrest of
The election took place while the country’s most prominent
opposition leader, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko,
served a seven-year sentence for abuse of office and awaited a
new trial on charges of tax evasion and embezzlement.
After opposition rallies complaining of a crooked vote
count, election authorities announced a re-vote in five
individual electoral districts.
(Reporting By Sebastian Moffett; Editing by Andrew Heavens)