Ukraine: Party of Regions wins parliamentary elections
October 28, 2012
The Party of Regions of President Viktor Yanukovych won the parliamentary elections held on 28 October. According to preliminary results, the pro-Russian party secured 186 seats, while the All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland party of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was second with 105 seats. The Party of Regions will likely receive the support of the Communist Party - which garnered 32 seats - along with some independents in order to reach a majority in the 450-seat parliament. The Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms and the ultranationalist Svoboda party also surpassed the 5% threshold necessary to enter parliament. The first session of the new parliament will take place on 15 December 2012. As in previous occasions, the elections were marked by a series of alleged irregularities. International observers did not go as far as denouncing fraud but the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) stated that "parliamentary elections were characterized by the lack of a level playing field, caused primarily by the abuse of administrative resources, lack of transparency of campaign and party financing, and lack of balanced media coverage". In fact, the OSCE declared that this election constituted a step backwards compared to recent national elections.