# EODE Press Office / REFERENDUMS IN THE REPUBLIC OF CRIMEA AND SEVASTOPOL: JOINT STATEMENT BY THE INDEPENDENT INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS

EODE - Mission en Crim+йe RAPPORT (2014 03 17) ENGL b

EODE-ЕСДВ
Eurasian Observatory for Democracy & Elections
Евразийский Совет за Демократию И Выборы /
2014 03 17 /

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International Mission of Monitoring of the
Referendum of Self-determination of the
Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol of March 16, 2014.

Following an invitation from the Commission for Elections and the referendums of the Republic of Crimea the international observers deployed an assessment mission to observe preparation and holding of the 16 March 2014 referendums in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.

The observers note that the Commission respected the legal deadlines, confirmed by representative bodies of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, during the technical preparations for the referendums in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.
In spite of tight period of time the referendums were held on proper organizational level. Citizens who have the right to participate in the referendums caused to be informed in proper time about the places of voting and referendum hours, referendums questions and the other key information.

The international standards were full reflected in the established legal referendum procedure, including the right for freedom of voting, equality of voters, secret of voting, open and transparent nature of the referendums, public and international monitoring the way of holding the referendums and counting votes. There is no discrimination or limited right for participating in the referendums or inequality of citizens in this procedure.

The referendums ballots were publicly confirmed by representative bodies of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol and made public in due time. Citizens and civil society had an opportunity to discuss in free manner the referendum`s questions, to stand for and against different options of voting. 

Voting process was held in free manner, the voters were not forced to participate in or ignore the referendum, or to vote for concrete option. Freedom of speech and thought were guaranteed. Personal will of voters was not controlled by the Commission. Referendum administration kept the secret of voting and took all necessary measures for respecting it by the all participants of the referendum.

Equal rights of participants of a referendum were provided during a voting process. According to the approved rules each of them possessed only one voice, and the voice of each of participants of a referendum was equivalent to the other voice.

Representative and executive branches of power, local governments and their officials rendered necessary assistance to the election commissions to implement their functions, cooperating with them on the basis of principle of commission`s independence, non-interference to their activity on the vote process organization.

Questions of the referendums were clear to participants, didn't allow varied interpretation and covered a legal essence of proposed solutions. Participants of the referendums were provided with opportunity to read and understand questions in languages of the main ethnic communities of the Republic of Crimea. It is worth mentioning authenticity of the different language versions of questions contained in the approved the referendums ballots. This fact was confirmed by competent experts and participants of vote.

Location of the electoral centers which were easily available to the citizens and electoral registers corresponded to a population distribution of the Republic of Crimea. Day of rest appointed for carrying out vote gave the possibility to citizens to be in charge of their time to participate in the referendums. 

The time allotted for the referendums was limited by 12 hours. This period of time was enough for providing the possibility to the participants to express their will by personal participation in vote.

All necessary conditions for participation in the referendums for incapacitated persons were provided. To the persons registered in lists of participants, but didn’t have an opportunity to come to vote for health reasons were allowed to express their will at home. 

Inspected by observers premises for vote were equipped by all necessary equipment to maintain comfort conditions both for voters to collect and fill up a referendum ballot and for members of the commissions and observers – to fulfill their functions. The equipment used at electoral centers guaranteed transparency of elections and voting by secret ballot.

Members of election observation mission state the fact that the referendums were held in conditions of access lock to databases of electors. As a result it made difficulties and required extra efforts to check available data and adjust voting process. Above mentioned problems didn’t lead to disorganization of commissions work or violation of the rights of voters.

The observers note that at all inspected electoral centers an unhampered access for observers, international observers and media was guaranteed. All of them were provided with opportunity to see after voting process, examine official documents, and talk with voters. Administration of the referendums in the Republic of Crimea and in the city of Sevastopol created all necessary conditions to conduct independent and non-politically motivated observation of the referendums. 

International Mission of independent international observers considers that voting and counting of votes on the referendums in the Republic of Crimea and in the city of Sevastopol took place in accordance to the international election standards and the approved rules of its carrying, in maintenance of the principles of universal and equal right for participation in the referendums at ballot, principles of openness, publicity, justice and a transparency. The results of referendum are honest and reflect will of participants of a referendum.

EODE Press Office/
Simferopol, Republic of Crimea,
March 17, 2014

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