International monitors said Monday local elections in Ukraine at the weekend were "well organised" and "democratic" but that Kiev's pro-Western leadership needed to step up efforts to free politics from the grip of powerful oligarchs.
"The elections were competitive, well organised overall and the campaign generally showed respect for the democratic process," the observer mission of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said in a report.
"Nevertheless, the complexity of the legal framework, the dominance of powerful economic groups over the electoral process, and the fact that virtually all campaign coverage in the media was paid for, underscore the need for continued reform," the report said.
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