President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) and Treasurer Doris Barnett (MP, Germany) have wrapped up a two-day visit to Kyiv where they were on a pre-electoral visit ahead of the observation mission to be deployed for the 31 March presidential election.
The OSCE PA delegation, which included Secretary General Roberto Montella and Special Representative Ambassador Andreas Nothelle, met with Andriy Parubiy, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada and the Head of the OSCE PA Delegation Artur Gerasymov. They held talks with presidential candidates Yulia Timoshenko, Yuriy Boyko and MP Svitlana Zalishchuk representing Anatoliy Grytsenko.
The PA delegation took note of concerns regarding the campaign including allegations of misuse of state resources and vote-buying. Tsereteli and Barnett said that every allegation needs to be fact-based, substantiated and addressed to the appropriate state bodies. They praised the co-operation they have received and encouraged all authorities and stakeholders to send a clear signal that electoral violations will not be tolerated.
“It has been five years since the momentous Euromaidan events of February 2014 and all of the tragic developments that followed, including the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing military conflict in eastern Ukraine,” said President Tsereteli. “Holding a competitive, peaceful and well-administered presidential election next month is vital to advance the democratic development of Ukraine and promote stability and security in the OSCE region.”
“We look forward to continuing our strong co-operation with the authorities in Ukraine as we prepare to deploy a robust observation mission for this important election,” said Barnett. “The circumstances in Ukraine present particular challenges to holding elections and to observing elections. From our side, we will diligently follow the process and provide a fair and solid assessment.”
Meetings were also held with Tatyana Slipachuk, Chair of the Central Election Commission; Ambassador Peter Tejler, Head of the ODIHR election observation mission; Ambassador Henrik Villadsen, OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, as well as representatives of the international community, civil society and the media. The PA delegation lauded the PCU’s efforts to assist Ukraine in ensuring that the elections are in line with international standards and to advance a broad package of reforms.
President Tsereteli appointed Barnett to lead the PA’s delegation of observers to the 31 March election and President Emeritus Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) was nominated to serve as Special Co-ordinator. It is expected to be one of the biggest election observation missions the OSCE PA has ever deployed. The PA has previously observed 12 elections in Ukraine.
By Hafsa Gulnur Erdogdu