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OSCE parliamentarians to observe Ukraine presidential election

OSCE parliamentarians to observe Ukraine presidential election

PanARMENIAN.Net - A delegation led by senior OSCE parliamentarians will observe Ukraine’s presidential election on May 25 and provide leadership for the OSCE's short-term observer mission.

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter has designated Joao Soares (MP, Portugal) as Special Coordinator of the mission. Makis Voridis (MP, Greece) will serve as Head of the OSCE PA Delegation, which is expected to include some 100 parliamentarians from a wide range of OSCE participating States, the OSCE said in a press release.

OSCE parliamentarians will make several pre-election visits to Ukraine, including an initial visit scheduled for 26-29 March. Soares and Voridis will lead the visit and will be accompanied by OSCE PA Vice-President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland), OSCE PA Secretary General Spencer Oliver and Programme Director Anna Chernova. Meetings are expected with Acting President of Ukraine and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Turchynov; Acting Prime Minister Arsenii Yatseniuk; Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Andriy Deschytsya; the Ukrainian Delegation to the OSCE PA; the Central Election Commission; and representatives of civil society.

Members of the delegation to observe the presidential election will deploy to polling stations across Ukraine, working closely with long-term observers from OSCE/ODIHR and in co-ordination with colleagues from PACE and other partner institutions.

The mission will assess the elections against democratic commitments contained in the OSCE’s 1990 Copenhagen Document.

“Just months after the violence on Maidan and amid violations of the country’s territorial integrity, Ukraine’s leaders and institutions face the challenge of organizing an election that will be one of the most important in the country’s history. Ukraine must rise to the challenge, and we hope to observe an election that is free, fair, and peaceful,” said Special Coordinator Soares.

Voridis, the Head of the OSCE PA Delegation for the Ukraine mission, added, “I look forward to our pre-election visits to Ukraine, which will allow us remain informed of the situation on the ground and chart the country’s progress in preparing for May 25. A democratic, well-run election would have enormous potential to stabilize the situation in the country and Ukraine’s citizens and leaders must seize this opportunity.”

Joao Soares is a former two-term president of the OSCE PA and has been an OSCE parliamentarian since 2002. He is currently the Deputy Head of the Portuguese Delegation to the Assembly and holds several committee positions. He has led or participated in more than 30 observations and served as Special Coordinator of the OSCE short-term observer missions for the first and second rounds of Ukraine’s presidential election in January 2010.

Makis Voridis is currently Chair of the OSCE PA Committee on Political Affairs and Security and Head of the Greek Delegation to the Assembly. Since joining the OSCE PA in 2009, he has observed several elections throughout the former Soviet Union.

The May 25 vote will be the 12th Ukrainian election that the OSCE PA has observed.

Since 1993, more than 5,000 OSCE parliamentarians and staff have observed more than 130 different elections in more than 30 countries.

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