KYIV, 11 October 2012 – Walburga Habsburg Douglas (MP, Sweden), the Special Co-ordinator appointed to lead the OSCE election observation mission to Ukraine, today concluded a three-day pre-election visit to the country aimed at assessing the climate ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for 28 October.
“I appreciate the authorities’ openness with respect to their election administration,” said Habsburg Douglas, who was joined by OSCE PA President Riccardo Migliori for the visit. “Elections are a critical time for countries to showcase how they are respecting their OSCE commitments, and we were pleased to accept the invitation to observe here, to have official meetings this week, and now we look forward to returning to observe the final stages of the electoral process.”
President Migliori added: “Ukraine, as chair of the OSCE next year, has a particular responsibility to provide a good example with regard to respecting its election-related OSCE commitments. We look forward to working closely with Ukraine as it assumes this leadership role.”
The delegation met with Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn, representatives from the presidency, foreign ministry and central election commission, as well as NGOs and political parties inside and outside the current parliament.
Authorities denied Habsburg Douglas’ request to meet with leading opposition figures Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko, who remain in prison. She was denied a similar request in March. Ukraine allowed a separate OSCE PA visit to Ms. Tymoshenko in July, after which the Assembly voted to call on Ukraine to “live up to its OSCE commitments for democratic elections by ensuring that all political forces and political leaders, including those who are imprisoned, are able to take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections.”
Election officials in Ukraine have not allowed Tymoshenko and Lutsenko to register.
“Free elections depend on open campaign environments in which leaders of all political groups can have their voices heard,” Habsburg Douglas said. “I am disappointed that I was not afforded the chance to meet in person with Ms. Tymoshenko or Mr. Lutsenko who remain in prison as election day approaches. I consider meeting these figures important to our assessment of the election environment. I will continue to communicate with their supporters and other stakeholders as the OSCE must assess the full political situation in Ukraine.”
The OSCE will have over 600 observers, including more than 110 OSCE PA observers in Ukraine for the parliamentary elections working with several hundred other observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, European Parliament, and the long term observers from OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
This is a press release issued by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The views expressed in this press release do not necessarily reflect those of the OSCE Chairmanship, nor of all OSCE participating States.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is comprised of 320 parliamentarians from 55 countries spanning, Europe, Central Asia and North America. The Assembly provides a forum for parliamentary diplomacy, monitors elections, and strengthens international cooperation to uphold commitments on political, security, economic, environmental and human rights issues.
Communications Director, OSCE PA
+45 60 10 83 80