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October 22, 2010
UKRAINIAN WORLD CONGRESS CALLS FOR FREE, FAIR, OPEN AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE
Elections to the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, local councils and the positions of village, township and city Mayors will be held across Ukraine on October 31, 2010. These are the first nationwide elections being organized and conducted by Ukraine’s new government.
The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) expresses serious concern about the events surrounding the imminent local government elections in Ukraine. UWC adds its voice to the alarm expressed by Ukrainian and international organizations over the undue influence being exerted by governmental structures on the election campaign, including changes to the Law of Ukraine “On Elections of Peoples’ Deputies to the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the Local Councils and Village, Township and City Mayors”, that may result in the elections falling short of international standards. Similar concerns were raised by individual members of the Central Elections Committee (CEC) in a September 23, 2010 open letter to President Victor Yanukovych and by members of the “Batkivshchyna” political party on October 5, 2010, who staged a hunger strike outside of the CEC premises in protest. In an attempt to resolve the critical situation that arose a month before elections, the Council of Opposition parties issued an appeal to international organizations on September 28, 2010. The appeal states that for the elections to be free, fair, open and democratic, the following measures must be taken:
1) The 15-member CEC should be composed of members from all political parties with seats in the national parliament. This requires the appointment of a new CEC and amendment of the law on appointing the CEC’s 15 members so that the 15 political parties in parliament are each allocated a spot on the election commission.
2) Electoral law should allow voting at home only for individuals with documented proof of certified medical conditions. Any voting conducted outside of polling stations should be supervised by no fewer than five members of the local polling station commission. Electoral law should also clearly state that a quorum for decisions made by election commissions on Election Day constitutes a simple majority of all commission members.
3) Territorial and polling station election commissions should be re-formed according to the principle of equal representation, i.e. one commission member per political party, including those not in parliament.
4) Leadership positions in the territorial and polling station election commissions should be open to all political parties running in the elections with equal distribution of quotas for these positions among all parties.
5) Interference of government structures in the internal affairs of political parties should cease immediately. The real local branches of the “Batkivshchyna” party should be registered immediately in Kyiv, Lviv and Luhansk oblasts and duplicate copies of party seals and registration certificates held by former party members should be destroyed without delay.
In accordance with the principle of Rule of Law, UWC calls on President Victor Yanukovych as the Guarantor of Ukraine’s Constitution to heed the aforementioned concerns and ensure the elections are free, fair, open and democratic.
In addition, UWC appeals to all citizens of Ukraine to take responsibility for their state’s future and, by exercising their inviolable right to vote, to make sure their voice counts in electing representatives to the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, local government councils and village, township and city mayors, and to ensure the elections are held according to democratic legal principles.
UKRAINIAN WORLD CONGRESS
145 Evans Ave., Suite 207
M8Z 5X8 Canada
Tel. (416) 323-3020
Fax (416) 323-3250
e-mail: [email protected]