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Friday, October 29, 2010

Ukrainian World Congress calls for free, fair, open and democratic elections in Ukraine

The Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) expresses serious concern about the events surrounding the imminent local government elections in Ukraine.

On October 31, 2010,  the first nationwide elections being organized and conducted by Ukraine's new government. These are elections to the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, local councils and the positions of village, township and city Mayors.

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. They are concerned that the Yanukhovych government is implementing changes which may result in the elections falling short of international standards.

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. 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 by exercising their right to vote and demanding that elections are held according to democratic legal principles.

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