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United States
of America

Vol. 153 Washington, Friday, October 5, 2007 No. 52

House of Representatives




Friday, October 5, 2007

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Madam Speaker, as Chairman of the Helsinki
Commission I rise to introduce a resolution congratulating the
Ukrainian people for the holding of free, fair and transparent
parliamentary elections on September 30, 2007. These elections were
held in a peaceful manner consistent with Ukraine's democratic values,
and in keeping with that nation's commitments as a participating State
of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
While there were some shortcomings, these elections stand in contrast
to the vast majority of elections that have taken place in the
countries of the former Soviet Union over the course of the last 15
years. Tone Tingsgaard, the Special Coordinator of the short-term
election observers for the International Election Observation Mission
(IEOM) and Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, stated
that these elections were conducted ``in a positive and professional
manner.'' The OSCE-led IEOM's preliminary statement concluded that the
elections confirmed an open and competitive environment for the conduct
of the election process and that freedom of assembly and expression
were respected. IEOM observers assessed the voting process as good or
very good in 98 percent of the nearly 3,000 polling stations visited,
notwithstanding some shortcomings, notably with respect to the quality
of voter lists, and the vote count was assessed as good or very good in
94 percent of the IEOM reports.

These pre-term elections did not come about easily, coming on the
heels of a political crisis that engulfed Ukraine's president, prime
minister, and parliament for several months earlier this year. These
political disputes were rooted in weak constitutional delineations of
the powers of the president and prime minister. After weeks of tense
standoff, however, agreement was reached on May 27 stipulating new
parliamentary elections for September 30. Now that the elections have
concluded, it is my hope that Ukraine's political leaders will form a
government reflecting the will of the Ukrainian people as expressed by
the results of the elections; a government that advances political
stability and democratic development. It is my hope, too, that the new
parliament and government will focus on the constitutional framework,
especially the question of separation of powers, in order to avoid the
political uncertainty that we witnessed earlier this year. Ukraine also
needs to further undertake the hard work of strengthening the rule of
law, including an independent judiciary, and fighting corruption.
Madam Speaker, the conduct of these elections is a testament to the
Ukrainian people's determined path towards the consolidation of
democracy as Ukraine advances its integration with the Euro-Atlantic
community. As such, Ukraine serves as a model for the post-Soviet
countries, all too many of which have unfortunately retreated to heavy-
handed authoritarianism.

This House can pride itself on having been a staunch supporter of
freedom, human rights and democracy in Ukraine for many years--even
before the restoration of Ukraine's independence in 1991. As this
resolution underscores, it is important to continue our efforts to the
further development of a democratic system in Ukraine based on the rule
of law, a free market economy, and consolidation of Ukraine's security
and sovereignty. I urge my colleagues to support this timely




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The U.S. Delegation visits the Svalbard Ground Station in Longyearbyen, Norway on July 11, 2010. Pictured here are Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Congressman Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), and U.S. Ambassador Barry B. White.