Media Contact: Dorothy Douglas Taft
(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a briefing to examine the pre-election conditions in Ukraine ahead of the country’s presidential election run-off set for November 21.
Ukraine’s Presidential Election: The Turning Point?
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
2255 Rayburn House Office Building
Former U.S. Rep. Jim Slattery, member of the Association of Former Members of Congress/U.S.-Ukraine Foundation election monitoring delegation to Ukraine.
Ambassador Nelson Ledsky, Senior Associate and Regional Director, Eurasia Programs, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
Taras Kuzio, visiting professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University and author of numerous articles about the Ukrainian elections.
Ukraine’s presidential election is the most important event in Ukraine since independence was achieved in 1991. The contest, pitting democratic opposition leader Victor Yushchenko against Prime Minister Victor Yanukovich in a November 21 run-off, represents a potential turning point for Ukraine.
The OSCE Election Observation Mission, with more than 600 international observers, concluded that the October 31 first round, in which no candidate garnered the required majority, did not meet a considerable number of OSCE standards for democratic elections, representing a step backward from the 2002 elections. Both the election campaign and vote were seriously flawed.
Despite the profound lack of an even playing field and numerous abuses and blatant violations which disadvantaged Mr. Yushchenko and his campaign, the Central Election Commission today announced him the winner of the first round with 39.87 percent of the vote against Mr. Yanukovich’s 39.32 percent.
The November 21 runoff will determine whether Ukraine fulfills its quest for democracy and integration into the Euro-Atlantic community or maintains its corrupt status-quo drifting increasingly toward an authoritarian system along the Eurasian model.
An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission's web site at http://www.csce.gov within 24 hours of the briefing.
The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.