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Commission Leaders Urge Fair Election Process in Ukraine

Washington – United States Helsinki Commission leaders have introduced House and Senate resolutions to encourage a democratic, transparent, and fair election process for the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine.

Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) has co-sponsored the House resolution with House International Relations Committee Chairman Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL). Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) is sponsor of the Senate resolution which is co-sponsored by Commission Ranking Member Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Senator Joseph R. Biden (D-DE).

“I have been a steadfast supporter of human rights and democracy in Ukraine, and I value independent Ukraine’s contribution to security and stability in Europe,” Chairman Smith said.  “The stakes in the upcoming elections are high, not only with respect to the outcome, but also as a fundamental indicator of Ukraine’s democratic development.”

“The Helsinki Commission, which has long monitored and encouraged human rights, rule of law and democracy in Ukraine, continues to be a stalwart supporter of Ukraine’s development as an independent, democratic and market-oriented state,” said Co-Chairman Campbell. “It is abundantly clear that a small clique have a vested interest in perpetuating the outmoded status quo. Ukrainian authorities need to radically improve the election environment if there is to be hope for these elections to meet OSCE standards. The question is whether their perceived self-interest will trump the interest of the people of Ukraine.”

“Ukraine remains at a crossroads,” Smith added.  “Developments with respect to democracy have been discouraging over the last few years.  The elections represent a real chance for Ukraine to get back on the road to full respect for the tenets of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.  The United States stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they strive to achieve these essential goals.”

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