aaus-list @ ukrainianstudies.org -- [aaus-list] Ukraine election monitoring report of former U.S. Congressmen (fwd)

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2004 20:57:53 -0400
From: Vera Andrushkiw <vandrushkiw@usukraine.org>
To: vandrushkiw@usukraine.org
Subject: Ukraine election monitoring report of former U.S. Congressmen

Dear Friends,

In July 2004, five U.S. Congressmen traveled to Ukraine as official
election observers to monitor election activities in the Kharkiv,
Poltava, and Sumy oblasts.  Their findings are noted in their July
report.  Please see attached.   I have also attached an executive
summary of their report and findings.

For additional information about the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation's Election
Monitoring Project, please don't hesitate to contact me at the contact
information below.


Vera Andrushkiw & Miriam Bates

U.S.-Ukraine Foundation

733 15th St. NW - Suite 1026

Washington, DC 20005

Phone: (202) 347-4264

Fax: (202) 347-4267

Email: miriam@usukraine.org

Website:  <http://www.usukraine.org/> http://www.usukraine.org

Former U.S. Congressmen’s Monitoring Delegation to Ukraine

July Report – Executive Summary

Significant irregularities and improprieties have been found in the
on-going presidential campaign in Ukraine by an election monitoring
delegation of former Members of Congress in the Kharkiv, Poltava, and
Sumy oblasts.  

Five former U.S. Congressmen – John Conlan (R-AZ), Arlen Erdahl
(R-MN), Jack Hightower (D-TX), Gregory Laughlin (R-TX), Andrew Maguire
(D-NJ), and Tom Sawyer (D-OH) – traveled to Ukraine on July 25-31,
2004 to monitor presidential election campaign activities in the region.
 The communities visited were:  Kupiansk, Merefa, and Vovchansk in the
Kharkiv oblast; Chutove, Dykanka and Karlivka in the Poltava oblast; and
Lebedyn, Okhtyrka and Trostianets in the Sumy oblast.  These former
congressmen were registered by the Central Election Commission (CEC) of
Ukraine and accorded all the rights and privileges provided to foreign
observers by Ukraine’s law on presidential elections. 

Ukraine is a signatory of the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe (OSCE) and therefore welcomes international observers to help
secure a free and fair election.  The congressmen’s election
monitoring activities included meetings with representatives of the main
political parties, Ukrainian government officials, Central Election
Committee, and U.S. officials in Kyiv.  In the regions, the congressmen
met with local government officials, representatives of NGOs, political
parties, the media, and citizens, who shared their views and experiences
of the political process in their respective communities.

Key findings of the first delegation to the Kharkiv, Poltava, and Sumy

Generally, in the communities visited, local officials were very
cooperative and generously shared their time and opinions with the
delegation. Local officials provided space for meetings and assisted in
extending invitations to representatives of political parties, media,
and NGOs to meet with the delegation.  The delegation does note,
however, that there were occasions when opposition parties were not
informed of the meetings and, thus, were denied an opportunity to
express their views and have their respective cases heard.

In conversations with participants in the meetings attended and in
conversations with ordinary Ukrainian citizens, the delegation was
appalled to find that an overwhelming number do not expect the outcome
of the election to be fairly decided.  Those that hold this view often
reply that the outcome has already been determined and that the vote
count will support that determination. Independent polls verify that
around 70% of the population believes this. That reinforces the view
that every effort must be made by observers to ensure that the vote
count is accurate and fair. 

While the delegation cannot investigate the allegations made, it does
note with deep concern the repeated allegations of the systematic use of
the government’s administrative resources to bring pressure upon
voters to support the candidate endorsed by government authorities. 
These reports are too numerous, consistent, and from too many different
locations to be set aside; in fact they appear to the delegation to
constitute a pattern of officially sanctioned political activity by
government employees that is in violation of Ukraine's law on
presidential elections.  The delegation is very concerned about these
reports and appeals to the Ukrainian government to ensure that all local
government officials strictly adhere to the law.  Allegations include:

threats regarding loss of jobs predominate

police preventing buses and automobiles from traveling to opposition

forcing government workers, teachers, and hospital workers to sign
petitions for pro-government candidate, Viktor Yanukovych

forcing regional councils to pass resolutions in support of Yanukovych

teachers and agricultural workers given quotas to collect signatures for
Yanukovych, under threat to lose vacation time or jobs

students pressured to distribute Yanukovych literature

even patients have been threatened with discharge from hospitals and
denial of medical services if they fail to sign and pledge to vote for

In every community the delegation visited, they were greeted with hope
and anticipation of a brighter tomorrow. They welcomed contact with the
wider world and were anxious to host foreign visitors to show off their
country and its potential. They deserve an opportunity to go to the
polls and freely express their views and to be secure in the knowledge
that all their votes are counted accurately in accordance with the law
of Ukraine.

The delegation is a fact-finding mission and will report its findings to
Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, the U.S. Government, European
governments, international organizations and the public through release
to the mass media. The delegation does not support any candidate or
political party and is only interested in helping ensure that the
presidential election is free and fair.

Programming is organized by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF), in
partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress
(USAFMC) and is funded by the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID).  

The Foundation’s second delegation traveled in August to the Cherkasy,
Kyiv, and Kirovohrad oblasts and also included parliamentarians from
Spain and the Netherlands.  The third delegation, comprised of
congressmen and a former member of the German Bundestag, traveled to the
Kherson region during the week of September 19-25, 2004 to observe
election campaign activities in the Kherson, Mykolayiv, and Zaporizhzhya

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