News / Europe

European Observers Give Ukraine Election Stamp of Approval

International observers from the Organization for European Security and Cooperation give a press briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 26, 2014.
International observers from the Organization for European Security and Cooperation give a press briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 26, 2014.
While fighting continues in parts of eastern Ukraine, a majority of voters in rest of the country expressed their will at the ballot box in Sunday’s presidential election - which, according to European election observers, largely met international standards.

It was one of the largest election observation teams European authorities have assembled to monitor an election - more than a thousand observers were fielded by the Organization for European Security and Cooperation, or OSCE. And the head of the mission, João Soares, along with European parliamentarians, gave his verdict.

“As you have heard, the international observers recognize these elections as proper and decent," said Soares.

The Portuguese politician decried the sabotage of the elections by separatists in Ukraine’s two easternmost provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, where pro-Russian insurgents managed to stop any voting in 24 out of 34 polling districts. But he insisted that the outcome of the vote should be respected, noting that the turnout of 60 percent across the country was higher than the turnout for Sunday’s European parliamentary polls in 27 countries.

“Of course there were problems in Donetsk and in Luhansk, but the turnout in all of Ukraine is much better than the turnout of the elections that occurred the same day to the European parliament. I was a member of the European Parliament. I would be very proud to have this turnout in my own elections," he said.

It remains unclear still how many easterners did manage to vote.  One estimate on Sunday by Ukraine’s election commission put the turnout at 9 percent in Donetsk, where separatists abducted election officials, threatened poll workers and forced the closure of polling stations.

The OSCE, the main outside group monitoring Sunday’s presidential race, said the election was characterized by "high turnout and the clear resolve of authorities to hold what was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and with a respect for fundamental freedoms.”

The OSCE report also said voting and counting procedures were transparent and that candidates were able to campaign freely. It notes that at 98 percent of polling stations observed outside eastern Ukraine voting was orderly and well organized.  

But the OSCE said the early tabulation of the vote was at times chaotic, partly because of a virus buried by separatists in the election commission’s computer system.

For all of the problems in the east, European parliamentarians said the fact that billionaire Petro Poroshenko won an outright victory in the first round of voting, doing away with the need for a June run-off, illustrates the legitimacy of his election, proving that he is backed by most of the country.

Swiss politician Andreas Gross says the separatists failed to undermine the vote's legitimacy.

“Legitimacy is the product of an election which is a nationwide effort and you can’t hinder in two provinces," said Gross.

The European politicians say they hope Poroshenko can launch talks to heal national divisions and to resolve the insurgency in the east.

Dialogue may be all the harder after separatists seized Donetsk's airport Sunday night, however, prompting an airstrike Monday by the Ukrainian military.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
May 26, 2014 9:25 PM
Oh and by the way, if armed gunmen separatists occupied the Kremlin Putin would have them shot dead, each and every one of them.

Kudos for Ukraine stomping out these terrorists, that chose not to want to deal with the new government diplomatically.

In Response

by: dale from: santa cruz mts
May 27, 2014 10:29 AM
The "new government" is the result of an illegal violent overthrow of the elected government. Calling those who oppose fascist coups "terrorists" is just like Hitler calling anyone who opposed him a terrorist. The terrorists are now in power, having chased the elected President out with violence and impeaching him illegally with lack of a quorum. The "new" government is just the same oligarchy which destroyed Ukraine's economy and democracy. Holding elections while a civil war goes on is apparently wrong in Syria but right in Ukraine.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid