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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid