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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs