COPENHAGEN, 17 October 2014 – Kent Harstedt, the OSCE Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission for Ukraine's parliamentary elections, has completed a week-long preparatory visit to Kyiv, Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts.
Harstedt met senior government officials in Kyiv; the Governor of Kharkiv oblast; the leadership of Ukraine's Central Election Commission; district-level election commission officials; candidates from several political parties; long-term OSCE election observers; OSCE monitors; and other interlocutors between 13 and 17 October.
"I am encouraged to see that Ukraine's authorities are working in earnest, despite the difficult circumstances, to give citizens the chance to vote freely and safely across as much of the country as possible. Having seen the difficult circumstances for voters and election officials in parts of the east of Ukraine, I am impressed by their determination to make this a successful election," Harstedt said.
Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina held in competitive environment, but interethnic divide and mistrust remain key factors, international observers say
SARAJEVO, 13 October 2014 – While the 12 October general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina were held in a competitive environment, the interethnic divide was a key factor. The lack of a shared vision in the country’s future and of co-operation among the three constituent peoples continues to hinder the reforms necessary to fully ensure democratic elections, and a growing mistrust in the functioning of democratic institutions endangers stability, international observers said in a statement today. At the same time, candidates were able to campaign freely and fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly were respected.
“Yesterday’s elections demonstrate that Bosnia and Herzegovina has a legal framework sufficient for conducting democratic elections,” said Roberto Battelli, the Special Co-ordinator and leader of the short-term OSCE observer mission. “However, the lack of political will to move beyond the Dayton agreement prevents the country from moving away from the current inter-ethnic divides and towards real progress for the country.”
While the Central Election Commission (CEC) generally administered elections efficiently and enjoyed the confidence of most electoral stakeholders, there were numerous cases of political parties and individual candidates engaging in the trading of positions in polling station commissions to gain greater representation in particular areas. This led to some political imbalance in commissions and reduced trust in the integrity of the process, the statement said.
COPENHAGEN, 9 October 2014 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) underscored the vital contribution of the PA to the OSCE's reform efforts on the 40th anniversary of its founding document at a seminar today in Helsinki.
Kanerva also met with Serbian Foreign Minister and 2015 OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ivica Dacic following the event, for talks that focused on Belgrade's priorities for its leadership of the Organization.
The OSCE PA President offered introductory remarks at the seminar, which was organized by The Finnish Committee for European Security and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs under the theme "OSCE – The Litmus Test of an evolving security community?"
COPENHAGEN, 6 October 2014 – At the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Standing Committee meeting in Geneva on 4 October, the Heads of National Delegations unanimously approved an invitation from Speaker of the Georgian Parliament David Usupashvili, delivered by Georgian Head of Delegation Victor Dolidze, for Georgia to host the Assembly's 25th Annual Session in the summer of 2016. The decision was warmly welcomed by PA President Ilkka Kanerva and Secretary General Spencer Oliver.
"The Georgian Delegation to the PA has long been one of the most active and constructive delegations in our Assembly, and I'm very pleased that they have stepped up to host this important meeting," said Oliver. "I reiterate the need for all participating States to share the load in hosting the Parliamentary Assembly's Annual Sessions, Autumn Meetings and conferences."
Georgia last hosted a meeting of the Assembly in May 2012, when the PA's Economic Conference took place in Batumi, Georgia. Nearly 100 parliamentarians from 34 OSCE countries convened for the three-day conference focused on fostering economic co-operation, sustainable development and stability in the OSCE region.