COPENHAGEN, 8 January 2010 – In a final week of preparation for the observation mission to the 17 January presidential election in Ukraine, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Joao Soares will visit several regions of Ukraine, starting Monday, 11 January.
Mr. Soares is heading the largest observation delegation that the OSCE PA has ever sent to observe an election, with a total of 133 parliamentarians and staff from 32 countries. He has also been appointed OSCE Special Co-ordinator for the election by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.
Travelling to Odesa on 11 January and Donetsk on 12-13 January, Mr. Soares will meet with local officials and regional representatives of Presidential candidates. He also expects to meet with representatives of the election administration in the regions, as well as with other observer groups, before returning to Kyiv.
The President last visited Ukraine in November 2009, when he held meetings with the Central Election Commission Chairman, Volodimir Shapoval, and with presidential candidates including the incumbent President Viktor Yuschchenko; Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko; Chairman of the Parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn; and Viktor Yanukovych; Inna Bogoslovska; Anatoliy Hrytsenko; and Arseniy Yatseniuk. Mr. Soares also met with representatives of the Supreme Court, media and civil society, including domestic observer groups.
At that time, the OSCE PA President called on the Ukrainian authorities to finalize reforms of the electoral legislation, saying clarity was absolutely vital for the voters. He expressed his hope that the campaign would enable all candidates to campaign freely on an equal basis, and that the election would be conducted in a transparent manner. He underlined the importance of effective and careful implementation of the new State Voter Register, particularly in regard to any addition of voters to voter lists on Election Day.
President Soares will observe the voting on Election Day in Kyiv and has appointed deputies to lead OSCE PA observer teams in various regions throughout the country. The OSCE observation mission, comprising both the OSCE PA and OSCE ODIHR, works in close co-operation with parliamentarians from the Council of Europe, NATO, and the European Parliament.