Ukrainian election key to national progress, says OSCE PA delegation in Lviv

2014-EO-Ukraine-Barnett-Lviv-InterviewDoris Barnett (MP, Germany) speaks with the press in Lviv on 15 May 2014.LVIV, 16 May 2014 – In the latest in a series of high-level visits to Ukraine ahead of the presidential election later this month, senior members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly emphasized today in Lviv the importance of holding a fair vote in line with OSCE election-related commitments.

"Being in this old European city, I can only say that Ukraine does not have to come to Europe, it has always been part of it," said OSCE PA Vice-President Doris Barnett, (MP, Germany) who led the team to Lviv. "We want this country to make progress, and we are on your side in this development."

On 15-16 May, Barnett and fellow OSCE PA Vice-President Isabel Pozuelo (MP, Spain) held meetings with representatives of the local and regional authorities in Lviv, including the Deputy Governor of the Lviv region, Volodymyr Kharchuk; the Deputy Mayor of Lviv, Oleg Synyutka; candidates for the presidential election; non-governmental organizations; OSCE long-term observers deployed by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR); and members of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM).

"It is imperative that the 25 May election is held in accordance with European standards, as a first step of a difficult consolidation process," said Pozuelo. "In our opinion, the requirements for holding free and fair elections are in place in the region," she added.

The PA delegates were briefed by ODIHR on the final preparations for next week's election observation. The short-term OSCE observer mission, led by OSCE Special Co-ordinator Joao Soares (MP, Portugal), will be deploying numerous teams of parliamentary observers to various regions of Ukraine.

The delegation also discussed the observations made by the SMM, including on the aftermath of violent incidents earlier this year, possible reasons for the low-key electoral campaign and expected developments after election day.

This week's visit to Lviv follows a number of other trips to various regions of Ukraine that the Parliamentary Assembly has made as part of its ongoing election observation in the lead-up to the 25 May vote.



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