Individual Election Observers Say Ukraine Election Reflected “Will of the People” While Foreign Ministry Expresses “Surprise” at Clinton Remarks
KYIV, Ukraine, November 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
A number of individual election observers have spoken out to say they found the
results of the recently concluded parliamentary election in Ukraine to have been valid and
legitimate, and reflecting “the will of the people”.
The testimony of eyewitness observers, including the former President of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, contrasts with more negative and sweeping
political statements such as that of U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who claimed
on Wednesday that the election was “a step backwards” for democracy.
“I have read a number of remarks about the fairness of last Sunday’s parliamentary
election in Ukraine, and I noticed that some of them bear little relation to what most
actual observers saw as they travelled around the country. There is a difference between
some of the rhetoric and what we saw on the ground,” said Mevlut Cavusoglu (Turkey),
Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Observation
Mission and Former PACE President.
“I can say that having visited 15 polling stations in Kharkiv last Sunday, together
with my colleague Luca Volonte, head of the EPP Group in PACE, we both found that every
single polling station was calm, professionally well organised, transparent in the
handling of voters and what we consider a rating of “Very Good,” said the former PACE
Mr Cavusoglu added that “most observers assessed the elections as Good or Very Good
and I think that the will of the people was reflected in these elections.”
In Kyiv, the Foreign Ministry said it was “surprised” by Mrs. Clinton’s remarks,
especially since the results were very close to the results of independent exit polls last
“We are surprised at sharply negative assessments of the electoral process in all its
stages made by the representatives of the U.S. Department of State and personally by
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,” the Foreign Ministry press service said in a
statement. The Ministry said it could not understand “on which sources” Mrs. Clinton and
others based their remarks, in particular the claim that the official results announced by
the Central Election Commission are allegedly contrary to the results of exit polls. The
results were actually in line with the exit polls, and the opposition did better than the
exit polls, analysts noted.
Former French transport minister and independent election observer Thierry Mariani of
France also reported seeing “elections in Ukraine that were broadly in line with
international democratic standards.”
Mr. Mariani headed a delegation of 56 parliamentarians and experts from 14 European
countries, of which some 36 members of the delegation were serving European MPs or
Senators, with a further 10 former members of parliament.
In recent days senior officials from the OSCE delegation, in presenting their
post-election report, have made negative remarks about the pre-election atmosphere, citing
issues of transparency and the use of administrative power at a local level.
But analysts note that despite the remarks by Mrs. Clinton, the OSCE Election Day
written conclusions were largely positive, and tend to confirm the views of observers who
were on the ground.
Although OSCE officials such as Audrey Glover and Walburga Habsburg Douglas made
negative remarks about the pre-election atmosphere in Ukraine, the OSCE official report
stated that on election day “the voting process was assessed positively in 96 per cent of
polling stations observed. It was generally orderly and well organised. In polling
stations observed, 73 per cent of PEC chairpersons and 72 per cent of PEC members were
women. Proxies were present in 96 per cent of polling stations observed, and domestic
observers in 44 per cent.”
According to the OSCE report’s section on the actual election “international observers
reported only isolated instances of serious violations such as proxy voting, multiple
voting, or series of seemingly identical signatures on voter lists. The vote count was
assessed positively in all but 24 of the 249 polling station where it was observed. PECs
generally followed prescribed procedures, although there were some minor procedural