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Ukraine (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - November 19, 2012)

Q : The Foreign Affairs Council is meeting today in Brussels, and is notably due to examine the conduct of the recent election in Ukraine. What is France’s position regarding the conduct of these elections? Do you support the idea of penalties, such as visa bans, for those who have committed fraud should the EU ever recognize that there has been widespread fraud?

A : The OSCE’s preliminary report on the elections in Ukraine indicates that although the elections allowed for the expression of true pluralism and there was no widespread fraud in the voting process itself, numerous irregularities in the election process were identified, which constitutes a step backwards compared with previous elections.

The OSCE notes in particular the excessive use of “administrative resources” to the advantage of the ruling party, unequal representation of the parties in the local electoral commissions, a lack of audiovisual media plurality, and a lack of transparency during the results compilation phase. The OSCE also reaffirms that two key opposition leaders were not able to participate in the ballot: former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Minister of the Interior, Yuri Lutsenko, who are both in prison.

We also noted with concern the delay in publishing the final results as well as the incidents that took place during the final stages of the electoral process. France calls on the Ukrainian authorities to shed full light on all reported irregularities and to swiftly address them, in order to guarantee the transparency of the election process and to ensure that it complies with the law and is in line with the will of the electorate.

The final report of the OSCE observation mission will be published in a few weeks. In any event, the quality of the electoral process was one of the 3 EU prerequisites (together with an end to selective justice and the implementation of reforms) for the signing of an association agreement with Ukraine. The issue will be raised at today’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting.



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