Assessment of the Pre-Election Environment for Ukraine’s Local Government Elections

Introduction

This statement is offered by two international pre-election delegations organized by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), to assess the electoral environment in Ukraine in advance of the October 31 local elections.   

From October 3 through October 7, 2010, the NDI delegation, consisting of civic and political leaders from the U.S., Canada and Europe, met with party leaders, senior government officials, election authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and representatives of the media in Kyiv. During this same period, electoral experts from IFES met with a range of electoral stakeholders, including representatives from the Central Election Commission, Territorial Election Commissions, domestic election observation organizations, political parties, candidates, and international organizations. 

The delegations seek to offer an impartial assessment of the electoral environment in light of Ukrainian laws and international standards and to demonstrate the support of the international community in democratic elections. The delegations conducted their activities in accordance with the laws of Ukraine and the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, which embraces the principles of noninterference, impartiality and professionalism for international election observers and is endorsed by 35 intergovernmental and international organizations, including IFES and NDI. 

In particular, NDI and IFES welcome President Victor Yanukovych’s pledge to ensure that these elections, the first since he took office, are democratic.  This statement is offered in the spirit of assisting in that effort.  NDI and IFES do not seek to interfere in the electoral process, however, and recognizes that it is the Ukrainian people who will ultimately determine the credibility and meaning of the October elections as well as any future changes to the electoral process.  

NDI and IFES wish to express their appreciation to the United States Agency for International Development, which has funded the work of these assessments and has supported the organizations’ democracy assistance programs in Ukraine. The delegations also express their appreciation to the government of Ukraine for its invitation to observe pre-election preparations as well as to everyone with whom they met.

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