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Stepping Backward In Ukraine


Riot police separate opposition and pro-government activists outside an election precinct where the opposition alleged election fraud in Kiev, Ukraine, November 2, 2012.

“The people of Ukraine deserve so much better,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Ukrainian voters flocked to the polls on October 28th to elect a new parliament. Preliminary results point to a small majority for President Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions if they form a coalition with the Communists and a majority of the independents. While the voting process merited a mostly positive assessment, the vote count earned a failing grade because it was not transparent according to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, which sent some 600 poll observers to Ukraine. Overall the election was a setback for Ukrainian democracy.



The OSCE concluded that the election was not fair because candidates were unable to compete on a level playing field. President Yanukovich’s ruling party used government resources to help fund its campaign and media coverage was heavily skewed in favor of the ruling party. In addition, a number of opposition leaders, including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, have been imprisoned on politically motivated charges.

“The United States Government is concerned that the conduct of . . . . [the] parliamentary elections constituted a step backwards from progress made during previous parliamentary elections and the 2010 presidential election, elections that had marked important steps forward for Ukraine’s democracy,” said Acting State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner.

“We also reiterate our deep concern that the politically motivated convictions of opposition leaders, including of former Prime Minister Tymoshenko, prevented them from standing in these elections. We again call on the Government to put an immediate end to the selective prosecution of political opponents,” said Acting Spokesperson Toner.

“The people of Ukraine deserve so much better,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “They deserve to live in a country with strong democratic institutions, that respects the rule of law, and these elections did not advance those goals. So the United States remains committed to the people of Ukraine. We want to work with them to strengthen their democracy, sovereignty, and independence of their state, as we have for more than 20 years. And we call upon the leadership to stop the backward slide that Ukraine is in and start, once again, living up to the aspirations of the Ukrainian people, and the United States will stand with them as they do.”
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