Ukraine Election Of High Quality From Last Polls, Says OSCE

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine’s elections were of high quality and met democratic commitments, in a major turnaround from the last presidential polls, the trans-Atlantic security body OSCE and other observers said yesterday.

“The first round of Ukraine’s presidential election was of high quality and showed significant progress over previous elections, meeting most OSCE and Council of Europe commitments,” the groups said in a joint statement.

The glowing praise from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe contrasted with Ukraine’s last presidential polls in 2004, which were re-run after the courts found mass vote rigging and tens of thousands took to the streets in the Orange Revolution protests.

Sunday’s polls were won by veteran politician Viktor Yanukovich, ending the rule of President Viktor Yushchenko. But he failed to secure a majority and will require a run-off.

Despite squabbles over regional violations, none of the main candidates has questioned the veracity of the results.

The groups praised respect for civil rights and a “genuine choice” between candidates with different political views, adding that Ukraine’s diverse media scene offered a variety of information about the candidates.

However, they criticised the legal framework under which the election was held, calling it unclear and incomplete. “This undermines public confidence,” said Assen Agov, head of the delegation of the Nato Parliamentary Assembly.

Also, electronic media reporting was often influenced by candidates paying for news coverage, the observers said.

Source: The Peninsula Online