Canadian mission finds Ukraine vote reflects people's will

KYIV, Ukraine, May 26, 2014 /CNW/ - Senator Raynell Andreychuk and former Ontario Premier Mike Harris today presented the preliminary report of the Canadian Election Observation Mission (CANEOM) on Ukraine's early presidential election held on Sunday.

"Notwithstanding the troubling violence in Luhansk and Donetsk regions and the illegal occupation of sovereign Ukrainian territory in Crimea, our conclusion is that this election is a genuine reflection of the will of the Ukrainian people," said Senator Raynell Andreychuk.

"We commend the government and the election administration for doing all that is possible to ensure that this election take place. We salute the people of Ukraine for exercising their democratic rights, in the face of fear and uncertainty, and making this election a success."

CANEOM's 143 election observers (39 long-term and 104 short-term) visited more than 2,000 polling stations in 23 oblasts (provinces) in the run-up to, and on, Election Day. They were equipped with digital reporting forms that were uploaded instantaneously to the CANEOM command centre in Kyiv. Irregularities were rare and those observed were of a routine and administrative nature.

CANEOM observers were deployed in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts where they found the election commissions encountering the greatest problems. Alleged violations reported to have occurred in these two oblasts by militant groups prior to Election Day included threats, physical assaults and kidnapping of commissioners, destruction of commission materials and shutdown of premises.

"Our mission unequivocally condemns the use of violence and intimidation by these militant groups which violated basic democratic and human rights of Ukrainian citizens. However, these intimidating actions and their consequences were in stark contrast to election processes conducted across the rest of Ukraine," said former Ontario Premier Mike Harris

"Overall, compared to past elections, a much improved electoral system, a dedicated willingness to vote and a strong voter turn-out combine to strongly bolster confidence in the results of this process."

CANEOM will maintain a presence in Ukraine until official results are announced and the full election process is complete.

CANEOM is organized by the Forum of Federations. CUSO International and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress have partnered with CANEOM to support the observation mission for Ukraine's 2014 early presidential election.

The mission is funded by the Government of Canada. It is managed by an independent team of non-governmental professionals. The full text of the Preliminary Report is available at http://caneom.ca/?p=177

SOURCE CANEOM

For further information: Media inquiries: +38 096 371 3449, media@caneom.ca, @CANEOMUA2014, facebook.com/CANEOM