Awaiting Government Announcement for Larger Mission
TORONTO, Jan. 11 /CNW/ - As Ukrainian Canadians across the country celebrated Christmas on January 7, 60 Canadian volunteers spent their holidays preparing for their mission to Ukraine to act as international election observers for their Presidential Election slated for January 17th, 2010.
The observer mission, organized by the Canada Ukraine Foundation, in partnership with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, is one of several such missions since Ukraine's independence. Ukraine is viewed by many international observers as one of the only former Soviet states experiencing a developing democracy.
"Ukraine is still a fragile democracy," said Bob Onyschuk, Chair of the Canada Ukraine Foundation. "The 2010 Presidential Election will be as important to the future of Ukraine's democratic development as was the 2004 Presidential Election."
In 2004 the Canada Ukraine Foundation and the Canadian Government sent a total of 1000 impartial Canadian international observers.
Both the current President and Prime Minister of Ukraine have made a public appeal to the international community to send large observer missions to monitor the these elections. They are concerned that the decision of the electors may be subverted.
"The 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine was sparked by widespread election fraud. Canadian election observers played a key role in documenting this election fraud which was used to nullify the election results and force the historic re-run of the Presidential elections," said Paul Grod, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. "Ensuring free and fair elections is critical to Ukraine's developing democracy and we are proud that Canadian election observers will continue to stand by the people of Ukraine."
Canada, together with USAid and the EU, has underwritten the cost for a new national voter registry system in Ukraine, which will premiere in this election. The register was intended to avoid the type of voter fraud that plagued past Ukrainian elections. However, 2009 amendments to Ukraine's Presidential Election Law have the effect of removing some of the legislated safeguards, opening these elections to possibilities of voter fraud and manipulation of the election process -- as was seen in 2004.
The CUF election observer mission has been approved by the Central Election Commission of Ukraine as an accredited international observer group. The CUF Observer office in Kyiv has been operational since January 2nd. It can be reached at +38-067-445-5266. The CUF Observer Corps deployed this weekend, and following on the ground orientation in Kyiv, will be deployed across Ukraine mid-week in preparation for the elections next Sunday.
SOURCE Ukrainian Canadian Congress
For further information: For further information: or to arrange and interview with an observer please call: Bob Onyschuk, Chair of Canada Ukraine Foundation, (416) 369-4574; Anna Szyptur, Head of Mission (in Kyiv), +38-067-696-0310; or Olya Grod, Head of the Kyiv office, at +38-067-445-5266