KYIV, UKRAINE, May 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadian election observers deployed across Ukraine today, entering the final active phase of scrutiny of Ukraine's presidential election. Canadian Election Observation Missions (CANEOM), an Ottawa-based NGO, is mounting the mission with financial backing of the Government of Canada.
"Canada has supported Ukraine's democratic development from the day it declared independence. This election comes at a pivotal moment in that process," said Senator Raynell Andreychuk, CANEOM's Head of Mission. "The new government will have a tremendous task ahead of it. Our responsibility is to observe, record and report whether the election is consistent with Ukrainian law and meets international standards."
The CANEOM mission started with 39 long-term observers arriving in late April, laying the groundwork for full deployment of 143 observers for the May 25 vote. If a second-round of balloting is required in mid-June, CANEOM will be deploying approximately 240 observers. Today's deployment follows several days of rigorous training ranging from observation best practices, to political culture briefings, to Ukrainian electoral law. Given the circumstances in some parts of eastern Ukraine, the issue of security was also a major focus during training sessions.
Observers will be present in all oblasts (provinces) other than Crimea, where the Central Election Commission of Ukraine has been unable to establish its polling apparatus due to ongoing Russian military occupation, intimidation and aggression. Long-term observers' reports, in addition to information and threat assessments shared among all international observations missions, have helped inform decision-making with respect to deployment in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
Senator Andreychuk is joined in her leadership role by former Ontario premier Mike Harris, who addressed the observers on the second day of training.
"This is an important election for the people of Ukraine, and an important election for geopolitical stability," said Harris. "We are here to send a signal of support to the people of Ukraine, so they know the world is watching and that the global community is here to assist stability and democracy in Ukraine."
The CANEOM mission is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. The mission's core team has election observation experience in missions in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mongolia, Uganda and Ukraine. The mission intends to issue an interim report the day after polls close. A final, comprehensive report will follow later, upon conclusion of the entire electoral process.
For further information: Steve Andrijowycz, Communications Coordinator, CANEOM Ukraine 2014 Early Presidential Election Observation Mission, +38 096 371 3449, [email protected], www.caneom.ca, facebook.com/caneom, @caneomua2014