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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06KIEV1015
2006-03-15 14:43:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Kyiv
Cable title:  

UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO'S MARCH 14 remarks ON FREE AND

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  UP 
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VZCZCXRO9752
PP RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHKV #1015 0741443
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151443Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY KIEV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8146
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
						UNCLAS KIEV 001015 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/UMB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO'S MARCH 14 remarks ON FREE AND
FAIR ELECTIONS

REF: KIEV 978

UNCLAS KIEV 001015

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/UMB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: YUSHCHENKO'S MARCH 14 remarks ON FREE AND
FAIR ELECTIONS

REF: KIEV 978


1. (U) Summary: On March 14, shortly after the Rada
(parliament) had passed a series of amendments designed to
address technical problems regarding the administration of
the March 26 elections (reftel), President Yushchenko held a
press-conference devoted to the election campaign and the
domestic situation in Ukraine. He opened with a statement
on free and fair elections that stressed that the 2006
election cycle was the freest and fairest in Ukraine's
history and vowed that problems with the functioning of
polling station commissions would be addressed. He also
highlighted the positive contributions civic organizations
like the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) made to the
democratic process. End Summary.


2. (U) In his opening remarks, Yushchenko said that Ukraine
as a nation was focused on implementation of a task that it
had not successfully tackled for the last 15 years:
guaranteeing free and fair elections. Although society had
not yet developed coherent criteria to evaluate the fairness
of the process, it was clear that transparent public policy,
freedom of speech, rule of law, and democracy would attest
to Ukraine's progress.


3. (U) Yushchenko reminded listeners that in past elections,
Ukrainian authorities had resorted to voting process
manipulations and voter lists had been inaccurate. He
maintained that the new government had checked the lists
used in 2004 and identified 1.4 million people whose names
were listed on voter lists but did not exist. Currently,
the number of these so-called "dead souls" had been reduced
to 840 thousand. Yushchenko acknowledged that 10,000 (of
the approximately 33,000) polling station commissions (PSCs)
were not yet fully staffed and that across the country there
was a shortage of 20,000 ballot boxes, but he vowed these
problems would be resolved.


4. (U) Yushchenko said that he as President would personally
ensure that the Cabinet of Ministers fully financed the
election campaign. In some areas, only 70 percent of
designated funds had been received; in others, only 50
percent. Yushchenko added that some local authorities had
used authorized election funds for other purposes.
Yushchenko expressed hope that the necessary amendments to
the 2006 Budget would be adopted to guarantee adequate
funding of the election campaign. (Note: The Rada had
already passed such amendments by time Yushchenko spoke; the
bill awaits Yushchenko's signature.)


5. (U) Yushchenko noted that in the past, political parties
had not been able to freely conduct their election
campaigns; only pro-presidential forces had been able to
place their advertising materials with the media. In
contrast, at present, all parties could campaign freely; the
streets in Keiv and other cities were covered with various
campaign colors. The opposition enjoyed free access to the
media. Yushchenko stressed that his goal as President was
to guarantee equal access to the mass media to all political
parties.


6. (U) Highlighting the role of non-governmental actors,
Yushchenko pledged to carefully study the reports of the
[non-partisan, pro-democracy NGO] Committee of Voters of
Ukraine and the President's Public Committee. Until now, he
added, their reports had not provided evidence of serious
violations of electoral legislation.


7. (U) Yushchenko concluded his introductory statement
saying he was optimistic about Ukraine's level of readiness
for the March 26 elections. (Note: Yushchenko's statement
in Ukrainian is on the web at:
.

Gwaltney