Nearly 500 observers from the Ukrainian diaspora will act as observers for the parliamentary elections in Ukraine, the General Secretary of the National Congress of Ukraine, Victor Pedenko announced at a press conference in Kiev yesterday.

According to Pedenko, CEC (the Central Electoral Commission) has registered 221 people, from organisations under his authority, as international observers. They are from 17 areas, he says. According to Pedenko, the National Congress of Ukraine would lend its support to the elections being overseen in the Eastern Ukraine. Pedenko noted that the observers would travel freely and independently within Ukraine.

He expressed the hope that the parliamentary elections in Ukraine would be free and transparent.

Pedenko noted that this year’s election campaign had been characterised by a lack of social unrest, as had been witnessed during the presidential campaign, and mass information had been the favoured approach of political aspirants. He stressed that above all, the attention of the observers would be directed towards the elections for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Pedenko predicts that during the campaign problems with electoral rolls and receipt of ballot papers would arise. At the same time, he believes, this will not be due to foul play, but rather to technical difficulties.

He adds that the Ukrainian National Congress is also paying significant attention to the voting rights of Ukrainians living abroad. He says that set procedures for this are lacking. Pedenko illustrates the fact that in the USA several voting stations will be set up for the elections on the 26th March, but only one has been set up in Canada. A voter living in Vancouver has to travel 4000 kilometres to Toronto to vote.

The General Secretary adds that the chosen organisations would work hard to assist Ukrainians living abroad to have the best possible opportunity to cast their votes in the coming election.

In addition, the Director of the American Congress Committee for Ukrainian Suffrage Tamara Galo has stated 208 observers representing the Congress Committee would travel independently to Ukraine for the election.

According to Galo, observers from the American Ukrainian Congress Committee will observe in 15 regions of Ukraine. The larger parties will be in Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Poltava, Sumy and Lviv and in the Crimea, while the smaller parties will be in Ternopil, Cherkassy, Ivano-Frankivsk, Zhitomir, Kirovgrad and Rivno. According to her, all observers have been thoroughly trained.

“I hope that after the elections we will give a positive appraisal on the conduct of the elections” said Galo.

Also, the Deputy President of the National Administrative Congress for Ukrainians in Canada Pavel Grod said that nearly 150 observers from non-profit organisations would observe the Ukrainian elections. According to him, these observers will also travel freely and independently.
Translated by  Edward Alaszewski

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