European People’s Party President Wilfried Martens believes that Yulia Tymoshenko, as the leader of one of the largest opposition parties, should participate in the 2012 parliamentary elections.

“Like in every democracy, the opposition needs to participate in the elections. For your country, this means that Yulia Tymoshenko, as the main opposition leader, needs to participate in the 2012 elections as a candidate,” Wilfried Martens said in his speech at a meeting of the Club of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Kyiv.

The EPP president said that he discussed this topic today during meetings with representatives of the Ukrainian government. “Today I had a meeting with your President. And the messages I just gave to this conference room, are the same as I gave to your President. During this very frank discussion I said to your President that he has the main responsibility for the respect of these fundamental rights,” he added.

Wilfried Martens stressed that the European Union – and especially the European People’s Party – will watch very closely the new electoral law now being formulated for the parliamentary elections in 2012.

“If Ukraine wants to continue on its European path, this law must respect the basic rules of pluralism, and free, fair and democratic elections. It will also have to take into account the interests of all parties, as well as civil society. The manipulation of the electoral law in the interests of one party is equal to a manipulation of the elections themselves,” he said.

EPP President Wilfried Martens is visiting Ukraine September 13-16 at the invitation of the Ukraine Office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

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