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06KIEV480, UKRAINE: LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS PREPARE

February 3, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV480 2006-02-03 16:25 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kyiv
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KIEV 000480 

SIPDIS 

SENSITIVE 

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS PREPARE 
FOR ELECTIONS 

(U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for Internet 
distribution.  Please handle accordingly. 

1. (SBU) Summary:  In preparation for Ukraine's March 26 
parliamentary elections, the independent Committee of Voters 
of Ukraine (CVU) and the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation 
Mission recently held briefings on their findings and plans. 
The CVU noted that while there some abuse of administrative 
resources had occurred, it was not systematic and was at a 
more local level than during the 2004 Presidential election. 
Political party representatives present generally agreed with 
this assessment, with the exception of the representative 
from Speaker Lytvyn's bloc who refused to rule out an attempt 
by the government to systematically exploit administrative 
resources.  The OSCE/ODIHR mission rolled out its plan for 
observing the March 26 election to the diplomatic corps, and 
noted that it would observe the concurrent local elections 
only as they related to the parliamentary elections that OSCE 
had a mandate to observe.  In a separate meeting with 
Ambassador, the head of the OSCE/ODIHR observer mission 
expressed his intention to keep a close watch out for the 
abuse of administrative resources.  End summary. 

2. (SBU) As the run-up to Ukraine's March 26 Rada 
(Parliament) and local elections continues, both the 
Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU) and the OSCE/ODIHR 
Election Observation Mission held roundtable discussions, 
January 31 and February 2 respectively, to present their 
programs and findings.  Separately, Ambassador met February 2 
with Ambassador Lubomir Kopaj, head of the OSCE/ODIHR 
observation mission. 

CVU: Administrative Resource use local, non-systematic 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 

3. (SBU) At its January 31 roundtable, the well respected 
election watchdog Committee of Voters of Ukraine presented 
its report covering the period from December 26 to January 
26.  The report noted that, "compared to December, the number 
of cases of administrative resource abuse increased. 
However, it was not systematic and was used for the benefit 
of a number of political forces, and therefore did not have a 
decisive or significant impact on the course of the election 
campaign."  During his presentation of the report, CVU Deputy 
Head Yevhen Poberezhny noted that the formation of District 
Election Commissions (DECs) and Polling Station Commissions 
(PSCs) was proceeding in an organized and legal fashion. 
Poberezhny listed as problems the fact that some parties had 
not yet submitted names of their representatives for the PSCs 
and DECs, that some commissions were not well organized, and 
that some local authorities were not cooperating with the 
PSCs and DECs.  Poberezhny noted that there were some 
instances of administrative resources being used 
inappropriately, but that any such practice had been 
unsystematic and confined to a more local level than in the 
2004 Presidential elections.  Poberezhny observed that in 
some instances local authorities had been actively combating 
the abuse of administrative resources.  Poberezhny noted that 
in some instances parties had not wanted to publish their 
local election lists.  (Note:  A frequently cited likely 
motivation for parties not wanting to disclose their local 
party list is the presence of unsavory or notorious local 
politicians/businessmen on the list.) 

4. (SBU) The CVU invited representatives from the main 
political parties to comment on the CVU findings.  While Oleh 
Zarubinsky from Speaker Lytvyn's Bloc expressed doubts about 
the CVU assessment that administrative resources would not be 
used on a widespread basis, the CVU representatives stuck to 
their assessment that administrative resource use had been 
non-systematic and localized.  Zarubinsky voiced concern 
about families trying to vote in place of relatives working 
abroad on election.  Oleh Medvedev, representing Tymoshenko's 
bloc (BYuT), stated that he thought this would be the most 
democratic election campaign in the ex-Soviet space.  While 
Medvedev noted as a positive development President 
Yushchenko's signature of a Presidential decree aimed at 
preventing the abuse of administrative resources, he also 
stressed the importance of Yushchenko's Peoples Union Our 
Ukraine (PUOU) separating its party functions from its role 
in government.  Medvedev allowed that there would probably be 
some use of administrative resources in western Ukraine, but 
noted that with BYuT and PUOU competing, they would be 
watching each other closely.  Medvedev stressed the 
importance of being alert to potential Russian interference 
in the elections, citing the "info-warfare" and economic 
pressure being applied to Ukraine, and calling for 
international observers to keep an eye on Russia. 

5. (SBU) Ihor Zhdanov from PUOU noted that PUOU had told its 
members not to use administrative resources, on threat of 
expulsion from the party.  Andriy Duda from the Presidential 
Secretariat thought that admin resources would be used mostly 

SIPDIS 
in eastern Ukraine, and that it would be more local councils 
using admin resources to influence voters, rather than 
regional administrations.  (Note:  Regional administration 
chiefs are appointed by the President, while local councils 
are locally elected.)  As an example of PUOU's probity, 
Zhdanov noted that
PUOU campaign chief Roman Bezsmertniy had 
resigned as Deputy Prime Minister to run PUOU's election 
campaign.  Ihor Ostach from the Pora/Reforms and Order Bloc 
noted that many people involved in rigging the 2004 
Presidential election were showing up on election 
commissions, but any violations this year would be nothing 
compared to 2004.  Duda from the Presidential Secretariat 
observed that every election in Ukraine since 2002 had been 
marked by abuse of administrative resources, but that if 
anyone had information that there was a systematic effort 
underway to use admin resources, he would like to see it in 
court. 

OSCE/ODIHR launches Election Observation Mission 
--------------------------------------------- --- 

6. (SBU) On February 2 the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation 
Mission (EOM) held the first in a series of bi-weekly 
roundtables for Diplomatic Missions and International 
Organizations in Kiev.  EOM head Ambassador Lubomir Kopaj 
chaired the meeting, introduced his staff and described the 
observation mission, with 50 long-term observers (LTOs) 
assigned in two-person teams and 600 short-term observers 
requested.  Each two-person LTO team is planned to be 
responsible for approximately 9 of the 225 DECs in Ukraine. 
The ODIHR mission planned to prepare three interim reports on 
the pre-election situation, with the first report expected 
the week of February 13.  The ODIHR mission planned to make a 
preliminary statement on the conduct of the March 26 vote on 
March 27.  During the question-and-answer session, Kopaj 
noted that the EOM's mandate was to observe the parliamentary 
election, and that there would be no observation of the local 
elections as such.  Kopaj said the EOM would comment on the 
local election only as it related to or affected the conduct 
of the parliamentary election.  Kopaj noted that he had met 
briefly with Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairman 
Davydovych and would be meeting him for a more in-depth 
working meeting soon.  Kopaj indicated that the STO force 
would be supplemented by representatives from the 
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE 
Parliamentary Assembly, and the European Parliament. 
According to Kopaj, Ukraine had also invited bilateral 
observers and the United Nations to observe the parliamentary 
elections. 

7. (SBU) Later February 2, Kopaj called on Ambassador.  Kopaj 
expressed confidence that his team had a good working level 
relationship with the CEC.  Kopaj noted that potential use of 
administrative resources was of great interest to the EOM, 
and that their LTOs would be well positioned to judge if 
there was a pattern of central control in the use of 
administrative resources.  Kopaj noted that local use of 
administrative resource was possible, as subordinates tried 
to show their loyalty to superiors, citing several elections 
he observed where political parties had to ask their members 
not to abuse administrative resources.  Kopaj said he had met 
with Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk and with political party 
leaders, and would be meeting with election-relevant 
Ukrainian officials, including the Minister of Interior, the 
Prosecutor General, and the Minister of Justice.  Kopaj said 
that the recommendations OSCE/ODIHR made after the 
Presidential elections had been taken seriously by the GOU, 
and that the OSCE was preparing an opinion on the revised 
election laws.  Kopaj emphasized that, with the EOM making 
three interim reports on the conduct of the election 
campaign, their final conclusions should not be a surprise. 
Kopaj expressed desire for the EOM to do what the GOU had 
asked OSCE/ODIHR to do -- give them an honest, impartial 
assessment of the election with substantive recommendations 
for improvements. 

8. (U) Visit Embassy Kiev's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
HERBST

 

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