Statement of Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Mr. President, I rise to urge passage of S. Con Res. 106, a bipartisan resolution calling upon the Government of Ukraine to ensure a democratic, transparent and fair election process for the presidential elections scheduled to be held in late October. Congress to the Ukrainian people.
The resolution underscores that an election process and the establishment of a genuinely democratic political system consistent with Ukraine’s freely undertaken OSCE commitments is a prerequisite for Ukraine’s full integration into the Western community of nations as an equal member, including into NATO. Th timberland e October elections will be vital in determining Ukraine’s course for years to come.
Mr. President, as Co Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, I would point out that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma recently co signed a Declaration with Russia and leaders of several other independent former Soviet states criticizing the OSCE for focusing too much attention on the human rights and democratization. While disappointing, this diatribe is not surprising given the fact that under President Kuchma’s leadership, Ukraine’s record in such as media freedoms, elections, the rule of law and corruption has moved in the wrong direction.
Ukraine’s pre election environment has already been decidedly problematic and of great concern to the United States and the international community. The pending resolution, S. Con. Res. Among other concerns are the serious obstacles to free assembly and a free and fair political campaign as well as substantial irregularities in several recent elections, most notably, the mayoral election held in April the western Ukrainian city of Mukacheve. This election was marred by intimidation, violence, fraud and manipulation of the vote count, electoral disruptions and irregularities.
Mr. President, according to the most recent report of the non partisan Ukrainian non governmental Committee of Voters of Ukraine: “There was no improvement in the political environment in June compared to April and May. Instead, CVU observed an increase in the number of cases of government pressure on the opposition designed to impede their activities. Potential candidates did not enjoy equal access to the media. The level of criminal interference in the pre election process remains very high, thus threatening free elections.”
S. Con Res. This includes the various ministries and agencies involved directly or indirectly in the elections process, as well as Ukraine’s courts.
Ukraine’s October presidential elections should be a watershed for the future direction of that country of great potential. By doing so, they will go a long way in restoring the trust of the citizens of Ukraine and strengthening Ukraine’s independence and democracy.
S. CON. RES. 106
Urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure a democratic, transparent, and fair election process for the presidential election on October 31, 2004.
Mr. CAMPBELL (for himself, Mr. DODD, and Mr. timberland BIDEN) submitted the following c timberland oncurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreig timberland n RelationsUrging the Government of Ukraine to ensure a democratic, transparent, and fair election process for the presidential election on October 31, 2004.