Declaration by the Presidency of the European Union on the presidential elections of 31 October 2004 in Ukraine
November 2, 2004.
*** The Presidency of the European Union regrets that the presidential elections in Ukraine did not meet a considerable number of OSCE, Council of Europe and other European standards for democratic elections, and that during the pre-election period, the campaign did not permit fair conditions for all candidates. Thus, conditions were not met to ensure the free expression of the opinion of voters in their choice of candidates.
The Presidency bases this opinion on the statement of preliminary findings and conclusions of the OSCE /ODIHR International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) on the presidential elections in Ukraine of 31 October 2004.
The Presidency in particular regrets the pressure reported by IEOM on voters, the hampering of free movement to campaign events, the non-respect of freedom of assembly, the biased media coverage, including through temniki (media guidelines) issued by unspecified authorities, the dissemination of inflammatory campaign material of unclear origin, the significant problems with voters lists, the insufficient number of polling stations, and the lack of transparency during tabulation.
Nevertheless, positive aspects, such as the high participation of voters in the elections and the existence of an active civil society during the pre-election campaign, are encouraging elements for the further development of democracy in Ukraine.
The European Union values Ukraine as a key neighbour and partner and acknowledges Ukraine’s European aspirations. As the European Union has already made clear in its most recent Council conclusions, the conduct of these elections will be indicative of Ukraine’s commitment to the democratic values of the Council of Europe and the OSCE and bears great significance for EU-Ukraine relations.
The Presidency calls on the Ukrainian authorities to address the noted deficiencies in time before the second round of the elections. The Presidency urges the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that in the remaining period till 21 November 2004 conditions will be created to allow for free and fair elections enabling the Ukrainian people to elect the candidate of their own free choice.