Head of the election observation mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Ambassador Peter Tejler says that Ukraine's intention to bar Russian observers from monitoring the presidential elections is contrary to the country's commitments to the OSCE.
In particular, Tejler said at a press conference in Kyiv on February 6 that Ukraine's stance as for not allowing Russian observers to work at the presidential elections is against OSCE principles, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
He also said that the mission was aware that in this connection, the Verkhovna Rada had registered a draft law on amending certain laws of Ukraine regulating the monitoring of the electoral process in Ukraine.
"Of course, we are aware that a relevant bill was proposed. We are also quite aware of the position voiced by the Ukrainian authorities, and we have concerns because it does not comply with OSCE commitments as for participation of all OSCE participating countries in the observation mission," he said.
However, he said that the role of the OSCE/ODIHR is to assess and monitor the electoral process for compliance with democratic standards.
According to him, the mission is not interested in the result of the elections and who will be the winner, because the mission is interested in finding out whether all the electoral procedures were transparent, fair and consistent with the requirements of the legislation.
Talks on members of the foreign observation mission are currently under way between the OSCE/ODIHR and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Tejler said.
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Russia earlier proposed the OSCE/ODIHR Mission include two Russian citizens as long-term observers to monitor the presidential elections in Ukraine.
The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on February 6 formally opened an election observation mission (EOM) for the March 31 presidential election in Ukraine. The mission's deployment follows an invitation from the Ukrainian authorities.
The mission is led by Ambassador Peter Tejler and includes a core team of 17 experts based in Kyiv. ODIHR has also requested that OSCE participating States provide 100 long-term observers, who will be deployed throughout the country in international teams of two from February 13. In addition, the Office will request that the participating States provide 750 short-term observers, who will arrive several days before election day.
The mission will assess the presidential election for its compliance with OSCE commitments and other international obligations and standards for democratic elections, as well as with national legislation. Observers will closely monitor candidate registration, campaign activities, the work of the election administration and relevant governmental bodies, election-related legislation and its implementation, the media environment, and the resolution of election-related disputes.
In the course of its observation, the mission will meet with representatives from state authorities and political parties, as well as with candidates, and with representatives from civil society, the media and the international community. The mission will publish an interim report in the course of its work.
On election day, observers will monitor the opening of polling stations, voting, the counting of ballots and the tabulation of results.
The day after the elections, the mission, together with parliamentary delegations, including from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, will issue a statement of preliminary findings and conclusions at a press conference in Kyiv. ODIHR will issue a final report on the observation approximately eight weeks after the end of the electoral process.