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Elections experts from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) undertook a mid-term review visit to Kyiv from February 7 to February 9, 2018, to collaboratively assess the status of follow-up on ODIHR's electoral recommendations. 

Discussions were held with officials from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Central Election Commission, the Justice Ministry and the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada on Legal Policy and Justice, as well as with representatives of political parties, civil society and the international community, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights said in a follow-up statement.

The ODIHR experts drew attention to recommendations from ODIHR election reports of 2014 and 2015 and examined how these could be integrated into the electoral reform process. They emphasized the importance of harnessing the necessary political will and moving the reform agenda forward in an inclusive manner to achieve tangible outcomes. The experts noted that, beyond key legal changes, a number of other technical aspects could be addressed through broad consensus, including the timely appointment of Central Election Commission members.

Read alsoPoroshenko disbands Ukraine's Central Election Commission pending its revamp"Important changes are needed to address ODIHR recommendations before the 2019 elections in Ukraine," said Alexander Shlyk, Head of ODIHR Elections Department. "It is crucial for the reform to be broadly inclusive and to take place sufficiently in advance of the next elections."

The experts noted that a draft unified electoral code has passed the first reading in parliament and a number of other legislative initiatives are pending. They expressed readiness to co-operate with and support the authorities and other actors in improving the conduct of elections for the benefit of Ukrainian citizens.

The mid-term review visit, the first of its kind to Ukraine, is part of ODIHR's follow-up methodology. All OSCE participating States have committed themselves to following up on ODIHR's election assessments and recommendations.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the next presidential election in Ukraine is scheduled for March 31, 2019; a new 450-seat parliament is to be elected on November 17, 2019, the latest.