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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, Nov 19, 2004, 12:00 pm ET

    Senate passes new resolution urging urges Government of Ukraine to ensure a democratic, transparent, and fair run-off election

    S.RES.473: A resolution urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure a democratic, transparent, and fair election process for the Presidential run-off election on November 21, 2004.

    Passed/agreed to in Senate.
    Status: Submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.

    Sponsor: Sen McCain, John [R-AZ] (introduced 11/18/2004)
    Sen Biden Jr., Joseph R. [D-DE] - 11/18/2004
    Sen Graham, Lindsey O. [D-SC] - 11/18/2004
    Sen Hagel, Chuck [R-NE] - 11/18/2004
    Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [D-CT] - 11/18/2004
    Sen Lugar, Richard G. [R-IN] - 11/18/2004
    Sen Smith, Gordon [R-OR] - 11/18/2004

    2D SESSION S. RES. 473


    Urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure a democratic, transparent, and fair election process for the Presidential run-off election on November 21, 2004.

    Whereas the establishment of a democratic, transparent, and fair election process for the 2004 Presidential election in Ukraine and of a genuinely democratic political system are prerequisites for that country’s full integration into the Western community of nations as an equal member, including into organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO);

    Whereas the Government of Ukraine has accepted numerous specific commitments governing the conduct of elections as a participating state of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), including provisions of the Copenhagen Document;

    Whereas the election of Ukraine’s next President will provide an unambiguous test of the extent of the Ukrainian authorities commitment to implement these standards and build a democratic society based on free elections and the rule of law;

    Whereas the second round of the Presidential election takes place against the backdrop of past elections and improprieties in the first round of the election, which did not fully meet international standards;

    Whereas it is the duty of government and public authorities of Ukraine at all levels to act in a manner consistent with all laws and regulations governing election procedures, and to ensure free and fair elections throughout the entire country, including preventing activities aimed at undermining the free exercise of political rights;

    Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires a period of political campaigning conducted in an environment in which administrative action, violence, intimidation, or detention do not hinder the parties, political associations, and the candidates from presenting their views and qualifications to the citizenry, including organizing supporters, conducting public meetings and events throughout the country, and enjoying unimpeded access to television, radio, print, and Internet media on a non-discriminatory basis;

    Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires that citizens be guaranteed the right and effective opportunity to exercise their civil and political rights, including the right to vote and the right to seek and acquire information upon which to make an informed vote, free from intimidation, undue influence, attempts at vote buying, threats of political retribution, or other forms of coercion by national or local authorities or others;

    Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires government and public authorities to ensure that candidates and political parties enjoy equal treatment before the law and that government resources are not employed to the advantage of individual candidates or political parties;

    Whereas a genuinely free and fair election requires the full transparency of laws and regulations governing elections, multiparty representation on election commissions, and unobstructed access by candidates, political parties, and domestic and international observers to all election procedures, including voting and vote counting in all areas of the country;

    Whereas increasing control and manipulation of the media by national and local officials and others acting at their behest raise grave concerns regarding the commitment of the Ukrainian authorities to free and fair elections;

    Whereas efforts by the national authorities in Ukraine to limit access to international broadcasting, including Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, represent an unacceptable infringement on the right of the Ukrainian people to independent information;

    Whereas efforts by national and local officials of Ukraine and others acting at their behest to impose obstacles to free assembly, free speech, and a free and fair political campaign have taken place in Donetsk, Sumy, and elsewhere in Ukraine without condemnation or remedial action by the Government of Ukraine;

    Whereas numerous substantial irregularities have taken place in recent Ukrainian parliamentary by-elections in the Donetsk region and in mayoral elections in Mukacheve, Romny, and Krasniy Luch;

    Whereas intimidation and violence and fraud during the April 18, 2004, mayoral election in Mukacheve, Ukraine, represent a deliberate attack on the democratic process;

    Whereas in the period leading to the first round of the Presidential election, the government power structures used state resources such as schools, state factories, hospitals, and public transport systems to force students, state workers, and citizens who rely on state services for their livelihood to campaign against their will for the government-backed candidate;

    Whereas there was notable partisan engagement of security services, military, and local police in support of the government-backed candidate;

    Whereas there was a failure of national and local state-owned and private electronic media to provide impartial and fair coverage of, or access to, opposition candidates;

    Whereas some election commission members affiliated with opposition candidates were dismissed from their duties just prior to election day;

    Whereas there was collaboration with a foreign government to allow a foreign President to appear in Ukraine and express his opinions on one of the candidates just days before election day, in an effort to influence the vote, and a military parade, which was held in Kyiv 3 days prior to the election, was clearly an effort to intimidate voters; and

    Whereas in the first round of the Presidential election in Ukraine that occurred on October 31, 2004, international observers noted fraud and other significant problems, including badly maintained voter lists, which resulted in people being denied their right to vote, as well as many additional names on voter rolls for which no accounting could be made, prevalent interference by unauthorized persons into the electoral process, and credible reports of busing of voters among oblasts and polling stations for the purpose of multiple voting: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate –

    1. acknowledges and welcomes the strong relationship formed between the United States and Ukraine since the restoration of Ukraine’s independence in 1991;
    2. recognizes that a precondition for the full integration of Ukraine into the Western community of nations, including as an equal member in institutions such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is its establishment of a genuinely democratic political system;
    3. expresses its strong and continuing support for the efforts of the Ukrainian people to establish a full democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights in Ukraine;
    4. urges the Government of Ukraine to guarantee freedom of association and assembly, including the right of candidates, members of political parties, and others to freely assemble, to organize and conduct public events, and to exercise these and other rights free from intimidation or harassment by local or national officials or others acting at their behest;
    5. urges the Government of Ukraine to meet its Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) commitments on democratic elections and to address issues previously identified by the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE in its final reports on the 2002 parliamentary elections and the 1999 Presidential elections, such as illegal interference by public authorities in the campaign and a high degree of bias in the media;
    6. urges the Ukrainian authorities to ensure –
      1. the full transparency of election procedures before, during, and after the second round of the 2004 Presidential election;
      2. free access for Ukrainian and international election observers;
      3. multiparty representation on all election commissions;
      4. unimpeded access by all parties and candidates to print, radio, television, and Internet media on a non-discriminatory basis;
      5. freedom of candidates, members of opposition parties, and independent media organizations from intimidation or harassment by government officials at all levels, including selective tax audits and other regulatory procedures, and in the case of media, license revocations, and libel suits;
      6. a transparent process for complaint and appeals through electoral commissions and within the court system that provides timely and effective remedies;
      7. vigorous prosecution of any individual or organization responsible for violations of election laws or regulations, including the application of appropriate administrative or criminal penalties;
      8. remedies to all improprieties reported in the first round of the Presidential election in Ukraine, including –
        1. the replacement at a polling station of any Territorial Election Commission member found to have engaged in fraud;
        2. a complete review of voter lists in each polling station in order to correct inaccuracies;
        3. equal time on state media andequal access to private media for the two runoff candidates; and
        4. immediate prosecution of individuals who have violated the election law;
    7. further calls upon the Government of Ukraine to guarantee election monitors from the ODIHR, other participating states of the OSCE, Ukrainian political parties, representatives of candidates, nongovernmental organizations, and other private institutions and organizations, both foreign and domestic, unobstructed access to all aspects of the election process, including unimpeded access to public campaign events, candidates, news media, voting, and post-election tabulation of results and processing of election challenges and complaints;
    8. strongly encourages the President to fully employ the diplomatic and other resources of the Government of the United States to encourage the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the election laws and procedures of Ukraine are faithfully adhered to by all local and national officials, by others acting at their behest, and by all candidates and parties, during and subsequent to the Presidential campaign and election-day voting;
    9. strongly encourages the President to clearly communicate to the Government of Ukraine, to all parties and candidates in Ukraine, and to the people of Ukraine the high importance attached by the Government of the United States to this Presidential campaign as a central factor in determining the future relationship between the two countries;
    10. strongly encourages the President to consider visa bans and other targeted sanctions on those responsible for encouraging or participating in any efforts to improperly influence the outcome of the election, whether through direct or indirect involvement; and
    11. pledges its enduring support and assistance to the people of Ukraine for the establishment of a fully free and open democratic system, the creation of a prosperous free market economy, the establishment of a secure independence and freedom from coercion, and Ukraine’s assumption of its rightful place as a full and equal member of the Western community of democracies.


    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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