BRAMA, Nov 22, 2004, 6:00 pm ET|
Senator Kyl Criticizes 2nd Ukrainian Vote
International Organizations Found Deep, Systematic Irregularities
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jon Kyl today criticized the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine on November 21 as “deeply and systematically flawed, to the point of a presumption of malfeasance.”
Noting that the vote has also been criticized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), who served as President Bush’s representative during the election, Kyl said, “It is encouraging that the Ukraininan people have turned out to vote in large numbers. But their democratic spirit must be matched by a commitment on the part of their leaders to a genuine democratic process, and such a commitment is clearly lacking.”
The OSCE stated today that the Ukrainian Central Election Commission “displayed a lack of will to conduct a genuine democratic election process,” similar to what it found in the first election three weeks ago. International observers cited highly suspect voting patters, incidents of violence, and a pattern of intimidation directed toward voters, polling commission members and even the observers themselves.
Lugar cited strong evidence of, among other problems: Illegal expulsions of opposition members of election commissions; inaccurate voter lists; busloads of people voting more than once with absentee ballots; and suspiciously large use of mobile voting. Lugar concluded that “a concerted and forceful program of election day fraud and abuse was enacted with either the leadership or cooperation of governmental authorities” in the Ukraine.
“It is extremely unfortunate that those authorities would place a higher priority on their political power than on moving their nation forward toward democratic legitimacy,” Kyl said. Prior to this runoff, along with Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Pete Domenici (R-NM), Sen. Kyl had sponsored a bill calling for free elections in the Ukraine and for the imposition of sanctions on the key government officials involved in corrupting the democratic process.