OSCE Commends Ukraine for Democratic Elections
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says Ukraine's presidential elections have gone in accordance with international norms and standards.
The OSCE election monitors noted that turnout was higher than expected (40%), but pointed out the closure of polling stations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions as serious violations.
"This election proved the democratic spirit of the people of Ukraine, who had the opportunity to genuinely express their will at the ballot box, and seized it in high numbers", Joao Soares the Special Co-ordinator who led the short-term OSCE observer mission said.
"The electoral and security authorities of Ukraine should be commended for their efforts under extraordinary circumstances, to facilitate an election that largely upheld democratic commitments", Soares added.
OSCE observers pointed out "forced evictions, closures of District Election Commissions by armed groups, abductions, death threats, forced entry into private homes and the seizure of equipment and election materials" as the main violations of the voting process.
"Unfortunately, many citizens were prevented from voting in Donetsk and Luhansk, as were nearly all in Crimea, due to the ongoing threats to Ukraine's territorial integrity", Ilkka Kanerva, head of the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly delegation added.
The intergovernmental organization, in which Russia and Ukraine are also members, expressed hopes that the newly elected President Petro Poroshenko will work towards uniting Ukrainians and stabilizing the eastern part of the country, where armed conflict has been raging for months.