Members of the international observers monitoring the Ukrainian presidential election on May 25 will present their preliminary post-election statement in Kiev on Monday.
The international observation is made up of: the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR); the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA); the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE); the European Parliament (EP); and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA).
“The statement will be delivered by Joao Soars, the Special Co-ordinator appointed to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission, followed by Andreas Gross, Head of the PACE delegation, Illka Kanerva, Head of the OSCE PA delegation, Goran Farm, Head of the EP delegation, Karl Lamers, Head of the NATO PA delegation, and Tana de Zulueta, Head of the OSCE/ODIHR long-term election observation mission,” the OSCE said on Saturday.
The upcoming presidential elections follows the ousting of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in late February which led to the annexation of the country’s peninsula region, Crimea, by Russia in March, and violent clashes between the Ukraine military and pro-Russian militants throughout eastern and southern Ukraine over the last two or so months.
In April, several members of the OSCE observation team in Ukraine were detained by pro-Russian separatists in Slovyansk, the stronghold of the separatists in the eastern party of the country, along with several Ukrainian military personnel.
The OSCE members were later released, reportedly unharmed.
Ukrainian Presidential Election Technically Illegal
At a meeting with heads of leading international news agencies in St. Petersburg on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated his statement that the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine is technically illegal with the former president still legally being in office under the Constitution of Ukraine.
“Take the Ukrainian Constitution and read it. It says there are four legitimate reasons when an incumbent president has to go.
“They are: death, a serious health condition, impeachment–and there was no constitution-based impeachment–and resignation, when the president hands in his resignation to the Parliament.”
Mr. Putin stated that the Ukraine and the international community “either stick to the [Ukrainian] constitution or dismiss it.”
He believes that the Kiev government “should have dealt with these issues first” but instead they “had a different plan.”
The president also expressed his beliefs that the political situation in Ukraine could be better resolved by first “hold[ing] a referendum, then adopt[ing] a constitution and then hold[ing] elections based on the new fundamental law.”
“However, the current authorities in Kiev and these people who control the power have decided to follow a different course,” President Putin said. “They want to stage the election first and then deal with the constitutional amendments.”
Over the past couple weeks, Mr. Putin has seemed to have shifted from his previous position of political attacks against the interim government in Kiev and right to intervene in Ukraine to protect the rights of the Russian-speaking population, to a more peaceful stance, one that is willing to work towards establishing peace and stability in the divided Ukraine.
Moscow had previously accused the government in Kiev of being “fascist” and “neo-Nazis”, and illegitimate.
But, Mr. Putin said on Saturday that it is possible the Ukrainian government is interested in the upcoming president being “completely legitimate.”
Ultimately, Russia “will by all means respect the choice of the Ukrainian people and will cooperate with the authorities that will come to power as a result of the election.”