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Ukraine Says It Will Fulfill OSCE Election Recommendations By 2013

A regional Ukraine election booth during October 2010 voting.
A regional Ukraine election booth during October 2010 voting.
KYIV -- Ukrainian officials say they will adopt OSCE recommendations on its election system before it becomes the chairman of the organization in about two years, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Stepan Havrysh, deputy secretary of the National Defense and Security Council, told RFE/RL that Ukraine is working on a new electoral code and planning to change from closed voting lists to a mixed-party system.

Last week, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights representative called on Ukrainian officials to improve its election laws.

On November 23, foreign ministers from the 56 OSCE member states decided that Ukraine will hold the one-year long OSCE chairmanship in 2013.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych welcomed the decision, calling it a recognition of Ukraine's achievements in building a democratic society.

But opposition parliament deputy and former Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk, chairman of parliament's committee on European integration, told RFE/RL on November 24 that Yanukovych's government cannot claim responsibility for garnering the OSCE chairmanship.

"The current authorities are lucky that this decision was announced now, but it has nothing to do with democracy flourishing in Ukraine," said Tarasyuk, who five years ago submitted Ukraine's application for the OSCE chairmanship.

Tarasyuk said he hopes the European Parliament, which is to vote today on a resolution about the political situation in Ukraine, will condemn what he calls "a curbing of democracy" in the country.

Former Ukrainian Foreign Minister and ex-National Security and Defense Council Secretary Petro Poroshenko told RFE/RL that he also disagrees with Yanukovych's assessment of democracy in Ukraine.

"Certainly, the president has the right to say that [the OSCE decision] was an important recognition, but the achievements are not in the democratization of society but in the consolidation of authority, an increase in the manageability of the government, and the elimination of conflicts within the government. Certainly, the OSCE community values these things," Poroshenko said.