OSCE observers give bad marks to Ukraine

Oct. 29, 2012 at 1:04 PM

KIEV, Ukraine, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Politics in Ukraine are dominated by powerful economic groups, suggesting the country's democratic potential wasn't realized, the OSCE said.

Ukrainians voted Sunday in parliamentary elections. Walburga Habsburg Douglas, head of the observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said there was a general lack of balance during the campaign.

"Considering the abuse of power, and the excessive role of money in this election, democratic progress appears to have reversed in Ukraine," Douglas said in a statement.

The democratic potential for Ukraine, the OSCE said, wasn't realized during the Sunday election.

The ruling Party of Regions, led by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, took more than 36 percent of the vote compared to the 21 percent secured by an opposition slate led by jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko, serving a seven-year prison sentence after a conviction on corruption charges, said she was on a hunger strike to protest the election, the BBC reports.

Tymoshenko's supporters say the charges against her are politically motivated. European leaders had said an assessment of the Ukrainian elections would determine the chances for broader bilateral relations with the European Union.

The OSCE observer mission said vote tabulation lacked transparency, though Election Day was peaceful.

"Ukrainians deserved better from these elections," Andreas Gross, the head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe delegation, said in a statement.

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