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Former U.S. Congressmen visit Ukraine - August Delegation

2004 Delegations:  July  |   August  |   September  |   October  |   November  |   December
2006 Delegations:  February  |   March

From August 22-28, 2004 a delegation of five former U.S. Congressmen and two former Members of the European Parliament visited Kyiv and cities throughout the Cherkasy, Kirovohrad and Kyiv oblasts to observe the election process in Ukraine.  The delegation consisted of Lawrence J. Hogan (R-MD), Mike Kopetski (D-OR), Dan Miller (R-FL), Ronald Packard (R-CA), John J. Rhodes, III (R-AZ), Jose Posada (Spain), and Maartje van Putten (Netherlands).

Members of the delegation outside their hotel in Cherkasy
Hotel in Cherkasy
Their visit was sponsored by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF) in partnership with the United States Association of Former Members of Congress (USAFMC), and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  The delegation was accompanied by Cliff Downen and Christina Redko of USUF.

This was the second of four delegations visiting Ukraine in the months leading up to the first round of presidential elections on October 31, 2004. This project demonstrates USUF's unique involvement in Ukraine, as we are one of the few organizations focusing on the entire election process throughout the period of the campaign.

During their first full day in Kyiv, the delegation met with members of Viktor Yushchenko's and Viktor Yanukovych's campaign staff to discuss the progress of their efforts thus far. On the second day, Ukrainian Independence Day, the delegation met with representatives of the U.S. Embassy, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU), before traveling to Cherkasy.

Representatives of political parties and NGOs in Kaharlyk
Meeting in Kaharlyk

During the next three days, the delegation was split up into three groups and traveled to the following communities: Cherkasy, Kaniv, Kamianka and Zolotonosha in the Cherkasy oblast; Svitlovodsk and Novomyrhorod in the Kirovohrad oblast; and Brovary, Kaharlyk and Ukrayinka in the Kyiv oblast. They held meetings with local and regional authorities, representatives of political parties, media, and NGOs. The delegation stressed the importance that the forthcoming presidential elections be fair to all candidates and parties. They asked local officials to uphold the laws of Ukraine and ensure that every Ukrainian citizen has an opportunity to vote for the candidate of his or her choice and that the ballots be counted properly. Delegates heard a variety of complaints about candidates being blocked from opening local headquarters, putting up signs, getting coverage in the local media, being barred from using meeting rooms for rallies and political meetings, having political meetings interrupted by thugs and being harassed to support Mr. Yanukovych, especially to sign petitions supporting his candidacy. The delegates noted with alarm the lack of objective and independent media in Ukraine and urged the international media to pay more attention to events in Ukraine. They also stressed the importance of outside observers on the day of the elections and recommended that the Ukrainian government work towards ensuring free and fair elections.

Upon their return to Kyiv, the delegates met with U.S. Ambassador Herbst and attended a reception with representatives from numerous European Embassies in Kyiv.

For additional information on this project, please contact Christina Redko at credko@usukraine.org.

 

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