Archive for October 30th, 2012

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OSCE statement on the Ukrainian elections – and what now?

October 30, 2012

Of all the election reports and statements made by the numerous monitoring groups, as I have written before, the statements and reports of ODIHR/OSCE are those that count, historically at least, in the forming of the EU mindset towards recognition – or not.

Here is the “morning after” statement.

Nothing surprising in there to be honest.  Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Lutsenko not taking part was cited amongst numerous issues – as has been the EU position from the start, PECs and DECs, Prime Minister Azarov’s actions in Odessa electioneering on behalf of PoR, constituency seat shenanigans etc.,  all the issues I have commented upon over the past months here and elsewhere, tweeted about, and discussed with long term election observers, as these issues were always going to be raised.

The final report in a month or so will be interesting not only as the definitive report, but it will also contain recommendations for the next elections – and that happens to be the presidential elections in 2015.

Nevertheless, regardless of final reports, critiques and recommendations, the results will stand anyway, thus internally and internationally, all will have to deal with the current administration again, very much unchanged – as expected.

As I have written before, Ukrainian EU relations will now worsen before they get better.

The next major highlighted date on the calendar where significant change is possible (but not probable) will be the ECfHR ruling over Ms Tymoshenko in which it is almost a nailed on certainty her release will be demanded.  The caveat to that being the next major date depends upon whether the PoR/Communist coalition will manage to gather enough splitters from the opposition parties and independents to gain a constitution changing majority between now and 17th December when the new parliament sits for the first time.

If Tymoshenko is released, which may or may not happen, then EU/Ukraine relations may improve.  There are definitely some within the PoR oligarchy and government (Khoroshkovskiy and Poroshenko to name but two) that will be happy to see her released to get the DCFTA and AA signed and ratified in return.  In fact a number of the PoR oligarchy may look to remove Yanukovych and back others in 2015 if Tymoshenko is not released when the ECfHR ruling arrives.

Probably the most interesting thing of the entire OSCE press conference was the Q&A session afterwards, including some completely ill-informed and bizarre questions from the international press corps displaying a complete lack of understanding over certain issues relating to ODIHR/OSCE.

Possibly the most poignant, and definitely the shortest question from that Q&A was this:

Q:  “Ukraine election – pass or fail?”

A:  “No black and white answer.”

I suggest that given the contents of the ODIHR statement they were making against the OSCE framework used to monitor all elections within the OSCE members, plus the considerable experience of the panel, a black and white answer as to the “pass or fail” question was within their ability to answer.

However I can understand the reasons for giving such an ambiguous and diplomatic response.  Their task is to monitor and report on elections and make recommendations for improvements.  Whether the elections will be deemed black, white or grey in the sense of pass or fail, is a matter for governments and other entities that deal with Ukraine on the basis of the ODHIR/OSCE report.

The ODHIR/OSCE ambiguity when answering such an closed question from the press allows “wiggle room” for the politicians that will still have to deal with Ukraine.  That wiggle room immediately being exploited by Mr Shulz, President of the European Parliament as displayed here, and by Baroness Ashton and Stefan Fule here.

Both statements, it has to be said, far more considered than the immediate media headlines will be no doubt.

In the meantime……ahem…… Ukraine will take over the chair of OSCE in 2013 – regardless of the shortcomings made of the Ukrainian elections by OSCE.  There is irony in that somewhere!

Oh and Ms Tymoshenko is on hunger strike – again!

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