Q&A: Ukraine would like to promote the strengthening of analytical potential says Ukraine’s Ambassador to Norway
In the image above: (L) The Honourable Ambassador of Ukraine in Oslo H.E. Mr. Yurii ONISCHENKO with the Editor in Chief of The Oslo Times, Hatef Mokhtar (R)
The Honourable Ambassador of Ukraine in Oslo: It is indeed our privilege to welcome you in an exclusive interview session with The Oslo Times.
The Oslo Times would like to congratulate you, upon the most peaceful and uneventful elections in Ukraine’s history which recently held.
TOT: Our first question is to you even though Ukraine has been successful in conducting the elections peacefully, which are being termed as the most peaceful of all in the entire history of independent of Ukraine so far. What are the reasons behind this success and how would you define them in particular, if any?
AMBASSADOR: First of all I would like to underline that all necessary conditions were created in Ukraine for the successful elections in line with European democratic standards and in a free and transparent way. We had a very well organised voting day. It is also important to indicate that the elections were held according to the new law, which was adopted by the representatives of the ruling parliamentary majority and the opposition. Secondly, Ukrainian authorities had created all conditions for the activities of international observers and 3797 of them participated in different observation missions during these elections. This is an unprecedented number comparing to all the previous elections and the elections in most of the Member States of the OSCE. Additionally, over 130 000 observers from many Ukrainian political parties and non-governmental organizations worked there.
TOT: According to Director of the Institute of Ukrainian Politics Kost Bondarenko has said, individual parliamentary candidates running in single-seat constituencies, rather than parties, were the main source of potential danger to the smooth holding of the elections. As many times it has been observed / seen after the elections that when a person feels that millions [of hryvnias] spent on the election campaign could be just wasted, he could start behaving inappropriately. What you have to say on this?
AMBASSADOR: According to our new election system, Ukrainians elected 225 Members of Parliament from the political parties and 225 as single districts representatives. The counting of the votes for the party list was completed quite quickly. The results of voting for the 11 of other 225 single districts representatives were hotly contested. It also reflected the competitive nature especially when a lot of candidates participating in the election process and being well known personalities and politicians who received a very close contested number of votes. In this situation 5 local election commissions consisting of the representatives of different political parties were not able to announce results and the Central Election Commission considers if an additional voting is needed at those 5 single constituencies. But the results of the elections for the rest 445 out of 450 places in the Parliament have been already aanounced and the Parliament is ready to start the work.
TOT: With the Ruling party coming out as a winner in the elections, so how would you see this development in terms of national interests and the nature of transparency of the conducted elections?
AMBASSADOR: I believe that priority of the national interest related issues is reflected in the results of the elections. The ruling and opposition parties received quite substantial support of the population: 30% votes were given for the Party of the Regions, 25,54% – for the “Fatherland” Party, 13,96% – for the UDAR Party, 13,18% – the Communist Party and 10,44% for the “Freedom” Party. The official results were approximately the same as the exit polls announced immediately after the voting time was over. In addition, I would like to inform the Oslo Times readers about installation of thousands online broadcasting webcams inside the polling stations. Such decision was taken by the Government and supported by the President of Ukraine to guarantee the transparency during elections. This is a bright evidence of democracy and transparency in Ukraine. I wish also to state that during these elections all major political forces declared European integration of Ukraine the priority of our foreign policy. It means that this priority will still determine our national interests and we have a good base to reach every success in this regard.
TOT: Ukraine now is more isolated internationally than it has been for years. Apart from being at odds with the United States and the European Union over Tymoshenko, Ukraine does not see eye to eye with Russia which has turned a deaf ear to Kiev’s calls for cheaper gas. What are the reasons behind this nation’s isolation?
AMBASSADOR: In reality, the situation is opposite to that you have described. During this year only, the President of Ukraine paid visits to Germany, Jordan, Qatar, Poland, Switzerland, Cyprus, Turkey, South Korea, the UAE, two visits to the USA and three visits to Russia. The geography of visits is very wide. In addition to this, we can see a number of foreign visits of our Prime Minister.
TOT: Five constituencies still await the re-elections results and even the Deputy Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CVK), Zhanna Usenko-Chorna, announced that the elections are heavily falsified. What are the reasons behind of the delay in the ballot counting that West has termed as distressing?
AMBASSADOR: I have already explained about the real reasons of the delay in the ballot counting. I would like just to add a few numbers for your consideration. In the last parliamentary elections 87 political parties were included in the voting lists, with 2554 names registered in the party lists, other 2 655 candidates have participated in the single election district elections. This high number of candidates, unfortunately, does not allow to avoid some misdoings. The General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine has filed a number of criminal cases on the most serious of them. Now the Government together with the opposition are set to improve the Election Law taking into consideration such lessons learnt.
TOT: Is the current government looking forward for the Tymoshenko’s issue which have tarnished the image of the country over the years in the international community? If yes, then what kind of solutions the government is planning to provide to this contentious political issue?
AMBASSADOR: The former Prime Minister of Ukraine Y.Tymoshenko was sentenced by the court to seven years in prison after she was found guilty in the result of criminal investigation. I am absolutely convinced that any additional decision on this criminal case may be only taken within the frame of the judicial procedure.
TOT: In January 2013, Ukraine will take over the OSCE chair. So, what are the steps that will have been taken to improve the image of the national government as progressive and as reformist?
AMBASSADOR: Ukraine would like to promote the strengthening of analytical potential and enhance efficiency of all the OSCE institutes as much as possible. It also will aspire to make OSCE activity more purposeful and conform with those basic principles that have been declared in the Helsinki Final Act and other basic documents of the OSCE. Our main priorities are: resolution of frozen conflicts within the OSCE mechanisms on the early conflict prevention; to pay a special attention to the issue of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe; to lead the policy of global disarmament and non-proliferation; to secure economic development as well as protection of human rights.
So we have drafted an ambitious agenda and aspire to perform a high level of competence and diplomacy in fulfilling the tasks chosen as well as facing new challenges that may occur.