All Articles containing the tag: ELECTION OBSERVATION

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Security and Human Rights Monitor


Interview with Daniel Baer, US Ambassador to the OSCE
Photo: Colin Peters/USOSCE
16 September 2016 - 0

Interview with Daniel Baer, US Ambassador to the OSCE

On 7 September Stephanie Liechtenstein met with Daniel Baer, the US Ambassador to the OSCE, for an interview in Vienna. Ambassador Baer is a strong supporter of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and a staunch defender of fundamental human rights across the OSCE region. In this interview, Ambassador Baer talks about the situation in Ukraine and stresses that the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements is the best framework for a permanent, political solution to the conflict. He underlines the need for the international community to continue to press for complete, free and unfettered access for OSCE monitors to all areas in eastern Ukraine. He stresses that the most important aspect is for Russia to give a signal to its proxies on the ground in Ukraine that it does not want the OSCE monitors to be obstructed, harassed or shot at. Ambassador Baer describes the situation in parts of eastern Ukraine as a "dystopia that is run by armed thugs with machine guns patrolling the streets." He believes that the security environment will have to change significantly before free and fair local elections can be run in eastern Ukraine. He does not exclude that at that point an armed presence may be needed to help ensure a safe environment for the elections. Apart from the situation in Ukraine, Ambassador Baer provides his views on the OSCE role in managing the migration and refugee flows, on the upcoming Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw as well as on the upcoming Presidential Elections in the United States.

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Early presidential elections in Ukraine: A chance for unity?
Photo: OSCE/Adam Adamus
6 June 2014 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

Early presidential elections in Ukraine: A chance for unity?

Early presidential elections were held in Ukraine on 25 May despite the challenging political and security situation in the country. The presidential elections were called after former President Victor Yanukovych was deposed in February amid mass protests on Maidan square in Kiev and other parts of the country. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, who is not directly linked to any party and who supported the pro-European Maidan protests from the beginning, won 54.7% of the votes. Yulia Timoshenko of the Fatherland party received 12.81% of the votes and Mykhailo Dobkin, the candidate of the Party of Regions with which former President Yanukovych was associated, got just over 3% of the votes. The Ukrainian CEC announced a high voter turnout of over 60%. These results indicate that Ukraine overwhelmingly voted for a pro-European president.

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In the right place at the right time: Use the OSCE to defuse the crisis in Ukraine
Photo: OSCE/Jonathan Perfect
5 March 2014 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

In the right place at the right time: Use the OSCE to defuse the crisis in Ukraine

The corridors of the Hofburg were unusually crowded with diplomats and filled with journalists when the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship convened a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council (PC) on 3 March in Vienna. When it became known during the weekend that US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had suggested to Russian President Vladimir Putin to bring in the OSCE to help ease growing tensions in Ukraine and especially the Crimean peninsula, all previous efforts by the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship to promote the OSCE's role in the Ukrainian crisis seemed to have paid off. In my previous blog entry of 15 February I made a strong case for the OSCE helping settle the crisis in Ukraine not only because the Organization has the expertise and ideal tools available to do so but also because the current Swiss OSCE Chairmanship is in an ideal position to lead such efforts. It seems several leaders are starting to share this view.

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Free elections or free caviar?
Photo: OSCE/Thomas Rymer
15 November 2013 - 1

Free elections or free caviar?

Ilham Aliyev has dominated the ex-Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan for an entire decade. He won the Presidency in 2003 (when he succeeded his father) and again in 2008. It therefore came as no surprise when Aliyev of the New Azerbaijan Party again managed to gain 85 percent of the votes in the Presidential election on 9 October of this year. Azerbaijan is located strategically between Russia and Iran. It has rich oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea which it exports to Europe mainly through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. The oil exports have led to an economic boom in the country, raising living standards and reducing poverty. However, visitors to the glowing capital of Baku should not let themselves be deceived by its futuristic architecture, grand boulevard and impressive seafront. Aliyev tolerates no dissent

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Parliamentary elections in Bulgaria a litmus test for reestablished cooperation between ODIHR and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
Photo: OSCE/Thomas Rymer
21 May 2013 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

Parliamentary elections in Bulgaria a litmus test for reestablished cooperation between ODIHR and OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

On 15 April 2013, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Bureau decided to reactivate the 1997 Cooperation Agreement between the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA). As a reminder, the PA unilaterally withdrew from the Cooperation Agreement at the Dublin OSCE Ministerial Council in December 2012, shocking the OSCE and its participating States. (See previous blog on this topic). As a result, the February presidential election in Armenia exposed the rift between the two institutions, with the ODIHR and PA delivering separate statements at separate press conferences. This created confusion among media representatives and undermined the credibility of OSCE election observation activities. In order to reestablish a professional working relationship, an Ad Hoc Committee on Transparency and Reform, led by Francois-Xavier de Donnea (Belgium) was established.

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Armenian presidential elections expose rift between OSCE ODIHR and OSCE PA
Photo: OSCE/Tom Rymer
23 February 2013 - Stephanie Liechtenstein - 0

Armenian presidential elections expose rift between OSCE ODIHR and OSCE PA

As was widely expected, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan was re-elected in the 19 February presidential elections. According to the Central Election Commission, Sargsyan of the Republican Party won 58.64% of the vote. His closest challenger, Raffi Hovannisian of the Heritage party and Armenia's first foreign minister after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, won 36.75% of the vote. Hrant Bagratyan, a former prime minister of Armenia, received only 2.15% of the vote, and Paruyr Hayrikyan, leader of the National Self-determination Union, who was shot in the shoulder on 31 January in Yerevan, won 1.23 % of the vote. Other candidates earned less than 1.5% of the total votes. In fact, major political parties chose not to present presidential candidates.

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