Ukrainian prosecutor general's direct support to presidential candidate Poroshenko unacceptable - OSCE
KYIV. April 1 (Interfax) - Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko's direct backing of incumbent President Petro Poroshenko during the latter's electoral campaign has caused concerns to the International Election Observation Mission of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and the European Parliament.
"According to ODIHR EOM interlocutors and media reports, he [Lutsenko] appeared at the incumbent's campaign kickoff event and made a number of statements, including on his personal Facebook page, that cast doubts on his office's independence," the International Election Observation Mission said in a preliminary report published on Monday.
Additionally, several Ukrainian presidential candidates are "the subject of ongoing criminal investigations," with at least three investigations launched after they announced their candidacy, according to observers.
Meetings of the Regional Development Council, which Poroshenko has set up in 2015, were used as a venue for the incumbent president's campaign in various Ukrainian regions. Meanwhile, Poroshenko paid a lot of official working visits during his electoral campaign, frequently using them for campaigning.
The first round of the Ukrainian presidential election was competitive and the citizens had the opportunity to express their will freely, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) observer mission to Ukraine said earlier on Monday.
These conclusions were announced by OSCE special coordinator and OSCE PA Honorary President Ilkka Kanerva on Monday as he spoke at a joint press conference attended by representatives of international observer missions, including those of the OSCE/ODIHR, the OSCE PA, the PACE, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament.