Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Ukraine election is a 'post-Cold War turning point'

The Times - December 1st 2004

Sir

The Ukrainian presidential election, which I was privileged to observe, was undoubtedly marred by serious government-controlled media bias during the campaign, as well as Viktor Yanukovych using the resources of the state to conduct his campaign. More serious, however, is the reported electoral fraud on the day of election, particularly in the east.

Regrettably, the EU and Nato in recent years have been insufficiently encouraging to Ukraine in terms of its long-term aspirations, which led Mr Yanukovych and President Putin to conclude that there would be little robust defence of Ukrainian democracy and sovereignty if they effectively tried to bring Ukraine back under Russian control.

You suggest a rerun of the election with tighter monitoring (leading article, November 26). This would be fine but, unfortunately, Ukrainian election law in the event of an election being cancelled through fraud prohibits the original two run-off candidates from running again on the presumption that one or other must have used foul play.

If the Supreme Court finds 10 per cent of ballots cast in a district to have been falsified then it can cancel the result for that district. Without changing the electoral law, that would appear to be the only legal option available to the genuine presidential winner Viktor Yushchenko.

Yours faithfully

Charles Tannock MEP
London Region (Conservative)