France calls for free, fair elections in Ukraine

6th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

SOFIA, Dec 6 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier Monday called for free and fair elections in Ukraine, where a presidential runoff is due to be repeated in three weeks.

SOFIA, Dec 6 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier Monday called for free and fair elections in Ukraine, where a presidential runoff is due to be repeated in three weeks.

"In the area of democracy and human rights ... the holding of free, fair and transparent elections must be assured," Barnier told a ministerial meeting of the pan-European Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the Bulgarian capital.

"That's what at stake in Ukraine," he said, adding that supporting democracy, opposition to violence and finding a political solution to the Ukraine crisis that would help preserve the country's unity were also paramount.

Barnier said that France would contribute an unspecified sum to the organisation of the forthcoming poll - to which the OSCE will send hundreds of observers like in the November elections which were full of fraud.

Ukraine's supreme court on Friday backed the opposition claims that the November 21 presidential runoff vote, which authorities declared was won by outgoing President Leonid Kuchma's anointed successor, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, was riddled with fraud and ordered a new ballot.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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