Congressmen Rohrabacher and Berman Introduce Ukraine Elections Bill
Washington, Oct 7, 2004 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7 October 04 CONTACT: 202-225-2415 (Washington, D.C.) Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Howard Berman (D-CA), both senior members of the House International Relations committee, today introduced H.R.5247, which will deny visas to Ukrainian government officials if the October 31 Ukrainian presidential election is not free and fair. H.R. 5247, is engineered to punish individuals complicit in hijacking Ukraine's electoral system and manipulating the outcome of this year's presidential election. This legislation is a bipartisan iteration of H.R. 5102, and has broader support in Congress than the earlier version. "If the outcome of the Ukrainian election is tainted by thuggery, the future of democracy in that country and the Ukraine's relationships with other democratic countries will be endangered. I am pleased that my Democratic colleagues in Congress have joined me to make it clear that the United States will accept nothing less than a free and fair election in the Ukraine," Rep. Rohrabacher said. At the moment, there is every indication the election will not be fair and free and that government resources are being positioned to control election results - - to take away the choice of Ukraine's people. To date, the United States government has called for a free and fair election, and the protection of citizen's rights in the Ukraine. The European Union has also called upon Ukraine to assure a free and fair election. Unfortunately, this has not entirely deterred those who are attempting to sabotage this election. Whether it is a comprehensive denial of access to the national media, intimidation of citizens, candidates and campaigns, harassment of citizen expressions of political views, illegal use of government resources to promote the candidacy of the Prime Minister, or the illegal actions to control local voting commissions, it is clear that the legitimacy of this election will be undermined. H.R. 5247 sends the message that the United States will not countenance election fraud, and will not tolerate those responsible for depriving the people of the Ukraine of their sacred and hard-won franchise. "Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukraine has shown so much promise as a free and democratic country. We want to see that this fledgling democracy survives," Rohrabacher said.