Washington, DC – IRI today announced it will monitor Ukraine’s March 26 parliamentary and local elections.  Delegates will travel to Ukraine to monitor voting and ballot counting throughout the country.  Following the voting, IRI will issue a statement on the findings of the delegation.

IRI’s delegation will be led by The Honorable Michael Trend, former member of Britain’s parliament.  Other delegates are Steven Berry, President, Steven K. Berry, LLC; Thomas Carter, President, Commonwealth Consulting Corp.; Marjorie Finkelnburg, Director of Government Relations, Pfizer; The Honorable Bohdan Futey, U.S. Court of Federal Claims; Charles Greenleaf, former Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development; Lilibet Hagel, Trustee, Meridian International Center; Reuben Jeffery III, Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Patricia Morgan, State Chairman for Rhode Island, Republican National Committee; Gardner Peckham, Managing Partner, BKSH & Associates; Roman Popadiuk, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine; Bob Schaffer, former Congressman representing Colorado’s 4th District; and Morgan Williams, Director of Government Affairs, SigmaBleyzer.

Delegates will travel to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, on March 21.  Once there, delegates will be briefed by representatives from the U.S. Embassy, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, international and Ukrainian nongovernmental organizations, political parties, and representatives of the media.  They will also be briefed on the rights and responsibilities of international observers and Ukraine election law.  Delegates will then be deployed throughout the country where they will monitor polling stations and identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in Ukraine’s election system, including campaign regulations, the balloting process, vote tabulation and reporting.

IRI staff will also serve as observers and assist in the mission. IRI staff will be led by Georges Fauriol, Senior Vice President of IRI, Stephen B. Nix, Regional Director for IRI’s Eurasia division and Chris Holzen, IRI’s Country Director for Ukraine.

In addition, through a grant from IRI the Democracy Development Foundation (DDF), a domestic Ukrainian nongovernmental organization, will monitor an estimated 2,600 polling sites with more than 150 observers.  DDF is the only Ukrainian elections monitoring organization conducting and coordinating both domestic and international election observation for the parliamentary and local election.

Since 1993, IRI has worked to help strengthen political parties and good governance in Ukraine at both national and local levels.  IRI also works with youth, women and civil society to increase their participation in the political process.  In preparation for the March 2006 parliamentary elections, IRI carried out trainings on campaign management, voter education, youth mobilization, and political party poll watching.

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