The Council of Europe’s Secretary General praised Ukraine’s government for its “very ambitious” new electoral law. Thorbjorn Jagland said the new law would be “very important,” paving the way to “free and fair” elections to be held in the country on October 28th. Speaking to the press on Monday, Mr. Jagland said: “I’m very glad to see that a very ambitious plan is being implemented very well.” The Council of Europe is providing assistance to Ukraine in implementing the new electoral law, which was written with the advice of European Union officials. The electoral reforms, which were approved by 80 percent of the Ukrainian parliament last year, will be used nationally for the first time at the election in October. The new law received support not only from the governing coalition but also from the opposition party led by Yulia Tymoschenko, which also voted in favor.
Mr. Jagland stressed the importance of the bi-partisan support for the reforms, which ensure that all parties get free and fair access to the national media during the campaign period. “It is very important that the government party and the opposition recognize the same rules. The very important precondition that the elections are free and fair is that everybody has the same access to the media,” Mr Jagland said. He noted the problem of having one of the main opposition leaders imprisoned but said regardless, “It is very important that the elections are being held and they are free and fair.”