November 17, 2014

VATICAN CITY – With international observers reporting largely free and fair parliamentary elections in Ukraine, hopes increased that promised reforms would follow, including an end to high levels of government corruption.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sent hundreds of observers for the Oct. 26 election, said the voting "marked an important step in consolidating democratic elections."

Archbishop Thomas Gullickson, the Vatican's nuncio to Ukraine, said Oct. 29 the international observers' positive assessment of the election "gives reason for rejoicing in another step forward in the democratic process."

"Despite the hesitation of many to go and vote, given all the disillusionment of even the recent past, I would have to see the results at the polls as an affirmation on the part of the country to set a course for rule by law and democracy," Gullickson said in an email.

"There is an evident hope that justice will have its day for the people of Ukraine."

"My hope is that the new parliament and government, in cooperation with the president of Ukraine, will set a reform course for the country," the archbishop said.


The pro-reform, pro-West parties collected a clear majority of the votes in the election.

For the first time since Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the pro-Russian Communist Party did not win the five per cent of votes needed to take a seat in the parliament.

In the run up to the elections, Catholic and Orthodox Church leaders urged their faithful to vote in the elections and to elect parliamentarians who would fight corruption.