As part of the COD Election Observation Mission to Georgia, YaroslavDavydovych has joined COD as a Special Advisor, and recently spent several days on the ground in Georgia, meeting with political parties, diplomats, NGOs, and government bodies. Mr. Davydovych is considered one of the great heroes of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, because of his courage and integrity in refusing to sign falsified election results during the 2004 Presidential elections. As Vice-Chairman of the Ukrainian Central Election Commission, he was the highest-ranking (and one of only three) CEC officials to refuse to legitimize the false ‘protocols’, as the election results documents are known there. His refusal was integral in sparking the Orange Revolution and bringing greater democracy to Ukraine. He has conducted numerous election observations in other countries, including the Republic of Georgia, where he currently assists COD in its Election Observation Mission there.
“Mr. Davydovych is a humble example of courage in the face of pressure.” said Brian Mefford, COD Executive Director. “There are few people in this part of the world with more credibility or respect when it comes to determining electoral fairness and the legitimacy of election results. He is a man always on the side of the will of the people, and we’re proud to have his expertise.”
“The Committee for Open Democracy is a special organization, unique in the field,” Mr. Davydovych said. “It’s founders are highly experienced veterans of democratization work, and I associate myself with them because they adhere to the highest standards of integrity, objectivity, and professionalism. They are elite observers, very experienced, and I very much look forward to working with them in Georgia and elsewhere.”
During Mr. Davydovych’s visit, he met with the Central Election Commission of Georgia, political parties, foreign ambassadors, and non governmental organizations – all as part of gaining detail and understanding of the current election environment. “My purpose here is entirely and firmly non-partisan, as it is up to the people of Georgia to determine their political leadership.” Capping his visit to Georgia, Mr. Davydovych and COD leadership held a press conference at the Inter Press News Center on 5 June, 2012. There he spoke about his experiences and impressions of the election environment in Georgia, providing both a statement and taking questions, much of which can be found here. “Mister Davydovych is a living figure who has shaped the fate of his nation towards greater freedom and democracy,” said Tom Nolan, President of the Committee for Open Democracy. “His contributions to COD and our election observation mission in Georgia are substantial, and we look forward to his next working visit to Tbilisi.”