Human rights protectors of Sevastopol are disturbed with the violations of election laws
In the opinion of Roman Romanov, the executive manager of the Sevastopol human rights protection group, violations of election laws by authorities are especially dangerous for citizens rights and are intended to subdue the citizens will. The Sevastopol Group distributed its review „The course of the election campaign in Sevastopol: facts that disturb“ at a press conference. The review contains numerous facts of violating the Ukrainian Law „On election of peoples deputies of Ukraine“.
Sevastopol human rights protectors reckon that Leonid Zhunko, the head of the Sevastopol city administration, having signed order No. 214-p of 10 February 2002, exceeded his authority, did not fulfil the demands of the Ukrainian Law „On election of peoples deputies of Ukraine“ (Article 52 part 8) and thus impeded the free election agitation, as it is envisaged by Article 51 part 1 of this Law. As a result, the agitation matter of the election bloc of Viktor Yushchenko „Our Ukraine“ was destroyed. At the same time other political parties and blocs continued to use the similar methods of outdoor political advertisement that were not permitted to Yushchenko. For example, every inch of Sevastopol trolley buses was plastered with the leaflets of the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ (a pro-governmental block), a big-board with the symbols of the Social-Democratic party of Ukraine (united) (SDPU (u)) was placed near the stadium „Chayka“.
The largest number of the materials with a concealed political advertisement was published in the newspaper „Slava Sevatopolia“. Only during February the newspaper printed more about a dozen of such publications, from which it is not difficult to conclude that the newspaper supports the SDPU (u) and the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ Some issues of the newspaper were so oversaturated with such agitation that space lacked for reporting other city events. For example, the newspaper managed not to mention the V. Yushchenkos visit to Sevastopol. In such a manner the editorial board restricts the citizens right for information, since the readers get for their money not the unbiased information, but propaganda and agitation indoctrination.
Analyzing the facts of the active participation of the organs and officials of state power and local self-rule in the election agitation, R. Romanov, along with the requirements of the Law „On election of peoples deputies of Ukraine“, also reminded the OSCE standards. The standards read: „A government must not misuse the state resources for supporting the candidates of the ruling party (parties). For example, government-owned cars, offices and communication means must not be used for it, except cases, where all candidates have the equal access to these resources“.
Most shops, hairdressing saloons and other convenient places permitted to arrange the placards of the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ in their windows. In private talks the owners and workers of these establishments do not conceal that they did it not on their own free will, but after the orders of local authorities. Many communal services of the city were also involved to the election campaign.
Involving the law-enforcing organs to the election campaign is the most dangerous for the free will demonstration of citizens. Militiamen actively collect signatures for the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ The Sevastopol Group received some complaint from citizens that militiamen turned to them with the proposition to sign a special blank with the promise to vote for the bloc „For united Ukraine!“. The blank was a table without a heading that contains surname, name, patronymics, address and signature.
The Group received similar complaints from car drivers, who were stopped by road militiamen. The militiamen checked their documents and, having learned the addresses, proposed to sign the appeal endorsing Viktor Zaichko, the candidate of the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ from electoral district No. 225, the deputy head of the Sevastopol city administration. Vladimir Litvin, the head of the Presidential administration and the leader of the bloc „For united Ukraine!“, demonstrated a bad example for imitation. Having arrived in Sevastopol on a service car and with the service guard, he held a number of agitation meetings, wasting in such a way the state budget. One of these meetings was held in the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior, which violates Article 56 item 2 of the Law „On election of peoples deputies of Ukraine“. This article forbids candidates to peoples deputies to visit militia units.
Some candidates, including Ivan Vernidubov, the head of the Sevastopol tax administration, sent greeting postcards to their potential voters for the cost of tax administration. The addresses were taken from the database of the tax administration, which, according to the law, must be confidential. Such actions of the head of the tax administration and the candidate from the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ may be a legal cause for excluding him from the list of candidates, according to Article 49 part 3 item 11 of the Law „On election of peoples deputies of Ukraine“, and starting a criminal case, according to Article 182 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (interference into private life).
Human rights protection activists are seriously worried by the passivity of prosecutors offices concerning the election violations by candidates and political parties (blocs). In spite of the fact that laws theoretically enable participants of election process to protect their rights, the potential of the laws is used very insufficiently. This, in the opinion of the Sevastopol Group, is the main reason of the abuses of laws.
After the review compiled by the Sevastopol human rights protection Group in the framework of the program „Transparent election-2002“
The complete version of the review is placed on the site http://ukrlife.bravepages.com/main/TRIBUNA/view_.html