13.12.2002 | Ludmila Klochko, Kharkov

Conflict in Chuguev


Many mass media, including some all-Ukrainian TV channels, have already informed about post-election clashes in Chuguev. What has happened in the actual fact?

We will quote the opinion of A. Solovyev, the executive manager of the Agency of municipal development, and A. Lisianski, the executive manager of the Chuguev Union of businessmen:

„A month after the election the public passions around the election of the Chuguev mayor did not subsided; on the contrary, they grew to a tempest. On 31 March 60% of Chuguev dwellers voted for entrusting the mayor’s post to A. Kvasha. One of the three candidates to the mayor’s post, R. Aleksandrov (who, by the way, got the smallest number of the votes) turned to court with the claim to acknowledge the results of the election invalid. On 23 April the Ordzhonikidze district court of Kharkov took the decision to satisfy the claim of Aleksandrov.

This decision caused the mass protests on the side of Chuguev inhabitants. The majority of them considers that the acknowledgement of the mayor’s election as invalid brutally tramples their constitutional rights. On 24 April a numerous meeting in support of the legally elected mayor was held, at which the people expressed their indignation about the court decision and their resolution to defend their right for free will expression. During the meeting it became known that the town voting commission took the illegal decision to entrust the mayor’s post to R. Aleksandrov. The participants of the meeting to attract attention of the public and oblast power to their protest blocked the traffic on the highway Kyiv – Rostov for two hours. This event was widely elucidated in mass media, bot national and foreign.

In the evening of the same day the third extraordinary session of the town council was held, which considered the situation connected with the mayor’s election that created in Chuguev and the question about the annulment of powers of the town voting commission“.

There had been three candidates to the mayor’s post: A. Kvasha, A. Zdor and R. Aleksandrov. The votes were divided as follows: Kvasha got 11533 votes (i.e. 58,85%), Zdor – about 20%, Aleksandrov – 3415 votes (17.4%). Candidate Aleksandrov turned to court indicating numerous violations during the pre-election campaign and during counting the votes. The court established that the candidates actually worked under unequal conditions – the acting mayor used the „administrative resource“, and abused the law about holding and financing the agitation campaign. The court took the decision: „To force the Chuguev territorial voting commission in electing deputies of the Chuguev town council and the Chuguev mayor to acknowledge invalid the results of the election of the Chuguev mayor in the part involving A. Kvasha, the candidate to the post of the Chuguev mayor at the election of 31 March 2002“.

It would seem that justice triumphed and the user of illegal technologies is punished as he deserved.

On the basis of the court decision the Chuguev town voting commission, which had not noticed any violations during two months, cancelled its own decision of 1 April 2002 No. 57 on the result of the election of the 45 mayor and decided that the election was won by… Aleksandrov, who got the smallest number of votes. Candidate A. Zdor, who had the second place in the election, died after the court ruled to cancel the election results, but before the territorial commission took its decision. So, Aleksandrov, the only remaining candidate, became the winner.

So, what is the reason of the discontent of the Chuguev dwellers? The reason is that they were not given the opportunity to choose their mayor. The reader must agree that the candidate, who got three thousand votes out of 29258 (the number of registered voters in Chuguev) or eve out of 19632 (who actually took part in the election), is actually elected by the town. Perhaps, new election must be held.

There are several interesting and, in my opinion, instructive moments in all this story. First, it would be desirable that this case should become a lesson for those, who have the access to the „administrative resource“. Many Chuguev dwellers, I believe, would perhaps vote for the acting mayor by their own will, without additional encouragement, since I heard much good about him from different people long before the pre-election campaign. So, there would be no need to violate the election laws even in tiny details. Secondly, many of the Chuguev dwellers could not understand why such a good candidate was taken from the registration, suspecting in the court decision someone’s „intrigues“. Perhaps, the court decision should be patiently explained to the citizens. Then there would not be blocking the highway and other protest actions. Thirdly, the position of the territorial voting commission is surprising, since it did not find any violations during the entire campaign, and then took a drastic decision, obviously impinging the right of the town dwellers to elect the mayor.

Regardless of the election in Chuguev dwellers, I want to say: we had not learned democracy during 10 years of practices – either electors or elected. How often those, who in some ways bribed voters, even without breaking the law, were elected to the organs of self-rule and to the Supreme Rada in majority districts. It would be instructive to count how many charity funds named after the candidates are opened before elections and how long they exist after the elections. It would be instructive to trace how polite becomes the personnel of clinics, whose administrator becomes a candidate, and why a manager-candidate, who quite recently asserted that there is no money and no money is expected in near future, begins to pay the arrears. Perhaps, all this will continue until we understand that only honest and competent people must be elected to organs of all levels in contrast to those tricksters, who „donate elephants“ before the election. The „donators of elephants“ would have to refill their purses later… And id the „elephants“ are from the budget? Then one must guess to whom and when these „elephants“ had not been given. Maybe to you? Maybe, the voters themselves await some crumbs from the candidates’ table? We have got accustomed to the good old tradition to pave roads before election by putting the tarmac upon spring mud.

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