18.01.2005 | Natalya Goncharova, “Objektiv-No”

Whether the authorities exerted pressure on the election in Kharkiv?


The opinions of foreign observers, who have supervised the course of the Presidential election in Kharkiv, are different: Russian experts say about legitimacy and transparency of the election, and the observers from other countries insist on the mass use of administrative resource and the attempts of local authorities to affect the opinion of voters. 71 foreign observers supervised the election in the Kharkiv region: 26 representatives from the OSCE, 6 – from the Ukrainian congress committee (Canada), 2 -- from the National democratic institute and 2 – from the international organization “Freedom House”, 1 person represented the USA International republican institute, 7 – Georgia and 27 – the CIS mission.

Vladislav Petrovich, a representative of the Ukrainian congress committee, states that there were many cases of pressure on voters by the local power, in particular at the 171st territorial election station located in the building of the Dzerzhinskiy district executive committee. By his words, the officials of the Dzerzhinskiy district executive committee “controlled” the election and were personally responsible for the work of the district election commission. They stayed at the election station allegedly for the provision of the technical means for voting, whereas it was a competence of the head and members of the commission, but not the officials of the executive committee, says Vladislav Petrovich. The foreign observer regards this fact as meddling of the authorities into the election process, but he has not compiled the official protocol about this violation, and promised to pass this information only to the Ukrainian congress committee. The Canadian observer reckons that numerous mistakes in the lists of voters and presence of “dead souls” in the lists confirm the fact that the election in Kharkiv and the Kharkiv region hardly can be regarded as democratic.

On the contrary, representatives of the CIS mission assert that they did not notice any pressure on voters on the side of the authorities. In the opinion of Evgeniy Aliamovskiy, the fact of “control” over the election commission by the Dzerzhinskiy district executive committee cannot be regarded as a violation, since the provision of technical means for voting (communications, transport, rooms, etc.) is a duty of district authorities, but not of the election commissions. “I want to express our general assessment of the election, which we have observed… I believe that the election in the Kharkiv region was conducted legitimately and in concordance with the laws of Ukraine. As to the drawbacks, they cannot be a reason of non-legitimacy of the election”, declared Evgeniy Aliamovskiy.

In the opinion of Viktor Kuznetsov, another official observer from the CIS mission, the Ukrainian election was more democratic than Russian one. The coupons of the bulletins personify the responsibility of the members of election commissions for every bulletin handed to voters; the commissions, consisting of representatives of all candidates, and the large quantity of foreign observers make impossible the attempts to influence the course of the election, he believes. “We did not notice any pressure exerted by the authorities at the election stations”, insist the observers from the CIS mission.

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