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03.09.2007

Not so great expectations

   

The results just published of the latest survey carried out by the “Democratic Initiatives” Foundation, in cooperation with the firm Ukrainian Sociological Service*, are not entirely surprising, perhaps, but are disturbing.

The survey carried out from 19 June to 2 July this year found that only 28% of respondents were convinced that the elections would be free and fair while 52% were convinced that they would not, while 20% could not say.  This figure is higher than in during the analogous survey in 2004.

The researchers point out that the public have been sceptical regarding the fairness on the eve of each election since they began their surveys in 1998 however the results this time are disturbingly higher.

Table 1   Expectations regarding the course of the elections (%)

How will the elections go?

Feb. 1998

Nov. 2001

Aug. 2004

Nov. 2005

June 2007

Honestly and without vote-rigging

7

3

12

7

4

There will be some infringements but these will not have any significant impact on the overall result

23

23

32

36

23

I imagine that the results could be distorted

33

36

25

27

41

Everything will definitely be rigged

20

21

18

18

19

Hard to say

17

16

13

12

12

Such results are very disturbing since only 27% of the respondents are confident of full or relative fairness of the vote count. The least certainty was expressed by supporters of the Communist Party and the Party of the Regions, while supporters of Nasha Ukraina [Our Ukraine] and BYuT [Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc] were a bit more optimistic, yet even among the latter almost half expected vote-rigging. 

Table 2   Expectations regarding the course of the elections broken down by faction supported (%)

How will the elections go?

„NU”

BYuT

CPU

Party of the Regions

Against alll

undecided

Honestly and without vote-rigging

10.2

6.5

6.1

2.6

0.0

2.2

There will be some infringements but these will not have any significant impact on the overall result

35.3

35.5

13.4

22.7

8.7

17.5

I imagine that the results could be distorted

36.9

40.2

51.2

45.9

33.9

35.6

Everything will definitely be rigged

4.7

9.0

23.2

18.1

47.8

25.1

Hard to say

12.9

8.7

6.1

10.6

9.6

19.5

In comparison with the 2006 parliamentary elections, there is a marked decrease in the level of trust in the Central Election Commission and local electoral commissions.

Table 4   Level of trust in the Central Election Commission

Do you trust the CEC?

March 2005

July 2007

Yes

44.9

22.3

No

25.9

43.8

Hard to say

29.1

33.9

Despite the fact that there is a majority from the ruling coalition in the CEC, it was these parties who trusted the CEC least, with 18% of supporters of the Communist Party trusting it, 24.1 of Party of the Regions supporters, against 30.1 and 33.7 for Nasha Ukraina and BYuT respectively.  The level of confidence expressed by supporters of parties unlikely to get into parliament was even lower.

An interesting aspect of this part of the survey was that confidence in the CEC varied greatly depending on region, with the least trust felt in the Donbas area and the Crimea.

While there was generally more confidence in local electoral commissions, the figures were still down on those before the 2006 elections.
Given the worrying lack of confidence in the electoral outcome, it is perhaps no surprise that observers are in 2007 seen as more important.

Table 5

Which observers do you think are most useful?  The respondents could choose more than one category.

Which observers

March 2005

July 2007

Ukrainian observers from parties and blocs

34.8

40.3

Ukrainian observers from civic organizations

28.4

38.6

Foreign observers from western countries

27.1

29.7

Foreign observers from CIS countries

20.5

24.7

No use in any of the observers

17.7

17.1

Hard to say

18.0

12.8

Important here is the fact that supporters of all factions felt that observers had a useful role to play. There was however a big difference in assessment of foreign observers, with supporters of the “orange” factions trusting western observers, and not trusting those from CIS countries, with their opponents expressing the opposite opinion.

 

*  In the light of the number of anonymous “sociological surveys” bombarding Ukrainians at present, we would stress that this survey is by reputable organizations, supported through a grant from the International Renaissance Foundation.  Analogous surveys have been carried out since 1998. The margin of error is no higher than 2.2% 

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