Punishment for vote-buyers vital
The Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] issued a preliminary statement on Monday about the course of the early elections in Kyiv which saw a low turnout and the largest percentage of votes (around 29 percent) cast for the present Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky and his party.
The CVU reports that the voting passed peacefully and welcomes the number of observers from the different candidates at the polling stations. It sees no reason at this stage to invalidate the results but does speak of a large number of complaints to electoral commissions and to the courts and does not exclude the possibility that some courts might declare the results void.
It predicts delay with the vote count due to inadequate training of electoral commission staff and the different procedure for counting votes.
The main infringements during the early elections, according to the CVU, were from methods which can be seen as attempts to bribe the voters. These were observed during the two weeks before the elections and continued on voting day.
Since law enforcement officers detained some of those undertaking the bribes and gathered information about the system involved, the public now await a swift investigation into these cases before the election results are announced. Only punishment of those who organize such criminal setups will act as a deterrent at future elections.
The CVU does not exclude the possibility that following the results of such an investigation, the question of whether to invalidate the results of the elections might arise if it transpired that a candidate or his/her authorized representatives had ordering the bribery.
The main organizational problems were linked with the quality of the voter lists, with a lot of technical mistakes, duplicated names and “dead souls” on the lists. A lot of complaints came from 18-19-year olds who didnt find their names registered.
The CVU is concerned about the gathering of information regarding the turnout. The territorial electoral commissions were inexplicably unable to ensure that this information was obtained which could lead to manipulation of the size of the turnout which increases the likelihood of unlawful influence on the outcome of the elections.
There were other technical problems: the large size of the voting paper meant that the boxes became overfull, and on one of the documents for the electoral commissions the name of one of the candidates – Klichko – was left out.
The CVU stresses the need for swift amendments to electoral legislation on the use of funding during campaigning, increasing the requirements for candidates and changing the electoral system at local elections. The CVU also calls on the Central Election Commission to step up work on creating a State Register of Voters to avoid problems at the elections.
CVU Press Service