CVU: New Law on Local Elections – a Crime against the Voter


Speaking on a television programme on TVi, the Head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] Oleksandr Chernenko called the new law “a crime against the voter” and the worst electoral law since 1996.

Mr Chernenko believes that in passing this law, “the authorities have fenced themselves off from the public, both in Ukraine and the international community” 

The CVU Head does not however consider the situation in Ukraine to be a dictatorship or authoritarian regime, but does however note that “one can observe a great desire among certain people in power to move along that path, and that is dangerous”.

Mr Chernenko does not see it as warranted to view the local elections as simply that the Party of the Regions will take power at local level. He says there will be several thousand local struggles between financial-economic local gangs or clans. They will try to keep out the opposition as much as they can. He believes that “internal competition will be very strongly evident at the local elections”.

In addition, Chernenko predicts that journalists “will be more engaged, but earn less. They won’t pay money. The owner of a specific local media outlet has specific economic interests and will therefore provide his resource as a contribution to the electoral campaign.”

With regard to the situation over the television and radio company Chornomorska, he says that this is reminiscent of the score-settling of the 1990s. “The fact that it is being done so primitively, without glossy coating shows that there is little time before the elections.”

On Saturday, the management and journalists from one of the largest and most popular television companies in the Crimea, Chornomorska, called on Ukrainian and foreign journalists and human rights campaigners for help. As reported, the tax police have frozen Chornomorska’s assets, while the Control and Audit Department has now begun a check. Chornomorska warns that nearer the elections the TV company may stop broadcasting as has already happened under Kuchma.

Both bodies have simply frozen the assets, but are not returning to carry out a check.

The Head of the Crimean branch of the Batkivshchyna [Motherland] Party, National Deputy Andriy Senchenko, who is considered to be the owner of Chornomorska views this as pressure on the television company in order to exclude it from broadcasting during the local elections.

See also the statement issued by the Committee for the Monitoring of Press Freedom in the Crimea and links below. As reported here Chornomorska, together with TVi and Channel 5, held a preliminary strike on Saturday, aimed at drawing attention to what they believe is the threat facing freedom of speech in Ukraine.

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