2010 Local Elections – Manipulation rife
Andriy Kohut from the Civic Assembly of Ukraine reports that the parties in power are building their election campaign with the use of administrative resources and methods involving the enforcement and regulatory bodies. Arrests’ the initiating of criminal investigations; or raids by the tax police or Control and Audit Department [KRU] make it possible given the short duration of the election campaign to quickly deal with opponents.
However Kohut says that the main manipulative techniques are based on the use of administrative resources, enabling favoured candidates to get a head start and discrediting opponents.
The civic network OPORA also reports a shift away from standard “black PR” to the use of administrative resources to combine provocation with denigrating rivals, including through initiating criminal investigations, charges of bribe-taking etc.
At present there are prominent “anti-corruption cases” in many cities with criminal investigations being initiated, arrests, confiscations from candidates, often from opposition parties, with high rating.
Kohut mentions the following trends during this election campaign:
1. Discrediting opponents through the enforcement agencies
He mentions the use of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA], the prosecutor’s office, courts at various levels, the Control and Audit Department, and the tax police.
More information about one such case – in Kamianets-Podilsky - where the local population is protesting over the arrest of their Mayor can be found at: http://www.khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1286191022
2. Receiving first positions in the candidate list
As reported here already, the law on the local elections brought in so hurriedly this year changes the normal system where positions are through a draw. Now it’s first come, first served. This has led to fiddling with a chosen party being informed of the place of registration. If another party managed to get in first, they had their papers returned for clarification, or their registration was cancelled.
More information here: http://www.khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1286493227
3. Formation of the election precincts to suit “the right candidates”
There can be fiddling of the number of voters in a precinct. There is a considerable difference in the number of voters at different polling areas with representation and the possibility of being elected accordingly unequal. There are examples where for the same council, there are precincts with 4 thousand voters and 30 thousand. Obviously it’s much easier to have a campaign with only 4 thousand.
4. Fiddling of territorial coverage of polling areas in order to lower voter turn out
Buildings within one polling area are very far removed from each other, with voters being forced on Election Day to look for a polling station which will significantly reduce the turn out. This is applied where there is a low level of support for the “right” candidate.
5 Meetings and appeals by “labour collectives” in support of candidates
Meetings either set up or non-existent supposedly resulting in support for certain candidates with this being reported in the media.
6. Pressure on the editorial policy of municipal media outlets
The local leadership, instead of the notorious instructions by telephone of the past are trying to make “official” proposals which can’t be refused. For example, they demand “standard agreements” obliging the editors of publications to give written notification of any change in their political views, membership of political parties or civic organizations.
More information about this and similar methods can be found at No Room for Democracy? here http://www.khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1285771187
Andriy Kohut’s report was published at: http://human-rights.unian.net/ukr/detail/195226