Hardly like elections
The Kherson Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] reports an unprecedented and unacceptable degree of pressure on participants in the elections for Kherson Mayor and Deputies to the City Council.
This is first and foremost the obstruction of free access for journalists to election information and creation of unequal conditions for running the election campaign.
Almost all the main candidates for Mayor, competing against the current Mayor, have ended up in the centre of investigations, checks and other activities by the law enforcement and tax bodies.
Against the former Head of the Regional Administration, Boris Silenkov and the lead of Public Control Serhiy Kyrychenko criminal investigations have been initiated. On the day the candidacy was put forward of the leader of the civic organization “For Honest Authorities”, Vladlen Hirin, the tax police blocked his enterprise, paralyzing its work. The enterprise of one of the leaders of the political party “Third Force”, Andriy Putilov, who is also running for Mayor, was fined several million (!) UAH.
From intimidation, unfortunately, they have also resorted to mass removal of candidates’ registration. Last Friday, the Kherson Administrative District Court, on the basis of extremely dubious suits from the regional and city electoral commissions, passed an unprecedented ruling and declared unlawful the registration of candidates from the regional and city organizations of the Ukrainian Maritime Party and Alyona Rotova, candidate for Mayor from this party.
CVU would note other flagrant cases of obstruction of free access to election information. The guards of the City Executive Committee building on 16 October did not admit members of the press and certain candidates into the premises of the City Electoral Commission. An official report of an offence has been lodged with the Suvorovsky Police Station.
Civic activists are disturbed by the decision of the City Electoral Commission to print ballot papers at a private printing press owned by a Party of the Regions Activist.
The Kherson Regional Branch of the CVU calls on the local authorities to stop these violations. They ask the Head of the Regional Administration Mykola Kostyak to use his rights as representative of the President to safeguard the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens.
(At the time the above report was being reported, the Kherson District Administrative Court was examining 8 appeals against the Kherson Electoral Commission and its members).