CVU: Elections in Odessa outdid the chaos of 2004
The Head of the Odessa Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU], Anatoliy Boiko says that the 31 October Local Elections in Odessa were reminiscent of the 2004 Elections and were a step backwards in Ukraine’s development. At a press conference, he stated that there was even more chaos and confusion than at the 2004 presidential elections. If one compares the situation with the last presidential elections, there wasn’t such confusion over ballot papers and there were no cases recorded of a thousand ballot papers being missing at a polling station.
“There is a flagrant discrepancy in ballot papers handed to the polling stations with the number of voters registered by those electoral commissions. For example, at polling stations in the Prymorsky District of the city the average difference between the number of ballot papers for the Odessa Regional Council and the number of voters was from 200 to 300”.
“There is even a polling station where one thousand ballot papers for potential deputies to the Odessa City Council according to the majority system are missing”.
In comparison with previous elections, CVU considers fiddling with ballot papers to be one of the main violations during these elections. According to Mr Boiko, “There has never been such incompetence form the members of the electoral commissions and they have never mixed up ballot papers on such a scale. The direct responsibility for creating such problems with the ballot papers undoubtedly lies with the City Territorial Electoral Commission [TEC].”
Mr Boiko stated that this same TEC had been responsible for a whole number of procedural violations and had throughout October created masses of scandals. “Suffice to recall how flagrantly the TEC infringed the procedure for inputting political parties on the ballot papers according to the party lists for the City Council”.
The second much publicized scandal was over disregard for the law regarding the formation of precinct electoral commissions [PEC]. Around midnight on 15 October their makeup was formally confirmed by a majority of members of the TEC however it wasn’t possible to see the lists, with the Head of the TEC citing technical hitches. “It would be reasonable to ask what the majority in that case voted for?”. Mr Boiko points out. He assumes that it was then that the political disproportion on the commissions was agreed then, where some political parties have two or three members of TEC, while others – one and not even that on all commissions.
The third scandalous fact was the disruption of the legally established time frames for receiving ballot papers and sending them to print. Instead of 21 October, they were sent with an almost three day delay.
Mr Boiko stresses also that the District Court of Appeal for the Odessa Region had found the TEC decision refusing to register two political forces unlawful.
“When all these things are put together, the dishonest methods of political struggle, the abuse of administrative resources, as well as various violations by the territorial commissions, the 2010 local elections in Odessa not only failed to bring Odessa residents closer to international election standards, but moved them further away. The only hope is that honesty in counting votes can somewhat rectify the situation.”