Protest in Kharkiv over swearing in of Kernes as Mayor


Thousands of members of civic organizations are planning to block the first session of the new City Council. They do not recognize the legitimacy of the newly-elected deputies, nor the election as Mayor of Hennady Kernes who is due to be sworn in before the deputies.

Over two thousand people were planning to stand outside the City Council premises from early morning. They are protesting over violations at the local elections and demanding either a recount of the votes or new elections for Mayor.

According to Yulia Yudina, one of the organizers, this session where the Kernes is sworn in should not take place until the President reacts to the appeal from Kharkiv civic organizations.

On 15 November, activists from a tent city on Freedom Square for more than a week in protest at the vote rigging, sent President Yanukovych a letter, with almost 10 thousand signatures, calling for a re-run of the elections in Kharkiv.

Ms Yudina says that there has been no response, and that they cannot regard the inauguration of Kernes legitimate. They therefore plan to block the session though realize that the police may stop them.

New elections are also demanded by the right wing Svoboda Party which has demanded that the court cancel Kernes’ registration by the City Electoral Commission as Mayor since the latter had not resigned from his post as Head of the Kharkiv branch of the Party of the Regions.

The head of the Regional Administration, Mykhailo Dobkin (Mayor until Yanukovych made him Governor of the region) has great plans for fruitful work with his former deputy. He claims that this team will be capable of implementing important decisions with division into city and region.

Due to a large number of invitations to honorary Kharkiv residents, journalists will not be admitted to the ceremony, and are advised to follow the work of the deputies from the press centre monitoring or television.

From a report at Radio Svoboda

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