Human rights in Ukraine 2009 – 2010. 13. Right to free elections and participation in referenda
In 2009 – 2010 352 extraordinary elections of mayors, settlement and village heads, local councils’ members, presidential elections and regular elections to the local councils of all levels took place in Ukraine.
Ukrainian citizens also tried to exercise their right to public referendum. In some cases they managed to do it at the local level only.
In this report we analyzed main tendencies concerning adherence to the citizens’ right to freely elect and be elected to the bodies of power and local governments and to participate in referenda for the years 2009-2010.
The voters’ rights were seriously violated over this period. In particular, the use of administrative resource and attempts to influence election process by court decisions, creating unfair conditions for the election process subjects and for the voters by introducing dubious amendments into the law, impediments to the exercising of right to free elections and referenda, including undue election process and law enforcement bodies’ interventions etc have been registered.
The situation aggravated considerably by the end of the period in question.
In this report we will use chronological principle, and, therefore, will start with the voters’ rights observance in the course of presidential elections in Ukraine. Then, we will discuss the observance of rights during extraordinary local elections and nationwide election campaign at the local level. At the end we will address the issue of right to public referenda.
1. Presidential elections in Ukraine 2
Both international and local independent observers maintained that the presidential elections did not involve systematic violations or falsifications and were carried out in compliance with the main democratic standards.
Thus, OSCE/BDIHR mission concluded that presidential elections in Ukraine were carried out in compliance with the principal obligations to OSCE and other international standards concerning democratic elections3 and secured successes, achieved since 2004. According to international observers, election process was transparent, and voters were offered a real free choice of candidates representing different political standpoints.4
In the judgment of ENEMO mission “voting at the presidential elections in Ukraine was held without systematic violations or falsifications”. The atmosphere of the repeated voting “remained free from pressure, harassment or threats to the participants of the process”, stated the head of ENEMO mission Taskyn Rakhimbek.5
All-Ukrainian NGO “Ukrainian voters’ committee”, which observed the election campaign, came to the conclusion that the elections were free, competitive and transparent. The Committee found no significant or systematic violations or facts of pressure on voters, although some instances of civil rights violations were registered.
The violations, due to the faults in election legislation and use of political expediency principle in its amending, were among most common. The shortening of terms for election preparations as well as unsatisfactory operation of authorities and departments of state voters’ registration in the course of these preparations, logistic problems, and professional incompetence among district election committees’ members were also noted.
Some random facts of abuse of public authority in campaigning, “in-kind” bribing of voters, political corruption and criminal interference into election process, attempts to hamper independent observers’ operation etc. were registered.
The number of these violations increased in the second round of elections. It is noteworthy, however, that campaign headquarters of the main candidates consciously avoided systematic violations of law in force or falsifications, and this was the main achievement of the election campaign.
1.1. Election law as the cause of challenges and violations
One year before the presidential elections in Ukraine, in February 2009 press service of the all-Ukrainian NGO “Ukrainian Voters’ Committee”, made the following statement: “in the course of 4 years since last elections of the President, Ukraine failed to implement the main body of recommendations made by OSCE/BDIHR observers’ mission, other international and national independent observers”.6
Later on, the level of amending current election legislation in accordance with international recommendations only decreased. Five months before the election date, on July 24, 2009 the Supreme Rada adopted amendments to the Law on presidential elections, which came in force in August 2009. The draft law was devised without public hearings and caused serious criticism from the election experts, who judged that adherence to election standards was seriously neglected. A well-known election expert Andriy Duda argued that the new amendments to the Law were made by two largest political opponents trying to turn election process into “administrative resources’ competition”.7
New election legislation was criticized also by NGO activists. For example, all-Ukrainian NGO “Ukrainian voters’ committee” listed a number of serious threats brought to life by the new amendments, i.e. restriction of voters’ rights, promoting falsification mechanisms by permitting to include new voters into the voting lists on the election day, decreasing public control over election process, virtual impossibility of appealing potential violations and election results.8
The experts’ concern was shared by Joint Opinion of Venice Commission and OSCE/BDIHR 9.
On October 19 the Constitutional Court of Ukraine classified some of the quoted provisions as unconstitutional10.
Despite all international and national experts’ recommendations and public efforts, Ukrainian legislators did not repeal its most contradictory provisions. Moreover, the people’s deputies kept changing election legislation even between the two elective rounds; namely, they annulled the requirement to have election committee quorum for decision-making, and granted local councils the authority to replace the election committees’ members, who failed to appear on Election Day.
The independent public observers contended that the amendments to the Law on presidential elections, which came in force on February 5, 2010, did not contribute to democratic nature or quality of the repeated voting, because they were introduced just a few days before it, violated collegiality principle in the election committees and armed the local authorities with additional levers to influence the election committees decisions.11
All these controversies, inconsistencies and gaps in the election law could become a cause of mass falsifications and serious factor in violating equal electoral rights of the public, destabilizing political situation and undermining the voters’ trust in the fairness of election process and voting results.
Lack of clarity in the election law forced the candidates to go to courts that kept passing inconsistent decisions and introducing changes into election procedures overnight or even on the voting day, thus making it impossible to familiarize the election committees with the new provisions. As a result, as OSCE mission observed12, the voters encountered different attitude in different election committees, depending on what palling station they voted at. For example, they might or might not have been included into the list of constituents, voting at their area of residence, or to the list of voters on the day of elections.
In the course of both rounds the candidates appealed the attempts, made by Central Election Commission (CEC), to clarify some ambiguous or inconsistent clauses in election legislation. In practice it meant that the arguable issues were sent back and forth between the court and CEC. This latter also availed itself of the legal ambiguity in deciding, which provisions should be applied in the second round of the elections. For example, in the morning of the second round of voting CEC offered explanations, concerning voting at home, under which the ballot-box could be brought to a voter’s domicile by two election committee members, although the law stipulates three members. Kiev administrative court of appeals found this explanation illegal, but its decision was refuted by the Highest administrative court.
Therefore, the lack of consistent and stable election legislation, considerations of political expediency and non-compliance with international bodies’ recommendations led to the situation, when the national election legislation caused a lot of challenges and violations in people’s voting rights (i.e. principles of general and equal voting right) thus creating serious threats to free and democratic elections in the country.
A lot of aforementioned problems could be avoided, if the law had been precise and unambiguous and if the amendments had been introduced earlier, instead of at the last moment, when the parties were striving to achieve political advantages.
We believe that mass falsifications, which could have occurred due to the gaps in the election legislation, were avoided thanks to political rivalry, absence of one authority’s monopoly to power and close observation of the presidential elections in Ukraine by public at large and world community.
1.2. Main challenges and violations of voters’ rights in the course of presidential election campaign
1.2.1 Voters’ freedom of opinion
Media experts argue that mass media failed to ensure objective coverage of the election campaign of 2010. Thus, executive director of the Public Information Institute Victoria Syumar believes, that mass-media in the course of elections were nothing, but a tool in the politicians’ hands and distorted actual developments and facts in their coverage.
President of “Community” Fund and head of National Committee for Freedom of Speech under the President of Ukraine Taras Petriv argues, that there were three most crucial faults in Ukrainian media operation over the elections “First – abuse of public office by the candidates, who retransmitted their political advertisements and slogans free of charge; second - black lists with the names of journalists, who were not welcome at political shows and, third – “dzhynsa”13.
The experts agree that the main challenge lies in the fact that the Ukrainian mass media are concentrated in the hands of some big business managers, who are not professional journalists. “As a result we have to deal with the censorship imposed by media owners, as opposed to official censorship we experienced earlier”, said Victoria Syumar.14
Quantitative and qualitative monitoring on nationwide news carried out by OSCE/BDIHR mission on prime-time between December 4, 2009 and January 15, 2010 and between January 26 and February 5, 2010, 15 demonstrated that the majority of nationwide TV broadcasters gave preference to Yu. Tymoshenko and V.Yanykovich. The international monitors specified, that it was evident both in the amount of air-time, dedicated to the coverage of their campaigns, and in the nature of the coverage itself.
State TV broadcasting company UT-1 failed to offer the viewers well-balanced and impartial coverage, as required by the law. In the second round, UT-1 gave 65% of campaign coverage air-time to Yu.Tymoshenko, while V.Yanukovich got the remaining 35% of air-time.
Results of local mass-media monitoring demonstrated partiality and bias with regards to the political force, prevalent in a given region.
Despite the fact that the election Law forbids the national newspapers “Holos Ukrainy” and “Uryadovy Kurier” to give preferential treatment to any candidate, the latter showed obvious partiality to Yu.Tymoshenko.
So, while in general the freedom of speech and expression was observed in Ukraine and no pressure on journalists has been registered, mass media in the course of election campaign failed to follow fundamental standards of campaign coverage, thus violating the voters’ right to form their own opinion.
1.2.2 Poor organization of electoral process
Unsatisfactory rate of organizational operation became the main shortcoming of the elections and the cause of many electoral rights violations.
According to independent observers, the level of material and technical support in election committees’ operation was the worst in the whole history of Ukrainian elections. 16 The main reason for that was insufficient and delayed state funding of the election process, as well as frivolous attitude of local governments responsible for election process organization. The election committees’ members faced lack of working space, transportation, phone communications, even shortage of office supplies and paper.
The committees’ operation was further aggravated by inclement weather conditions.
Poor incentives and lack of professional training for the election committees’ members presented another challenge. Sometimes people were appointed to the committees without their consent, on the basis of faked applications. In some cases different candidates included the same persons into different election committees. This was a ubiquitous problem. (Sometimes up to 200 “doubles” per one district were registered)
The committees’ members were quite unhappy with their work conditions both in the circuit and district election committees. As a result many of them refused to work in the committees. The circuit election committees had to dismiss these members, so that incessant rotations took place and the workload of other members in charge of voting increased.
Only slightly more than one half of the district election committees started their operation within the time-frame stipulated by the law.
Due to these problems and shortened election process, the committees’ members could not cope with due election procedures; e.g. the adjustment of voters’ lists virtually failed.
At the beginning of the election process public observers informed that the majority of rural palling stations had no heating, which made appropriate election procedures most questionable.
1.2.3 Faults in voters’ registration as the cause of voters’ rights violations
The unresolved issues concerning voters’ lists became major problems for both extra-ordinary parliamentary elections in 2007 and presidential elections.
In two years that passed since those elections the situation has not improved, although, for the first time in history, a uniform centralized and computerized state registry of the voters (SRV) was set up in Ukraine, and the voters’ lists were compiled by the said registry departments.
The SRV database was put together between February and August 2009 on the basis of the voters’ lists, used in 2006 and 2007 elections.
The voters’ lists for the elections’ first round have been complied in three stages. Preliminary voters’ lists contained the names from the SRV and were sent to DEC for preliminary examination, starting December 28. Finalized voters’ lists were printed out before January 10 and contained corrected and updated information, provided by the individuals and institutions by that time.
It is noteworthy that out of twelve days, assigned for the preliminary adjustment of the voters’ lists, six days happened to be holidays and weekends, so that many committees did not work. Besides, there were some discrepancies in the terms for finalizing the lists, defined by the election law and reflected in the election committees’ instructions. Under the law, the updated voters’ information could be submitted for the first round till January 10, while the DEC database was technically closed for amendments on January 9, and some state registry departments on pretext of holidays stopped taking the voters’ applications as early as January 6.
Before compiling the voters’ lists for the second round, the Central Election Commission passed a decision on amending the new voters’ lists with changes, collected by DEC in the course of the first round. Wrong timing prevented implementation of this decision.17 Potential problems for hundreds of thousands voters, who were not on the voters’ lists, were eliminated only due to the ambiguous provision of the law on presidential elections, which allowed for adding voters’ names to the lists even on the voting day.
It should be stressed, though, that this provision contradicts the Code of due election practice, adopted by the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) in 200218 and could have opened the door to major falsifications.
According to OSCE mission, between January 13 and the end of voting on January 17, DEC kept introducing changes on public requests, which led to the increase in actual number of voters by 666 thousand or 1.8% of total number of voters.
In the second round, the number of voters increased by another 83.4 thousand. 19 Some of the voters included were the members of election committees, added to the voters’ lists at their workplace shortly before the voting.
Here are some typical violations of the voters’ rights due to deficient voters’ lists and to the adding of voters on the voting day.
Territorial electoral constituency (hereinafter - TEC) ¹ 47. District palling station ¹48. The international observers reported that 30 strangers, whose names were not on the lists, came to a palling station, wrote down requests to be added to the lists, then received the ballots and voted. They entered palling booths in pairs. Neither observers, nor other voters intervened.
TEC ¹ 42, 43, 45. Observers and DEC members for candidate Yu.Tymoshenko registered mass adding of names to the voters’ lists.
TEC ¹41, palling station ¹ 19. A voter, residing in Tankerna str., 24-a, called the hot line. For the first round of the elections his grandmother, who had passed away several years earlier, was included into a voters’ list. An illegible pencil-made signature and a tick accompanied her name on the list. On the voter’s request the tick was erased. The voter brought grandmother’s death certificate to the state registry office. When he came to vote, however, he saw his grandma’s name on the list again, accompanied by a tick and a signature, this time written with a pen. The committee members offered no comment or response to the voter’s complaint.
The state registry offices in Vinnitsa failed to submit the voters’ lists to the circuit election committee, TEC ¹11, due to the lack of quorum in the election committees.
At Zhitomir TEC ¹ 63, attempts to include significant numbers of voters into the voters’ lists were revealed at the palling stations ¹105 and ¹108. Buses with soldiers were parked nearby the palling stations. At the station ¹ 108 the committee members already added 46 soldiers’ names. Arrival of BYUT deputies put an end to this procedure.
TEC ¹ 69, palling station ¹21 – at the second round it turned out, that half of the residents of a house in Kapushanska str., 149 (Uzhgorod) could not find their names in the voters’ lists. Paradoxically, it was the half, which had been in the lists at the first round, while the other half, excluded from the lists at the first round, now was included into the lists. It happened because after the second round the housing and communal services office submitted to the registry the names of residents forgotten at the first round, and the registry office just replaced the old names with the new ones.
TEC ¹76, palling station ¹ 25 (“Energetic”Cultural center) – observers registered numerous addititons of names to the voters’ lists; three buses were already parked at the palling station and voters, brought there by other means of transportation, kept coming.
TEC ¹76, palling stations ¹10-14, 17, 18, 19, 23, 25 – mass arrival of the voters (many of whom commuted by micro vans; license plate of one of them - ÀÐ 1049 ÀÀ). The voters’ names are added to the lists on the basis of requests, printed in advance; the voter’s instruction brochure was embellished with corporate colors of the Party of regions; it recommended the voters to get their names added to the list on site, instead of going through the courts or registry.
Palling station ¹ 144 (town of Artsyz) and, partly, palling station ¹ 135 (Kiev district, Odessa). On the CEC request, on January 8, 2010 preliminary voters’ lists were submitted to the committees; therefore, the voters could not see them on site between January 8 and 14.
TEC ¹ 137. Many voters’ names were used twice in the list.
Also, the list contained the names of the residents of a house in Viykovsky spusk, 12, Odessa, while in fact there is nothing but construction site at this address.
According to the lists, the house at Transportna str., 54 has 124 apartments, while in fact it has only 60.
Often the voters’ lists contained the names of the deceased persons as well as of those who moved out of the area.
Kherson. On the first round voting day the number of new voters’ names added to the list that day reached about 4 – 5% in large residential areas. The majority of committees included the voters on the basis of their requests after seeing their passports, which constituted a procedural violation.
The committee members almost never got in touch with state registry offices to verify the voters’ data. Their justification was “very poor phone connection”, “no one takes the phone, and if they do, they immediately tell us to go ahead and include whatever names into the list”.
Compliance with Central Electoral Commission Resolution ¹ 475 was registered only at one palling station, where the names were added in accordance with decisions, duly recorded in district election committees’ resolutions.
Some election committees accepted public complaints, registered them and promised to consider them right after the voting, or included the voters into the lists only on the basis of court decisions.
TEC ¹184, palling station ¹ 23. By 2.00 pm over 100 persons’ names were added to the list. This constituency has a lot of students’ dormitories in its territory, and their residents were not included into the lists by the state registry office. On the other hand, the graduates were somehow “forgotten”, so that their names remained on the lists. In another electoral district with a lot of students (TEC ¹184, palling station ¹ 22) 42 voters were added to the list.
The people’s deputy of Ukraine Yuri Odrachenko reported that BYUT representatives found over five thousand foreign nationals’ names on the voters’ lists. This information was confirmed by visa and registration office. BYUT representatives immediately approached respective circuit election committees. Only two of them (¹184 and ¹187) responded properly. All the others rejected the claims. Complaints to law enforcement agencies were filed.
TEC ¹185, palling station ¹35. The committee members complained that, despite their submitting 73 voters’ names to the state registry office, they were never added to the list.
1.2.4 Administrative resource or political corruption as the source of voters’ rights violation
At the time of presidential elections, quite correctly described as free, the power was upfront in using the so-called administrative resource to promote its protégés. This became one of the sources of voters’ rights violations in the whole country. It is noteworthy, however, that, in contrast to the presidential elections of 2004 and local elections of 2010, the administrative resource was not used on a broad scale.
The concept of “administrative resource” at the time of elections means the use of public office, organizational, financial and human resources by the officials striving to gain advantage in the elections. The experts maintain that if administrative resource is “dispersed” and not monopolized by one political force, i.e. used by the authorities to ensure advantages for various political forces, it is “neutralized” and becomes less threatening for the human rights.
We believe this statement erroneous.
The concept “administrative resource” is in fact just a euphemism for “political corruption”. And political corruption cannot “neutralize” itself or its adverse impact on a specific person, whose rights are violated. In other words, the goal does not justify the means.
Independent observers in the course of this election campaign noted such manifestations of political corruption as use of public office by chief executives, local governments, CEOs of companies and institutions to arrange the meetings with candidates and their representatives, election campaigning during the working hours and administrative influence on election committee members.
The observers concluded that the administrative resource was used, mainly, for the benefit of the most high-ranking candidates in the country (Volodymyr Litvin, Yulia Tymoshenko, Victor Yushchenko), and also for the benefit of Victor Yanukovich, popular among many local self-governments.
Most widely and systematically used administrative resources included allotting land titles, providing school buses and ambulances, accompanied by campaigning for Yulia Tymoshenko. These facts were registered in the majority of Ukrainian regions.
It is noteworthy, that in contrast to the previous presidential elections, these traditional means, used by the power to bribe the voters with public money, were duly denounced. Namely, on December 24, 2009 and on January 27, 2010 Yu. Tymoshenko was given notice for the violation of the election law, from Central Electoral Commission and Kiev administrative court of appeals respectively.
On the eve of the second round, the judiciary suffered pressure from the Procurator’s General office and Supreme Judiciary Council, when several suits, related to Kiev administrative court of appeals decisions concerning election process, were filed. The judges were “invited” to the Procurator’s General office and asked to explain their position, i.e. failure to satisfy V.Yanukovich’s claim, while the Supreme Judiciary Council filed the motion to remove 500 judges for the breach of oath.
Other violations took place as well - the NGO activists observing the elections took notice of isolated cases of voters’ harassment or pressuring by the officials, and of seldom facts of creating obstacles to election campaigning. The fact that such occurrences were few in number is definitely positive.
Most typical violations
A.Hrytsenko’s, V.Litvin’s and S.Tyhipko’s oblast’ headquarters reported that they were not allowed to hold meetings with the voters at their working places in Krasnoarmeysk. The local authorities also refused to provide candidates other than V.Yanukovich, with premises for the meetings.
People’s deputy from the Party of regions V.Dzharty and local officials organized public campaigning for V.Yanukovich on November 25 and 26, 2009 in Makeyevka, abusing their authority.
Head of Odessa oblast’ council M.Skoryk organized a meeting with education and health care workers in the building of Bilhorod-Dnestrovsky city council, campaigning for V.Yanukovich.
Local authorities of Ismail banned campaigns in favor of all candidates except V.Yanukovich.
Head of Kotovsk raion council V.Syn’ko warned education professionals and council employees that if they wanted to retain their positions in 2010, they would have to vote for V.Yanukovich.
Professors of the International S.Demyanchuk economic and humanitarian university (Rivne) were pressured to work as canvassers in V.Litvin’s campaign.
Head of Kherson oblast’ state administration B.Sylenko ordered heads of the raion state administrations to provide gas and vehicles for V.Yushchenko’s raion headquarters. Some heads chose simply to sabotage these orders.
Local self-governments’ heads in many oblast’ raions openly campaigned for V.Yanukovich. Thus, Skadovsk mayor O.Havrysh spoke on the local TV program and published his address in several local newspapers (“Novy Den’”, “Bulava” etc.) encouraging all the CEOs in local self-governance bodies to support V.Yanukovich.
Human rights’ NGO activists reported that in Kalancha, Kakhovka and Tsurupinsk raions BYUT champions together with local officials distributed land titles and campaigned for Yu.Tymoshenko. They let the farmers know that, if they wanted the land titles, they should vote for Yu.Tymoshenko.
1.2.5 Hampering observers’ and mass media operation
Attempts to put obstacles to observers’ and mass media operation on the Election Day have already become traditional in Ukrainian elections. These impediments led to the violation of equal access and freedom of elections’ principal. It is noteworthy that, probably, for the first time in the elections history, Central Electoral Commission forbade an entire group of international experts to observe the elections. We refer to the CEC decision to deny accreditation to the Georgian observers’ mission, including the head of Georgian CEC, 20 members of Georgian parliament and deputy ministers.20
In experts’ judgment, at the second round of presidential elections the number of cases when observers’ and journalists’ operation was hampered, increased, although these instances were not numerous or regular.
Here are some examples of the committed violations
TEC ¹ 42, palling station ¹ 43. A voter got his mother’s ballot and was going to vote. The journalist, who shot the event on video, was harassed by the people present, who threatened to break his camera.
TEC ¹ 60, palling station ¹ 109. An international observer from ENEMO mission was banned from entering the station. The reason, given by the district election committee, was that CEC registration was not sufficient for international observers, who, allegedly, had to register with circuit election committee ¹ 60 as well.
TEC ¹12, palling station ¹111 (village of Stryzhavka, correction facility). District election committee impeded the operation of TV shooting crew, sent by “Vinnytshchyna” TV company.
TEC ¹ 141, palling stations ¹136 and ¹137. After journalists from the “Vyborchkom” and “Tochka zoru” newspapers started taking pictures of campaigning materials in the room, election committee members called militia and tried to confiscate reporters’ cell phones and IDs.
TEC ¹ 137. Head of the circuit election committee ¹ 137 would not let the reporters from “Nova Odessa” TV channel enter the premises and take pictures with their cameras, ordering them to leave cameras outside.
TEC ¹ 142, palling station ¹ 56 – election committee members forbade the journalists to enter the room without personal permit from the committee head, who had to step outside to make the decision.
Tochka zoru” reporter was not let into the palling station ¹ 74 (special status station) TEC ¹ 137. Election committee members justified their decision by the fact that the principal of correction facility was not happy with reporter’s ID, which was, allegedly, not in order.
ÀÒÂ TV channel journalists were forbidden from entering palling station ¹ 69 TEC ¹ 137, because the members of election committee did not like the look of their IDs. They were also refused the entrance to the circuit election committee, on the pretext that a committee meeting was taking place.
TEC ¹ 189, palling station ¹ 3, Novotroitsky raion. Before the voting, head of the district election committee did not let an observer enter the premises, requesting his additional registration with district election committee. Circuit election committee’s intervention resolved the conflict.
TEC ¹ 185, Kherson. In two palling stations official observers were denied entrance, on the grounds that they failed to report for registration on Saturday. After the short dispute, observers were let in.
TEC 185, palling stations ¹22 and ¹ 32. Attempts to deny entrance to the journalists were registered, on the alleged grounds that their IDs differ from the samples, shown at the “partisan” seminar, held by an official from Kiev.
TEC ¹205, palling station ¹3, town of Storozhynets. At 08.30 am election committee members refused to let “Tochka zoru” journalists into the building without circuit election committee permit.
On the voting day few other violations and falsification attempts were registered, e.g. throwing in the ballots, use of pens with disappearing ink in the ballot booths, (Odessa and Donetsk oblast’s), destroying the ballots (Sumy and Mykolaiv oblast’s), issuance of ballots without checking IDs.
Six criminal law-suits were filed by the MIA on violations’ complaints.
1.2.6 System of appeals and access to justice
In the opinion of international observers the system of appeals against electoral violations was inefficient and did not provide the access to real restitution of voters’ rights. There was no transparency in either district or circuit election committees’ dealings with the majority of complaints. “We were under impression that the Central Electoral Commission and some circuit election committees put up administrative obstacles for the complaints’ consideration”. Short time-frame, allowed for the filing of election-related complaints was a constant challenge, so that many complaints were dismissed without consideration.21 By February 7 the Central Electoral Commission received 260 complaints and passed only 22 resolutions on them. All the other complaints were dismissed.
Summing up, we can conclude that the elections of the President of Ukraine were, in general, democratic and transparent, without systematic pressure on voters or on subjects of the election process.
1. Due to real competition between, the three branches of power, intense political struggle, good will of the election process subjects and enhanced public control, mass falsifications and violations of electoral rights were successfully avoided.
2. Most serious violations were accounted for by:
- ungrounded amendments to election legislation,
- poor organization of election process
- instances of political corruption among the officials.
3. Imprecise voters’ lists remained one of the most serious problems in general elections. Several hundreds of thousands voters managed to vote only due to the dubious permission, granted to the election committees, to add the voters’ names to the lists on the voting day and to the determination of election process subjects to abstain from faking the lists.
4. Political corruption was manifested in the use of public office to organize or to ban meetings with the electorate, election campaigning through nationwide and local media, offering goods and benefits on behalf of a candidate, using public money.
5. Although freedom of speech was generally respected in media coverage of election process and there was no pressure on journalists, mass media failed to comply with fundamental standards of coverage. With no censorship in place, information sometimes was restricted by media owners; political PR was offered under the guise of objective information, thus misleading the voters and violating their right to form their own opinion.
6. On the voting day, especially, at the second round, isolated facts of pressure on observers and journalists were registered.
7. The system of appeals against the violations of election legislation was found lacking by the international experts.
2. Extraordinary elections of mayors, settlement and village heads
Extraordinary elections which took place in the country in 2008 – 2009 often became the testing area for black technologies of falsifications, manipulations and use of administrative, law enforcement and judicial resources.
In 2009 – 2010, 352 extraordinary elections of city mayors, settlement and village heads took place in Ukraine.
Out of hundreds elections, which took place over the discussed period, several became a serious trial for the public. Let us analyze some of them in the focus of human rights’ violations and their further impact on nationwide local elections campaign.
Specifically, we are talking about the elections to Ternopil oblast’ council, mayor elections in Svitlovodsk (Kirovohrad oblast’) and mayor elections in Ismail (Odessa oblast’).
2.1. Elections to Ternopil oblast’ council as precursor of large-scale violations
The elections to Ternopil oblast’ council, which took place on March 15, 2009, were preceded by events, which put them into the focus of nationwide attention.
In fact, the public witnessed the beginning of new era in the use of various technologies, aimed at influencing the electoral process from the outside, after a break, following 2006-2007 elections (it is noteworthy, that presidential elections of 2010, although chronologically following the elections to Ternopil oblast’ council, were closer to “fair” elections of 2006 – 2007 in terms of observance of voters’ rights).
To begin with, on March 3 the Supreme Rada cancelled its own resolution concerning voters’ selection. A number of court disputes followed and only on the elections’ eve Kiev and Lviv courts of appeals “released” the electoral process. Biased courts’ decisions (judicial administrative resource), use of law enforcement bodies to achieve political goals (militia at some stage ducked its duty of safeguarding ballots in the course of their transportation), recall of election committee members to disrupt the quorum, bribing of the electorate became components of this process. 22
After the elections were called, the Minister of Interior Yuri Lutsenko, probably, for the first time engaged the MIA units to investigate potential falsifications and bribes; the public at large, however, never learnt the results of power abuse investigations.
Later, the “nightmares” of the elections to Ternopil oblast’ council transformed into controversial electoral norms, which led to numerous violations of the electoral rights both in presidential, and, especially, in local elections.
Use of courts, law enforcement entities, controlled election committees and ballots’ issuance were to become important components of the local elections in October 2010.
2.2. Failed elections of Svitlovodsk mayor, 2007 – 2010
The residents of Svitlovodsk town (Kirovohrad oblast’) never got a chance to exercise their right to elect their mayor.
As early as in October 2006 members of Svitlovodsk town council dismissed mayor Pavel Solodov and his deputies and disbanded the city executive committee. After all the disputes were settled, in January 2007, Svitlovodsk town council submitted a motion on extraordinary mayor elections. Due to political situation in the country and extraordinary parliamentary elections, the Supreme Rada considered the motion only 11 months later, on December 28, 2007. Extraordinary elections of Svitlovodsk mayor were called on March 16, 2008.
But it was just the beginning. In early January almost all the members of the town territorial election committee of the previous convocation suddenly resigned. Members of Svitlovodsk town council did not come up with the new election committee, in violation of the election law. As a result, all the time limits stipulated by the law for election procedure ( launching election campaign, candidates’ registration, setting up district election committees, beginning of campaigning) were disrupted, and, after a number of court decisions, territorial election committee passed a decision, under which March 16 elections were considered invalid, and announced the new election date – May 18. Immediately a number of legal collisions came into being, the principal among them being that the repeated elections, in contrast to extraordinary elections, are to be funded from the local budget. The town council members decided they would not be able to cover all the elections-related costs. The decision of Svitlovodsk town council was found illegal by the court decision. The Supreme Rada Committee on state building and local self governance, proceeding from the court decision, recommended disbanding Svitlovodsk town council and announcing simultaneous elections of the town council and of the mayor. This initiative, however, was rejected by the council members twice, in December 2008 and in February 2009.
Due to manipulations with election committee, members, protracting time-limits established for elections’ preparations, lack of funds for the electoral process, blocking the issue in Supreme Rada on political reasons, the members of Svitlovodsk community never managed to exercise their electorate rights, while all the aforementioned techniques later would be actively used in local elections of 2010.
2.3. Repeated interference of the authorities with election committees’ operation. Elections of Ismail mayor
In May 2010 the Supreme Rada of Ukraine called 50 extraordinary elections on August 1, elections of Ismail mayor among them (Odessa oblast’). However, on July 8 that year the Supreme Rada classified this decision as invalid, on the grounds that overnight the people’s deputies have finally announced the date for regular local elections, i.e. October 31, 2010.
By that time electoral process for Ismail mayor elections was fully funded, district election committees were set up and started their operation in due order; the voters were invited to participate in the elections. Eight candidates, running for mayor, were registered.
The Supreme Rada resolution invalidating the decision on elections’ date was contrary to the Constitutional court decision concerning compliance of the Supreme Rada resolution “On invalidating the Supreme Rada resolution “On calling extraordinary elections of Ternopil oblast’ concil members” ¹ 14-rp/2009 of June 10, 2009 with Constitutional provisions; therefore, following the Central Election Commission recommendations, Ismail local election committee proceeded with elections preparations.
At this point local administrative resource started to interfere with the procedure. Local officials, namely, head of Odessa oblast’ administration E.Matviychuk and acting Ismail mayor, city council secretary I.Rudnichenko, who also ran for mayor, spoke up against the elections.
Ms.Rudnichenko refused to sign payment orders for the funding of electoral process. Next, 380 thousand UAH, allocated for the electoral process by Ismail executive committee decision, were returned to the oblast’ budget.
Starting July 22, Ismail territorial election committee has been audited by Odessa finance department, raion auditing board and prosecutor’s office. Election committee’s operation was virtually paralyzed.
The Ministry of Extraordinary Situation officials launched inspection of palling stations. Some stations were closed down, due to their alleged non-conformity to the fire protection requirements. By the way, the head of the local department of the Ministry, at that moment also headed the local Party of regions organization and ran for mayor himself. It is also remarkable that in winter 2010 the same palling stations were used for presidential elections and the Ministry of Extraordinary Situation found nothing wrong with them at that time.
Ismail city council tried to impede the ballots printing on a frivolous pretext. In particular, they motivated their decision by lack of MIA guard at the printing facilities.
On July 23 the CEOs of companies and institutions started to get letters from Ismail city council, advising them that Ismail mayor’s order on granting election committees premises and equipment was no longer valid. Consequently, the officials were requested to ensure return of all material resources, granted to election committees, by July 27.
The acting Ismail mayor in the meantime filed a claim with Ismail district court, requesting the arrest of the ballots. Court dismissed the claim, but issued an order for militia to ensure ballots’ protection for two days. Then, the acting mayor appealed this decision in the Odessa oblast’ court of appeals.
Head of the local voters’ state registry office under Ismail city council S.Fedyura refused to submit the adjusted voters’ lists to the local election committee, while militia refused to hand out the ballots.
Under the circumstances, the territorial election committee on Friday, July 30, passed a decision on impossibility of holding extraordinary mayor’s elections. 23
Evaluating the actions of power bodies and law enforcement agencies, the head of Odessa oblast’ administration E.Matviychuk, declared at the administration meeting on August 2, 2010, that “order was re-established in Ismail. Private elections, instigated by certain political force, failed”. 24
Reminder: territorial election committees are independent bodies, which organize elections within the terms of their reference. Authorities are prohibited from intervening into their operation. Decisions, actions or inaction of the said committees can be appealed in the court or in the Central Election Commission.
Public observers severely criticized Ismail elections. Thus, press-service of Odessa oblast’ branch of Ukrainian voters’ committee disseminated a statement, maintaining, in particular, that “ the voting was brought to naught as a result of systematic interference of local power bodies with the electoral process”25. Committee activists also filed complaint with the Procurator’s General office.
Meanwhile, we became witnesses to systematic interference of power, law enforcement bodies and controlling agencies into the electoral process and to the boycott of election committee.
Several months later such interference became common.
Large-scale violation of the citizens’ voting rights in the course of extraordinary elections still remains traditional in this country.
Due to the failure of law enforcement bodies to pass appropriate judgment concerning violations of the citizens’ voting rights in a number of extraordinary elections, in the fall of 2010, during election campaign preceding local elections, we came face to face with numerous facts of similar violations.
3. Local elections of 2010 26
Local elections of 2010 took place at the time of deepening political and social crisis, restructuring of power system, which followed presidential elections and was accompanied by lesser and lesser respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The elections date was moved several times, depending on political ambitions of the law-makers and increasing political tension.
Peculiarity and complexity of the election campaign was predetermined by the fact that 23.5 thousand elections of city mayors, village and settlement heads and local councils of all levels were happening simultaneously and independently all over the country. Nevertheless, some common tendencies, characteristic of almost all elections, as well as similar methods and forms of violations, could be identified. Hence, thousands of independent local elections had a lot of features in common, and voters’ rights violations were registered at nationwide scale.
Having analyzed the observance of electoral rights in the course of two election campaigns of 2010 and during extraordinary elections of 2009, we can conclude that the negative tendencies, observed both at the extraordinary local elections and presidential elections, have developed and increased at the regular local elections of 2010. The isolated cases of violation of the citizens’ voting rights during local elections became a regular tendency at the nationwide level. In general, the local elections marked serious deterioration of situation concerning the observance of the electoral rights.
Here are some of most typical violations:
Large-scale use of administrative resource for the benefit of one political force, active role of law enforcement bodies and judicial power as the instruments of defeating the competitors of more powerful candidates, control over election committees’ operation, selective/random use of election legislation norms, low level of competence among election committees’ members at all levels as one of the obstacles in applying same law for all, limited voters’ access to information concerning electoral process, negligence in election procedures and vote-counting, brutal violations of both the voters’ and the candidates’ rights
3.1. Assessment of the local elections by local and international observers
Public at large and world community assessed negatively the observance of democratic standards at the local elections.
The head of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom stated that “the voting did not meet the standards we would like to see, in particular, all the requirements of the European standards concerning fair, transparent and professionally organized elections”.27
She further justified her opinion: “First of all, a new law on elections was adopted right before the elections. Second, we uncovered violations in voters’ registration process, non-inclusion of opposition candidates into the ballots, disproportions in the structure and errors in the operation of election committees. The secret of voting was also impossible to observe due to big lines at the palling stations and so-called “family voting”. Besides, at several palling stations which were just opened, the European observers saw filled ballots in the ballot-boxes. Dozens of candidates’ names on the ballots were very difficult for the voters to read and disoriented a lot of senior people”.28
Public “Support” network observers, working all over Ukraine, stated in their post-elections declaration that at the local elections in Ukraine many violations of international standards and due practice of organizing and holding the elections were registered”.29
Similar judgment was passed by other public organization observers, working in different regions of Ukraine. For example, the activists of NGO’s coalition in Kherson oblast’, who kept vigil on the eve, and on the day of voting, noted that “this year election campaign in Kherson oblast’ is a large step back with regards to adherence to electoral standards of transparency, legitimacy and fairness”.30 The leader of Donetsk oblast’ branch of the Ukrainian voters’ committee S.Tkachenko was even harsher in his judgment: “on election day we registered a large number of violations, which are absolutely contrary to the principles of democratic and free elections”31.
3.2. Election legislation once again became the source of electoral rights’ violations
Drafting and adopting of the new Law on local elections reflected drafting and adopting of the new law at the time of presidential elections. The law was passed in defiance of international standards and recommendations, on the eve of election campaign; it changed dramatically election procedures, giving advantages to the powerful majority.
The new law was severely criticized even at the draft stage. Both experts and members of parliament expressed their discontent with the fact that it omitted the public hearing stage and its authors disregarded local self-governments’, experts’ and public opinion.
For example, people’s deputy Y.Klyuchkovsky, speaking at the parliamentary hearing dedicated to local elections, said: “I am sure that the interests, voiced here (at the hearing –D.B.) by the local self-government’s members will have nothing to do with the new law. So let’s wait and see how the coalition performs its constitutional duty”.32
Second, this law gave serious advantages to the ruling political force. According to Maryna Staviychuk, Ukrainian representative in the Venice Commission, the new law “provides the opportunity for the ruling party to use all its administrative levers. Looks like the society is reverting – and not ten years into the past, but right back to the soviet times”.33
Third, this law contained a number of provisions narrowing the voters’ rights. The head of political programs in the Ukrainian independent center of political studies S.Kononchuk, analyzing the election law, noted that “electoral rights of the public will remain as limited as before. I.e. the full scope of the constitutional right to be nominated and to participate in the local self-governance bodies through the deputy’s mandate, is somewhat narrowed”.34
A provision prohibiting party branches, registered less than 365 days before the elections, to take part in the elections, caused a lot of controversy. Most significantly, this provision was introduced three months before the voting, thus banning substantial number of voters from participating in the elections. Head of the Ukrainian voters’ committee O.Chernenko argues that this provision “specifically targets local elites, most popular public figures, who had worked with voters for many years, setting up local public organizations; now, they will, probably, have to look for some party center to nominate them as candidates”.35
Under the pressure from public and international community, the people’s deputies had to amend the election legislation and remove most controversial provisions from it, among them the aforementioned provision, concerning the banning of party center, registered less than 365 days preceding the elections, from electoral process. These provisions, however, were removed only two moths prior to elections, which created unequal conditions for the “young” political parties’ nominees.
There were also some positive provisions in the new version of the law, i.e. changes in requirements towards setting up of territorial election committees. Specifically, the number of election committee members was increased to 18 persons; not only local branches of the political parties, represented in the Supreme Rada of Ukraine of current convocation, but also the local branches of all parties, registered in Ukraine, became entitled to nominate candidates to election committees.36
Unfortunately the proposed amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On elections of members of the Supreme Council of Autonomous Republic of Crimea, local mayors and settlement and village heads”, removed only some of the controversial provisions; this law, in independent experts’ judgment, still does not comply with the accepted international standards or traditions of electoral processes in Ukraine. 37
Thus, the law nullified the principle of proportional representation of nominees and political parties in election committees. It introduced subjective principle in selecting election committees’ members and distributing senior positions between them. Collegiality principle of decision-making in election committees was also frustrated.
The law stipulates too short period of time for the local elections preparatory work, which led to the complete neglect of election procedures.
The law failed to ensure transparency of candidates’ information at the elections. The election legislation did not oblige the candidates to the local offices to submit their election program to the election committees.
The “mixed system”, proposed at the local level dramatically reduced the chances of free choice for the voters, who, in their majority, were disoriented by huge number of ballots.
Closed party lists and impossibility of self-nomination at the local elections impeded fair selection of candidates for public offices in the city councils, facilitated defeating the opponents by way of their removal from registration for minor or even made-up infringements and opened the door to falsifications in vote-counting.
Observers’ rights were significantly curtailed at the time of voting. They could only report violations in writing, if they noticed any during elections; they could be physically removed from the palling stations at the committees’ members’ discretion, while public observers had no right even to record the violations or to receive the copy of vote-counting protocols. Beside, the law stipulated restrictions for public organizations, depending on their status, i.e. only nationwide organizations were allowed to observe elections.
The election law also opened broad opportunities for the use of administrative resource by the authorities in the course of election campaign.
All these provisions dramatically frustrated the observance of citizens’ electoral rights.
3.3. Partiality of election committees as violation factor
Public observers registered numerous facts of biased attitude of election committees towards political parties and candidates. This attitude became possible due to disproportionate representation of political forces in the election committees, caused by the disregard of proportionality and balance principle while setting up territorial, and then, district, election committees. The resulting misbalances were predetermined by the new law.
Public observers maintain that disproportionate representation of political forces in the election committees led to the ungrounded advantages for the parties in power and undermined public trust in the impartiality of their operation.38
Under the law, territorial election committees are set up in two stages. At the first stage, the Central Election Commission on September 15 (on the motion from political parties) set up 669 TEC, 381 of which had the maximum allowed number of members –18. At the second stage the “first level” election committees formed territorial election committees of the “second level” – district committees in the cities, urban committees in raion cities, village committees.
As CEC member M.Okhendovsky stated at the press-conference, TEC were set up by CEC on parity principles for all the political forces. “Two thousand and ten persons were appointed to senior positions in the election committees. It is noteworthy that such political forces as Party of regions and BYUT were equally represented in the TEC leadership”.39
M.Okhendovsky quoted the following data: 453 representatives from the Party of regions were appointed as heads, deputy heads and secretaries of the committees (22.54% of TEC senior positions) and 451 representatives from BYUT (22.44%). NU-NS block got 304 positions (15.12%), CPU – 247 positions (12.29%). Other extra-parliamentary parties occupied 190 senior positions in the TEC. Their candidates were included after the ballot.40
Public observers and various political forces representatives report different data. Thus, “Support” activists calculated that “the representatives of 6 parties out of 47 occupied the majority of senior positions in the TEC. The majority of heads, deputy heads and secretaries were appointed from the members of parliamentary coalition (Party of regions, People’s party, CPU), who got 1042 positions in total. Meanwhile, the opposition parliamentary parties, belonging to BYUT and NU-NS blocks, got representation twice smaller than that”. 41
The local observers confirm these data.
Thus, the Ukrainian voters’ committee representatives for Donetsk oblast’ reported that “parties belonging to the parliamentary majority in the Supreme Rada of Ukraine (Party of regions, People’s party, CPU) control 73% of the heads’ positions, 69% of the deputy heads’ positions and almost 67% of the secretaries’ positions”.42
Analysis of political forces representation in 35 main election committees of Kharkiv oblast’ showed that “the overwhelming majority of TEC members is represented by political forces from the ruling coalition - 57% of the total number of TEC members. Opposition parties have 29%, and other political forces representatives -14%.
The same distribution was noted in the election committees’ leadership. 58% of senior positions in the TEC (heads, deputy heads and secretaries ) were occupied by Party of regions, People’s party (Litvin) and CPU. Opposition political forces have 32%, and other parties - 9%. Among the TEC heads, ruling coalition has as many as 74%, 49% of which belong to the Party of regions.
Sampling analysis of village and settlement TEC showed the same representation ratio”.43
A more detailed analysis of the political forces representation in the election committees shows that the opposition blocks’ shares were sometimes given to the ruling majority representatives. An open letter submitted by Kherson oblast’ political and public organizations representatives to OSCE44 contains the alleged statements of leaders of raion branches of USDP, belonging to Yu.Tymoshenko’s block and having the right to representation, to the effect that they signed no documents, authorizing their representatives, who ended up representing BYUT, to participate in the election committees. Bizarre incident happened in Verkhnyorohachytsky raion (Kherson oblast’): Ukrainian peasants’ Democratic Party application to TEC was submitted by the leader of the raion party branch. As a result, says the letter, BYUT was represented by many people who worked for the Party of regions at the previous elections.
The situation repeated itself in the process of district election committees’ forming. TEC denied numerous opposition members the right to be represented in the district election committees, making reference to the election law, which completely disregarded the proportionality/party representation factor. Thus, according to Ukrainian voters’ committee observers for Cherkassy oblast’, about 80% of candidates to district election committees from the opposition parties were denied registration on the pretext of their lack of experience.45
Therefore, unclear principles of all levels’ election committees’ forming, spelled out in the local elections law, combined with lack of democratic traditions of compromising led to disproportionate representation of various political forces. This situation, in its turn resulted in numerous manifestations of election committees’ partiality towards certain candidates and in violations of electoral rights of electoral process subjects. Such facts were often registered at the time of candidates’ registration, election campaigning, voting, and, especially vote-counting.
3.4. Obstructing candidates’ registration
In the course of elections public observers registered an obsolete practice of making up various obstacles for the potential competitors of the ruling party representatives in their efforts to submit the needed papers and get registered in election committees.
Thus the Ukrainian voters’ committee observers in their report noted that TEC were very meticulous and perfunctory in accepting the documents from the electoral process subjects and registering them. The majority of denials concerned representatives of “Svoboda” (Liberty), “Syl’na Ukraina” (Strong Ukraine), “Bat’kivshchyna” (Motherland)and “Front zmin” (Changes front) parties.
Although the Ukrainian voters’ committee representatives assessed that the total number of denials did not exceed 1% of the total number of nominated candidates, they argued in their statement that “in some cases the denial of registration on formal grounds was related to hidden political agenda”.46
As early as at the stage of local elections’ preparations the dubious facts of procrastination with regards to procedural steps were registered. Subsequently these delays led to serious consequences for some voters.
The facts of registration denial to “Bat’kivshchyna” members and candidates form the illegitimate local branches of this party were most common. They became possible due to the fact that the territorial justice departments used procedural errors to protract the process of renewed registration for the branches or for the changes in the party’s leadership, so that “Bat’kivshchyna” central leadership lost control over the candidates to two oblast’ and several local councils47. As a result, unnatural formations, i.e. “clone parties” came into being. Yu.Tymoshenko classified this process as “raiding” of local “Bat’kivshchyna” branches”.48
Due to these developments, “Bat’kivshchyna” candidates were unable to participate in the local elections to Lviv oblast’ and city councils, Luhansk city council, Ternopil city council, Olexandria city and raion councils and Novoarchangelsk raion council (Kirovohrad oblast’); Kiev oblast’ council, and also in the elections which took place in 8 raions and 6 cities of Kiev oblast’ – Bohuslav, Boryspil, Vyshgorod, Stavyshche, Fastiv and Yahotyn raion councils, Boryspil, Brovary, Obukhiv, Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky, Rzhyshchev and Fastiv city councils.
At these elections mainly the lists of candidates from “Bat’kivshchyna” clones were registered. Finally, yielding to the pressure from international organizations, opposition and public at large, the faked “Bat’kivshchyna” lists were removed by courts decisions in the majority of territorial/administrative units, virtually a couple of hours before the voting. In general, however, the situation never changed for “Bat’kivshchyna” representatives – its candidates were not allowed to participate in the elections.
The representatives of this political force estimated that “the rights of hundreds thousands voters, deprived of the opportunity to support the political force they sympathize with, were violated”. As is well known, 42.29% of the voters (400 thousand) voted for Yu.Tymoshenko at the first round of elections. In Lviv oblast’ this figure constituted respectively 34.7% (512 thousand voters). The administrative units, where “Bat’kivshchyna” was denied participation in the elections, have the total of 4 mln 123 thousand voters (11.3% of total number) – and “Bat’kivshchyna” representatives argue that all these voters were deprived of their right to free choice, as the political force in question was not represented in the ballots.49
“Bat’kivshchyna” central head-quarters claimed that as of the morning, October 31, 219 “Bat’kivshchyna”candidates were removed from the lists in the majority election constituencies.
According to the data provided by the head of “Nasha Ukraina”political council V.Nalyvaychenko, Khmelnitsky and Crimean organizations of the party were denied participation in the elections, while in Sumy, Volyn’, Poltava and Zaporizhzhya they were forbidden from having their representatives in the TEC or even district election committees. Dozens of candidates for various offices were not registered or removed from registration. Law enforcement units were pressuring primary candidates from many oblasts of Ukraine.
Conflicts and disputes caused by election committees’ decisions were registered by public observers in many regions. Here are some of them:
In the city of Pershotravnevsk, the list of “Yedyny Tsentr” (United Center) party candidates’ was removed from registration. It happened after a phone call from the city executive committee. The head of Pershotravnevsk city election committee V.Petrov openly referred to this fact at the court hearing. Nevertheless, the board of judges from Dnipropetrovsk circuit administrative court ignored this fact and dismissed the claim from the Pershotravnevsk local branch of “Yedyny Tsentr”.
Here a number of rather sensational denials of registration to political parties and majority candidates occurred. The biggest dispute arose in Mariupol, where the local election committee denied candidates’ registration to a number of local branches of political parties. After “Syl’na Ukraina” was denied its candidates’ registration, the party leadership complained of gross violation of the law by this election committee.
The local organization of “Yedyny Tsentr” in Donetsk also made public announcements concerning biased actions of district and city election committees with regards to its candidates’ registration.
Public observers in Dokuchayevsk, Kostyantynivka and Kramatorsk made notes of a special technique used either to obstruct candidates’ registration or to find cause for annulling the registration-related decisions.50
On October 28, two days before the voting, the CEC, on the motion from Donetsk oblast’ “Syl’na Ukraina” organization ordered Yasynuvata local territorial election committee to register the candidates’ list from this party and the mayoral candidate Natalia Andriyenko.51
On the eve of election campaign, a conflict around the registration of“Syl’na Ukraina” candidates arose. The head of the party oblast’ organization O.Kobityev in September 2010 left his office, giving the pressure from the Party of regions as reason for his resignation. The Ukrainian voters’ committee representatives argue that the claim, requesting the cancellation of “Syl’na Ukraina” in Luhansk oblast’, filed with Luhansk circuit administrative court by a citizen V.L., was a part of this pressure, as the court’s ruling practically banned the party from participating in the elections. After Kobiyev’ resignation the candidates’ registration issued was resolved.
According to the information from the Ukrainian voters’ committee Luhansk branch , “Syl’na Ukraina” refused to nominate its candidate M.Kyrychenko for mayor’s elections in Alchevsk, and, probably, some other candidates as well, due to the intervention from the outside. The candidates, consequently, had to seek support among PSPU members.
24 hours before the end of the election campaign, a mayor candidate in Severodonetsk V.Hrytsyshyn representing progressive socialist party of Ukraine, was removed from the list, despite the fact that he had the best chances to win. He was warned twice for alleged violation of the election legislation. It happened on October 28 about 11:30 pm at the meeting of Severodonetsk TEC. Repeated voting was held by election committee members on October 26 this year in compliance with decision of Donetsk court of appeals, which ruled for the local Party of regions organization. It is common knowledge that Mr. Hrytsyshyn had a long-time personal conflict with the Party of regions.52
On October 19 Kremenchuh city election committee removed “Bat’kivshchyna” candidate for mayor’s office O.Babayev from registration.
Leader of “Syl’na Ukraina” S.Tyhypko reported that his political force was denied registration in one of Kharkiv oblast’ raions.. 53
On October 15 Kherson circuit administrative court on the motion from Kherson oblast’ and city election committees removed from registration several hundred Ukrainian Maritime Party candidates to oblast’, city and district councils and this party mayoral candidate A.Rotova. No election law provisions justified this action.
Under the rulings of Odessa administrative court of appeals these decisions remained in force. CEC classified the actions of Kherson oblast and city election committees as unlawful and obliged them to renew the registration of the UMP candidates. Kherson city election committee appealed the CEC (!) decision in Kiev administrative court of appeals. Meanwhile, this decision was also appealed by People’s party representative (!). The final judgment was passed only overnight before the voting day, on October 30. The UMP candidates’ registration lists were annulled at oblast’ level, but renewed at the city level. In fact UMP had no time for election campaign.
3.5. Use of administrative resource for the benefit of one political force led to large-scale violation of the citizens’ electoral rights
In contrast to other nationwide election campaigns of 2006-2010, the elections to local councils were characterized by systematic and diverse use of administrative resource by the authorities and law enforcement agencies for the benefit of the Party of regions’ candidates.
The authorities began using administrative resource before the election campaign. Namely, in summer 2010 the facts of collecting personal information concerning citizens’ political preferences became known. The President’s of Ukraine administration requested that oblast’ state administrations collect information about the senior officers in local self-governments, militia, prosecutor’s office, the CEOs of the companies, institutions and enterprises and members of the local councils in the region.
This information, among other things, had to contain data on party affiliation (political orientation); information on whom an individual supported in the presidential elections of 2010, rating among population, potential collaboration (?). Obviously, this practice is typical of security services in totalitarian regimes, and by no means is within the terms of governmental reference; besides collecting information on private citizens’ life is unambiguously prohibited by the law. 54
This is a good example of the administrative resource usage with the goal of identifying loyal and disloyal members of society. Later on, at all stages of election campaign, we witnessed the use of the same technologies of defeating “disloyal” candidates and supporting the “loyal” ones all over the country. These technologies also included attempts to exercise control over election committees, the judiciary and the law enforcement entities, which shows systematic power attempts to influence the elections results, and, therefore, to violate fundamental electoral rights.
In mid-October, two weeks before the voting day, the public activists who observed the adherence to democratic standards and voters’rights, held a joint press-conference and made public the summarized report on administrative resource use against candidates.
Thus, coordinator of election programs for “Support” public network O.Aivazovska reported that the administrative resource as the main power tool, “efficiently combines provoking and humiliating the opponent. The voter’s attitude towards a candidate can be frustrated by accusing the latter of briberies, or by launching criminal proceedings against him/her. It is difficult for a voter to judge whether the accusations are well-grounded. The campaign is very rapid, so there is no time to assess all “pros’ and “cons”.
The Secretary of Civil Assembly of Ukraine Andriy Kohut expressed an opinion that power sets up “predetermined unfair rules of the game” for the electoral process subjects. The public observers registered a lot of administrative resource manifestations.
They were most concerned with the use of law enforcement bodies, taxpayers and courts to discredit the candidates.
Altogether they quoted 15 examples of administrative resource use in various regions of Ukraine. According to them, a candidate A.Kharitonov was detained in Alupka, a candidate Y.Kolmiytsev in Symferopol was subject to the property search, mayoral candidate O.Nechayev was arrested for the abuse of public office, a candidate and acting mayor A.Mamykin was detained in Livadia, acting mayor V. Hamal was subjected to pressure.
In Volodymyr-Volynsky (Volyn’oblast’) prosecutor’s office together with militia acted against a candidate for mayor’s office F.Soroka, in Sumy a criminal lawsuit was filed against mayor H. Minayev, In Karlivka (Poltava oblast’) S.Yakovenko was detined on the suspicion of corruption, in Lutsk (Volyn’ oblast’) a criminal lawsuit was filed against candidate for mayor’s position and former oblast’ administration head M.Romanyuk on professional negligence plea; in Cherkassy a criminal lawsuit was filed against candidate for mayor’s position and acting mayor S.Odarych.
On September 20, 2010 Security service of Ukraine detained the acting mayor A.Nesteruk in Kamyanets-Podilsky (Khmelnitsky oblast’).55 As a result, the local TEC did not register A.Nesteruk, under the pretext, that being detained in Khmelnitsky remand prison, he could not submit registration papers in person.56
Another vivid example of administrative resource use and of pressuring the candidates was reported by “Support” activists. They referred to the events in Cherkassy, where action was taken against the acting mayor and candidate for mayor’s office S.Odarych.
On September 30 Cherkassy oblast’ auditing commission froze bank accounts of communal and housing services department of Cherkassy executive committee, thus jeopardizing its operation. Odarych insisted that this decision was instigated by Cherkassy governor S.Tulub, the leader of local Party of regions branch. In Odarych’s opinion, it was the governor’s way to help his party comrade Ye.Vlizlo in his running for mayor.57
The use of administrative resource was registered widely in Ukraine. We shall illustrate its popularity, referring to events that happened at the time of Kherson mayor elections. Then the law enforcement agencies were using all sorts of pressure against all the major candidates, competitors to their acting mayor, who represented Party of regions.
All these candidates and their supporters found themselves in the middle of various investigations, audits and other actions instigated by law enforcement and taxation agencies. Criminal suits were filed against former head of Kherson oblast’ state administration B.Sylenkov and against“Civil control” leader and member of city council S.Kirichenko.
V.Girin, well-known businessman and leader of the NGO “For fair administration” was nominated as candidate for Kherson city mayor. On the same day the tax inspectors confiscated documents from his companies, thus paralyzing their operation. The tax militia officers participated in the raid, wearing masks and carrying guns.
State tax administration imposed the fine of several million UAH (!) on a company, owned by a leader of political party “Tretya syla” (The third force), who nominated one of the most probable winners for city mayor A.Putilov as its candidate.
An administrative suit was filed against another candidate - a Ukrainian Maritime Party leader (Kherson branch), head of housing and communal services department under Kherson executive committee S.Pinkas. Later he was dismissed from office. A. Rotova, who was also a UMP candidate for mayor’s office, severely criticized the leader of local Party of regions’ branch V.Saldo.
In this study we are not questioning the legitimacy of law-enforcement or tax inspection officers’ actions; they can be, nevertheless, classified as pressuring and harassing the candidates for mayor’s and city council members’ offices in the local elections.
Here are some examples of administrative resource use, registered by the Ukrainian voters’ committee observers
Makyivka mayor O.Maltsev openly announced that voting for specific political force is directly linked to budget funding. That’s what he told “Vechernyaya Makeevka” reporter in his interview of October 8, 2010: ”First of all, I appeal to all the residents of our town – don’t remain indifferent, come and vote on October 31; our joint stand-point will be decisive for the further destiny of our town. Believe me, it’s not mere declaration. After last elections we got preferential treatment – 30 mln UAH for urban development, and we hope to obtain same benefits for the coming year as well, i.e. 90 mln UAH for social and economic development, as I mentioned earlier. We must earn this money at the elections. I am sure the voters will make the right choice.” 58
Regional office of “Syl’na Ukraina” oblast’ party organization revealed the facts of pressure imposed on party members by local bureaucrats from oblast’ raions, who warned them that their staying in office depended directly on their immediate renunciation of their “Syl’na Ukraina” membership. The office registered 23 complaints from the party members and activists.59
Ukrainian voters’ committee observers for Odessa oblast’ reported that an official from raion state administration was constantly present at Chervonoknyanska TEC, and no information was given to reporters and observers without his permission.
Town of Kotovsk has but one local TV channel (KET). It was rebroadcasting only speeches of the acting mayor and candidate for mayor’s office A.Ivanov. Other candidates were denied air-time for their presentations by TV managers.
In Bilhorod-Dnestrovsky TV broadcasting company refused to give air-time to a candidate N.Cherbadzhy, despite the fact that it was already paid for.60
According to Kupyansk election head-quarters, director of railroad workers’ cultural center (Kupyansk) refused to rent premises to K.Ukraintseva, a candidate, running for mayor, for her meeting with the constituents. He justified his refusal by alleged overloading of the center.61
The disbandment of local “Bat’kivshchyna” organization in August 2010, by court decision, on the motion from Velyka Oleksandrivka justice department made big news. “Failure to submit operation reports to the tax inspection” was given as formal grounds for the suit and subsequent disbandment. The dispute was resolved only after the one-year restriction for party branches was removed.
Ukrainian voters’ committee observers registered the facts of campaigning for Party of regions in pre-school institutions and schools of Kaniv raion. It was organized by the head of Cherkassy oblast’ pension fund department V.Bahriychuk and the head of Kaniv raion education department L.Nekrasa. A number of other senior officers of raion state administration also campaigned for the Party of regions during operational meetings in Katerynopil, Chyhyryn, Drabiv, Cherkassy, Chornobaivka, Horodyshche, Lysyansk raions).
Instances of pressure upon leaders and activists of both opposition and ruling political forces were registered in the oblast’. In particular, a criminal suit was filed against A.Bondarenko, leader of local “Bat’kivshchyna” organization; a number of criminal suits against the companies, headed by city mayor S.Odarych, a criminal suit against a housing company “Mekhbud” director V.Sapa with regards to “Golden horseshoe” program (linked, in fact, with “Nasha Ukraina” leadership) were filed. Prosecutor’s office inspections, auditing certain candidates’ to oblast’ council operations, were carried out. In Katerynopil raion the head of raion state administration O.Bardachenko forbade the visiting head of People’s party, people’s deputy S.Tereshchuk to meet the constituents in village cultural centers.62
3.6. Pressure upon the candidates and their families, exerted by the officials and law enforcement agencies, to coerce them not to participate in the elections
The instances of such pressure are very common, although few of those “interviewed” by state administration officials and controlling bodies would muster the courage to tell about them. This time, however, the scale of pressure became so large, that many facts have been noted by observers or published in mass media. Here are some data published in information/analytical report of “BYUT-Bat’kivshchyna” analysts’ service “On mass violations in the course of campaign related to local councils’ elections on October 31, 2010”.
Yielding to the pressure, exerted by their superiors, two candidates to Avdiivka town council from “Bat’kivshchyna” party were forced to remove their names from the candidates’ lists. The head of the companies, belonging to the Party of regions, threatened their employees with dismissal if these latter don’t remove their names from “Bat’kivshchyna” party lists. Thus, the director of Kirov mine requested that “Bat’kivshchyna” candidates to Makiyevka town council V.Melnikov and L.Oleynikov refrain from running for office, as otherwise they would lose their jobs. He also warned mining engineer V.Filimonchuk that his participation in the election campaign as “Bat’kivshchyna” representative could have negative consequences for him, quoting Director General of “Makiivvuhillya”.
On September 28 a school principal in Kovel raion was threatened with dismissal on the grounds that his son was nominated as “Za Ukrainu!” party candidate.
Eight public servants from various institutions, who were members of “Front zmin” party and intended to run for office in local councils, were offered to either become Party of regions’ candidates (or V.Litvin’s People’s party candidates) or to resign from their offices. 12 persons were coerced to withdraw their candidatures. These facts were registered in Baraniv, Luhyn, Korostyshev, Chudniv, Radomyshl’ and Narodychy raions). Businessmen – “Front zmin” candidates have been harassed by tax inspections and audits, at the time of which they offered to run for the Party of regions or for V.Litvin’s People’s party.
In Hrebinka raion V.Tereshchenko, raion council candidate from “Bat’kivshchyna”, was coerced into withdrawing his candidature, under the threat of terminating his lease for the premises where his store was located.
The “Support” network observers reported that a candidate to raion council from “Za Ukrainu!” party O.Hurchenko wrote a request to withdraw his candidature under the pressure from the raion state administration.
The leader of Krolevets branch of “Za Ukrainu!”party O. Kucheryavy was threatened with dismissal if he refused to support the Party of regions’ candidate for mayor . The head of local Party of regions branch O.Naumov was persuading him to sign an appeal in support of one of the Party of regions’ candidates. After O.Kucheryavy refused he was threatened with dismissal.
In Pidhaytsy raion raion council members-businessmen, belonging to BYUT, were forced to either withdraw their candidatures altogether or to run for the ruling party.
Acting member of Desnyansky district council in Chernyhyv, employee of Desnyansky district pension fund was forced to withdraw his candidature from the raion council list and to renounce his membership in “Bat’kivshchyna”.
Chernyhyv oblast’ council member and private company CEO M.Shumeiko was called by oblast’ state administration head V.Khomenko and threatened with negative consequences if he does not leave “Bat’kivshchyna”.
The oblast’ state administration head issued informal, but mandatory order to the head of oblast’ health care department to the effect that no chief physician would be nominated as a candidate from any political party but the Party of regions.
Local officials in Drabiv in the course of “preventive negotiations” held on September 28, openly requested that raion council member from BYUT V.Tarasenko leaves the ranks of “Bat’kivshchyna” and withdraws his candidature for council member and village head of Nekhayki village. 63
Therefore, at the local elections mass and systematic activities of executive officials, local self-governance bodies, law enforcement agencies, tax inspections for the benefit of Party of regions’ candidates as well as fact of pressure upon the electoral process subjects with the goal of impeding their participation in the elections, were registered.
3.7. Access to information, impediments to journalists’ and observers’ operation
Public observers registered significant regress in observing the voters’ and election participants’rights to information with regards to electoral process. Current law, authorizing election committees to define the method of making their decisions public, had adverse effect on the public awareness with regards to elections.
The observers reported many instances when majority candidates could not get the election updates, because the TEC resolutions were not available to public.
Some election committees did not publish their decisions in timely fashion, delayed the signing of contracts with media which would cover their operation, or even openly and without any justification refused to share any information concerning this operation
These actions taken together negatively affected the candidates’ rights to protect their interests.64
The fact that election committees, for the first time in elections’ history, restricted to the maximum the information on voting is really unprecedented. The election committees made public only the lists of winning candidates. The data concerning number of voters, the distribution of votes among parties and candidates, remained virtually unknown. Dramatic increase in the attempts to hinder journalists and observers’ performance of their duties became another serious issue.
The reporters were denied information on electoral process, access to election committees’ premises or palling stations on the eve and on the day of voting.
On the day of voting journalists and observers experienced the pressure from the election committees and law enforcement bodies. Militia intervened more than once into the conflicts arising between the election committees and the observers, unfailingly taking the committee’s side.
This situation could have been explained by incompetence of both election committees’ members and militiamen, if the examples of appropriately organized elections had not been registered in Ukraine in the recent years.
Here are some typical situations
October31. Press-service of “Bat’kivshchyna” elections headquarters reported that after voting ended at palling station ¹76 (Simferopol), the election committee members from the Party of regions chased away observers and Chornomorsky TV representatives with militia help, before starting the vote-counting.65
October 31. Observers and authorized representatives were not allowed to enter palling station ¹ 45 in Lutsk. The head of district election committee justified the decision by the allegation that observers had to register with the election committee overnight, and presently it was too late.
Similar situation was registered in Kovel at the palling station ¹ 18008. The observers were not allowed to enter the building before 7:30.66
On October 22 a reporter from “Tochka opory” newspaper took several pictures of information board in Mariupol city election committee. After that, unidentified persons started to threaten the journalist and to demand that he destroys the pictures.67
A journalist from all-Ukrainian publication “Tochka opory” was prohibited from entering the premises of Druzhkivka town election committee. A committee member justified the denial by lack of appropriate documents – allegedly, the journalist’s ID was not enough. The journalist was allowed into the building only after Donetsk oblast’ territorial commission interjection.68
At the palling station ¹ 10 in Malin official Ukrainian voters’ committee observers were denied registration, on the grounds that there was no officially approved list of observers at the committee.
The observers were not allowed at many palling stations, and denied registration if they failed to register between 6:45 and 7:00 am.
October 31. A TV journalist was forcibly driven out of the palling station ¹ 42 in Uzhgorod, after he started taking pictures of voters who filled out the ballots on each other’s backs and not in the booths.69
October 31. At the palling stations of Polissya, large number of journalists, observers and candidates’ authorized representatives were pushed out of the premises. UNIAN received this information from “Pravda” (Truth) political party head, candidate to Kiev oblast’ council S.Rybalko. According to him, journalists and observers were taken out immediately after the closing of palling stations. The candidate believed it might have been done to cover voting falsifications, “as the majority of election committees represented the ruling party”.70
The leader of regional branch of “Nasha Ukraina” party A. Nitsoy reported that opposition observers were prohibited from entering palling stations in Sofiivska Borshchahivka village (Kiev-Svyatoshyn raion), while coalition and Party of regions’ observers entered them freely. Nitsoy quoted the election committee’s explanations that the premises were too small to house so many people.71
October 31. At palling station ¹ 123 (secondary school ¹ 19) in Lenin district (Mykolaiv), before the vote-counting started, two TV journalists from “NIS-TV”crew were physically pushed out of the room on the order of election committee head. The premises then were locked for vote-counting. .72
Palling station ¹ 1407, village of Kovalivka Mykolaiv raion: committee members chased out all the observers and candidates during preparatory meeting.
Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky. A TV channel “Ò³ðà-TV” managed to broadcast only two episodes of “Sociopolis” program, hosted by a well-known local historian and sociologist Donat Sarana. After that some influential candidate, running for mayor, evidently unhappy with the sociological surveys’ results, concerning him personally and divulged in the program, persuasively “asked” the TV channel owner never to let “Sociopolis” on air. His request was satisfied.73
October 28.Odessa city election committee did not let mass media representatives to their meeting, which took place in “Chornomorya” publishing house, where the district election committees received the ballots. .74
October 31. Numerous facts, concerning journalists’ and TV journalists banning from palling stations were registered. The election committees justified their actions by the fact that the journalists either did not have their passports with them, or their IDs were not in order. 75
October 31. Observers were not allowed to participate in election committee morning meeting at the palling station, located in «INTO SANA» hospital.
After voting started, the Ukrainian voters’ committee observers arrived in Odessa city TEC and found several authorized representatives at its doors. No one could enter the building, because the guard denied them the entry making reference to the order, issued personally by TEC head, Mr. O.Akhmerov. By 10:00 nothing changed, although the head himself promised to grant entry to the journalists and observers, without specifying the reasons for the ban.76
On October 16 Kherson executive committee security did not allow journalists representing three newspapers to be present at the Kherson city election committee meeting, on the grounds that Kherson deputy mayor prohibited strangers from entering the building. The city council members witnessing the incident did not intervene.
October 31, palling station ¹ 21685 (Kherson). The head of district election committee, located in the premises of the school ¹34, refused to register the “Tretya syla” observer. Only lawyers’ intervention made her comply with due legal procedure.
Palling station ¹21755, located in the premises of the school ¹51. District election committee ruled that an observer, an authorized representative and a candidate should be removed from the building, on the grounds that they had arrived at 11:00 am, while the election committee, according to its head, closed the registration for observers and others at 10:00 am.
When an independent Ukrainian voters’ committee observer with the ID, certified by CEC, tried to clarify the situation, the head of the election committee called militiaman and asked him to remove the observer from the building. Militia lieutenant, in defiance of the law “On militia”, refused to give his name and tried to take the observer out of the building, then called investigators.77
Palling station ¹ 99, oil and fat factory – the committee head marked with chalk the place for the observers, placed a militia guard there and told the observers not to step outside the marked area. 78
3.8. Voting day became a real trial
A huge number of violations, pressure, biased attitude of election committees and authorities towards candidates, lack of adequate response from law enforcement agencies to complaints led to the deepening of public distrust of the electoral process and election committees’ capability to organize proper voting and vote-counting.
Issuance of ballots and control over their safe keeping became a serious trial of public trust in the authorities’ capability to hold fair elections.
Issuance of additional ballots and tampering with ballots were observed and reported in various parts of Ukraine. Thus, political parties’ speakers reported that additional copies of the ballots were found in Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Khmelnitsy, Odessa oblast’ etc.
Meanwhile, public observers noted the instances, when TEC submitted ballots with spelling and factual errors to the printing companies, so that later these ballots had to be destroyed and budget funds were wasted.
Under the circumstances, the law enforcement agencies failed to supply reliable information for the public, concerning the ballots issuance, election committees’ adherence to the due legal procedure and control of the process, exercised by the said agencies.
On the voting day big lines at the palling stations, due to large number of ballots and ballots-related violations, created most serious problems. Some palling stations received larger or smaller number of ballots, than was actually needed. Some election committees failed to put the stamp “quit” for the electoral process subjects, whose registration was cancelled, before the voting. Spelling and factual errors in the ballots were common; sometimes the ballots for one palling station were delivered to another.
Alongside with this, public observers registered a number of isolated gross violations, i.e. attempts to bribe the voters, to “throw in” the ballots, to ban observers from entering the premises, to sign empty ballots. Many of these violations were stopped by the intervention of committee members, observers or law enforcement representatives.
The quality of voters’ lists was somewhat better as compared to the lists in circulation at the time of the last presidential elections. Nevertheless, the data from the uniform registry need further amendments. Public observers noted that lack of possibility to introduce changes into the voters’ lists on the voting day, even by court’s ruling, led to serious violation of the voters’ rights.
Ukrainian voters’ committee observers revealed a number of violations in procedure and order of the vote-counting, as well as the facts of observers’ banning from the stations, short circuits, deliberate spoilage of ballots.79
Due to the numerous procedural violations and delays in vote-counting, the results, made public, caused a lot of doubts and controversy.
Public at large, electoral process subjects, journalists tried to draw law enforcement agencies’ attention to outrageous facts. For example, Kharkiv human rights’ protection activists made a statement concerning premature publication of voting results in Kharkiv mayor’s elections.80
These statements, in their majority, were disregarded by CEC, TEC and law enforcement agencies. Only in some cases CEC responded to gross violations of voters’ rights by the election committees. Thus, on the strength of Kiev circuit administrative court ruling of November 5, 2010, CEC terminated the authority of Bila Tserkva city election committee before schedule, on the grounds of repeated gross violations of Constitutional provisions and Law, due to its members’ negligence and subsequent falsification of election results in Bila Tserkva (Kiev oblast’) and voters’ declaration of will.81 However, it remains unknown, if the criminal suits against the culprits have been filed.
3.9. Appeal system and access to justice
The Code of Good practice82, devised by Venice commission, stipulates an efficient system of appeals, as one of the procedural guarantees of the electoral rights.
The electoral process subjects are free to appeal against election law violations in the appropriate agencies, i.e. election committees or courts.
Current local elections in Ukraine demonstrated a somewhat bizarre practice of selective justice or election committees’ failure to comply with… court decisions.
The information concerning judicial practice of resolving the disputes which arose in the course of local elections is not complete yet.
The journalists from “Dzerkalo tyzhnya” approached the largest parties, asking them to provide information on number of filed and satisfied appeals with regards to violations, committed on the voting day and during the vote-counting between October 31 and November 11.83
Nine political parties offered the information requested (see table).
Their members filed 2375 claims with the court over the period under discussion.
The majority of claims were submitted by “Bat’kivshchyna” members - 2139. Only 14 or 0.7% of all claims were satisfied by the courts of different jurisdictions.
“Front zmin” ranks second as to the number of claims. This party filed 85 claims, 19 (22%) of which were satisfied.
Party of regions ranks third as to the number of claims. They filed 54 claims, 46 (85%) of which were satisfied.
“Syl’na Ukraina” members, subjected to a lot of official pressure in the course of election campaign, filed 21 appeals concerning the violations committed on the voting day and during the vote-counting. The courts allowed only 4 (19%) appeals.
Table. Number of appeals concerning violations committed on the voting day and during the vote-counting.
Number of claims filed with the court by a political force between October 31 and November 11)
Decision on the claim
Appeal against the voting procedure violation
Appeal against the vote-counting procedure violation
Appeal against election results
Admitted for consideration
Executed by TEC
Party of regions
* some claims were just submitted to TEC, while this table was compiled.
Source: I.Vedernikova articles “Gargoyle House” in “Dzerkalo tyzhnya” newspaper, ¹42, October13, 2010.
The data collected by “Dzerkalo tyzhnya” journalists show the correlation between the number of allowed appeals and proximity to (or remoteness from) power.
Oddly enough, the majority of Party of regions’ claims was satisfied, while the opposition parties’ claims were not.
The information presented above demonstrates one more tendency. Out of 99 claims, satisfied by the courts, only 5 were executed by TEC. All the rest were ignored (although the reporter I.Vedernikova maintains that some court decisions were considered by TEC at that time).
Hence, this information shows that election committees were trying to sabotage the courts’ decisions. Further we’ll refer to some facts, found by public observers and journalists.
Lutsk city election committee refused to comply with the decision of Lviv court of appeal and to issue a notice to “Syl’na Ukraina” candidate M.Romanyuk, running for mayor, for the violation of election campaign rules.
On October 25, in Fastiv, political parties’ members denied registration, picketed TEC. About 100 representatives of 5 un-registered parties took part in picketing, the opposition parties “Svoboda”, “Bat’kivshchyna”, “Front zmin” and others among them. They demanded the execution of court decision of October 14, i.e. the registration of 82 candidates from the parties denied registration earlier. TEC head O.Chumachenko (“Nasha Ukraina”) responded that she was not going to comply with the court’s decision and would by no means have the candidates registered. The upset picketers blocked the TEC premises. The head of the committee was taken to emergency room, allegedly with heart attack.
Earlier, the Fastiv city election committee on various grounds refused to register over 140 candidates to the local city council. They represented various, principally opposition parties. Incorrect service of documents was given as grounds for refusal.84
Kremenchuh election committee refused to comply with the decision of Kharkiv administrative court of appeals on renewal of registration for the candidate O.Babayev, running for mayor.85
During the vote-counting at the palling station 21655, numerous violations were revealed. A candidate, who lost elections, insisted on the new vote-counting. Kherson city election committee refused to count ballots a-new. The candidate for the city council and “Bat’kivshchyna” members of the election committee appealed the committee decision in Kherson circuit administrative court. On October 4, 2010 the court allowed the appeal and nullified the committee’s decision, i.e. its refusal to re-count the ballots. The head of Kherson city election committee appealed this decision in Odessa administrative court of appeals; in the meantime, the voting results were made public, and the candidate who won the elections in this area, became a member of city council. Odessa administrative court of appeals ordered the committee to re-count the ballots.86 On January 24, 2011 Kherson city election committee finally convoked a meeting and decided to take notice of the court’s ruling. It was never executed, however, due to the completion of elections.87
Conclusions concerning observance of voters’ rights at the local elections of 2010
1. Local elections in Ukraine involved violations of international standards and non-adherence to due practices of elections’ organization and holding.
2. The new law on local elections, adopted on the eve of the voting day without preliminary public hearing, became a source of numerous violations of electoral rights.
3. Disproportionate representation in the election committees gave unfair advantage to the ruling party in all election committees and created unequal conditions for the election process subjects.
4. Discretional application or total neglect of the law by territorial election committees created additional obstacles for the candidates’ election campaigns.
At the registration stage territorial election committees created additional impediments for some candidates and parties. Despite the fact that some election process subjects managed to appeal election committees’ actions in court, these candidates remained in disadvantage, due to the transient nature of election process, and failed in their election campaign.
5. Some committees openly made decisions of non-compliance with courts’ rulings.
6. Broad use of administrative resource and pressure upon the election process subjects, candidates’ and committees’ members’ harassment led to large-scale electoral rights violations.
7. Law enforcement agencies failed to deal efficiently with numerous violations of election law, pressure, threats and harassment.
8. Lack of election committees’ control over the ballots printing and their inappropriate safe-keeping opened the door to abuse.
9. Insufficient preparation of the voting day led to the violation of the principle of individual and secret declaration of will.
10. Violations of law requirements towards vote-counting and summarizing results led to the distortion of elections outcomes in some communities.
11. For the first time some improvement in voters’ lists was registered. Nevertheless, the “doubles” and “dead souls” still occurred on the lists, while some citizens who came of voting age (18 years), were not included.
12. Lack of provisions allowing adding voters’ names to the lists on the voting day on court’s decision led to the violation of voters’ rights to participate in the voting.
13. Electoral process was characterized by limited access of election process subjects to information, consistent restrictions of observers’ and journalists’ rights, and numerous facts of obstructing their operation.
14. Mechanism of appeals proved inefficient at the local elections and failed to ensure the reinstatement of election process subjects and voters in their rights.
4. Realization of civil rights to initiate and participate in nationwide and local referenda
The observance of civil rights to initiate and participate in nationwide and local referenda still remains a serious problem. Traditionally political forces try to use the referenda as means of achieving their own political goals.
Meanwhile the earlier attempts to hold all-Ukrainian referenda brought no tangible results. Thus, in 2006 a referendum on Ukraine membership in NATO and participation in Unified Economic Space was to be called. 109 task forces were set up; 4.6 million people in 27 regions of Ukraine expressed their wish to hold the referendum. The President of Ukraine must make this initiative public and announce all-Ukrainian referendum. However, it still hasn’t been done, and the citizens are denied their constitutional right to declare their will at all-Ukrainian referendum. The Supreme Rada of Ukraine also abstained from passing an unambiguous legal judgment with regards to public right to direct democracy through all-Ukrainian referenda.
Instead, the politicians were trying to use the referendum mechanism in mobilizing their electorate.
Thus, “Front zmin” leader A.Yatsenyuk called for a referendum on the issue of Constitutional amendments, presidential elections, prolongation of the Supreme Rada competences.88
In August-September task-forces in charge of preparing the all-Ukrainian referendum, were set up all over the country.
All the registration documents were submitted by relevant local self-governance bodies to CEC. However, just as it happened two years earlier, CEC denied registration to initiative groups for all-Ukrainian referendum. In its decision CEC made reference to the Constitutional court decisions ¹ 3-rp/2000 of March 27, 2000 (on all-Ukrainian referendum, convoked on public initiative) and ¹ 6-rp/2005 of October 5, 2005 (on people’s exercise of power), namely, that the issues in question cannot be resolved by way of all-Ukrainian referendum on public initiative, as they do not allow to establish the exact meaning of the electorate will.89
This situation was possible, among other things, due to an obsolete legislation on referenda, still in force in Ukraine. For several years now the law-makers have been trying to change this Law. As of today they managed to get things moving. As people’s deputy L. Orobets’ put it, “presently, two main areas of legal amendments have been defined – the nationwide and the local. This definition stands to reason – each of them has its own terms of reference and implementation specifics which are not to be mixed”.
According to the people’s deputy, the regulations concerning local referenda should go hand in hand with all-Ukrainian referenda reforming, regarded by some as a mechanism of strengthening the presidential vertical. “We are running the risk of losing local self-governance completely, if the local communities are unable to control the authorities, if courts are the centers of corruption and the closed proportional system of representative power remains omnipotent. On the other hand, if local communities have a simple and comprehensive mechanism of expressing their distrust of city or village authorities by means of referendum, then both council and mayor will be obliged to take public interests into consideration, instead of acting for their own benefit only or on the instructions of their political patrons”, said the deputy.90
By the end of 2010 four draft laws, two of which addressed all-Ukrainian referendum, one – referenda in general, and the last one- local referenda – were registered.
The draft law on all-Ukrainian referendum ¹ 6278 of April 29, 2010, prepared by the people’s deputy fro the Party of regions D.Shpenov, was remanded for the second reading in July 2010, while the draft law on local referenda, submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to the Supreme Rada in September 2010, has not been considered yet.
Unfortunately, summarized open statistics on the local referenda initiatives is not available. It makes monitoring of the local referenda practices and exercising of public rights to participation in this expression of direct democracy, difficult.
In early 2009 the Ministry of Justice, within the framework of drafting the law on local referenda, attempted to summarize the practice of referenda organization in Ukraine and collected the relevant information for the years 1991 – early 2009. These data show that over this period of time 150 local referenda have been held in Ukraine: 55 – concerning the issues of administrative and territorial structure; 36 – concerning the issues of changing the name of a territorial unit; 34 – concerning the institutional issues, including the termination of office for the representative bodies in local self-governments; 12 – concerning the issues of the residential areas’ gentrification; 12 – concerning land issues; 9 – concerning other issues.91
This statistic did not take into account the referenda proposed by territorial communities, but never held due to the opposition from the local power. In general, we can conclude that the citizens’ rights to local referenda have been observed very poorly over the recent years. The citizens initiating local referenda are subjected to constant violations of their rights and unable to fully implement all the procedures stipulate by the Law.
In our estimates, at least 15 local referenda should have taken place in 2009-2010; at least three did not happen because of the official opposition to them.
Let’s illustrate this statement with the most dramatic story, which shows the gravity of the problem and complete indifference of power with regards to public rights to referenda. This story started in Lviv oblast’ and lasted for three years.
In December 2007 residents of the villages Murovane and Soroky Lvivske, located in Lviv suburbs, decided at their general meeting to call a local referendum on early termination of village head term of office and village council dissolution. Another agenda issue was the prohibition of village land expropriation. Village head refused to register the task-force. On December 28 2007 the task force appealed this decision in court. The trial lasted for 7 months. Only on July 23, 2008 the raion court obliged the village head to register the task-force and issue an appropriate registration certificate.
The village head appealed the local court’s decision in Lviv administrative court of appeals. Nine months later, on April 2, 2009 Lviv administrative court of appeals passed the ruling in favor of the earlier court decision. Four months later, on August 31, 2009 Pustomyty raion department of justice submitted a motion to Pustomyty raion court on filing a criminal law-suit against the said village council head on the strength of article 382 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (failure to execute the court’s decision). Task force also filed the claim with the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office rejected the claim, as no petition from the state executive body, concerning the violations of article 382 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine was received by the office. The task force waited for the prosecutor’s office decision for several months.92
Therefore, despite the fact that the group had complied with all the requirements and met all the court procedures, it could never exercise its right to the local referendum.
We can argue that local referenda as the expression of direct democracy at the local level is now one of the risk zones due to substantial number of human rights’ violations in this area. In fact, there is no control over the adherence to this public right to direct democracy.
Years 2009-2010 became crucial in the context of adherence to electoral rights of the public. With deteriorating social and economic crisis, voters’ disappointment in the electoral institutes, change of power, the situation with regards to rights and freedoms seriously deteriorated in the course of elections.
The judiciary branch of power refused to take into consideration international recommendations concerning amendments to election law. The changes are introduced behind the scenes, without open public hearings. The law-makers are driven exclusively by political expediency in reforming election legislation.
The isolated facts of political corruption, use of law enforcement agencies to support certain political forces during election campaign, transformed, after the presidential elections, into common practice of using administrative, law enforcement and judicial resources for the benefit of the ruling political forces.
In late 2010 we witnesses dramatic restrictions in election process subjects’ rights, suppression of freedom of speech, violation of fundamental electoral rights of our citizens.
We have to conclude that the prevalent majority of recommendations from previous years have been disregarded by the authorities. That’s why, taking into account the experience of election campaigns of 2009 – 2010 we maintain that current legislation on elections and referenda does not comply with the internationally accepted standards, failing to meet the needs of elections’ organizers, election process subjects or voters, and became a source of voters’ rights violations.
The practice of discretional passing of new election laws on the eve of the coming voting, on the basis of political expediency and tactical advantages for the ruling majority is unacceptable.
That’s why the nearest task at hand is broad public discussion on all the disputable issues around the past election campaigns, summarizing the experience and adopting the election code, which would bring isolated and controversial election laws to uniformity.
It is important to involve not only politicians, but also the election process subjects, scholars and NGO specialists into drafting of the election code.
The election process norms, proposed for the election code, should be realistic. Combination of unrealistic legal provisions with incompetence of election committees’ members, who failed to implement these provisions, resulted in serious violations of electoral rights.
Establishing different dates, with some time between them, for different types of elections is a positive development, which should be strengthened at legislative level.
Restricting local observers’ rights is an error. They should be reinstated in their rights. An efficient public control is a reliable safeguard against violations of electoral rights.
Mechanism of appeals against violations of electoral rights needs further improvement. The election committees and courts should be forbidden to remand the complaints to election process subjects on technical grounds, if the essence of the matter is clear from the submitted claim.
The law-makers should devise an appropriate mechanism for supplying information on election campaign and voting results. This information should be available for all.
The restrictions imposed on mass media should be banned. Instead of serving exclusively as a campaigning instrument and showcase for political advertising, media should organize public dialogue, guide open public discussions and debates, involving election process subjects, cover socially significant topics.
The concept of “election break” should be strictly defined. The restriction of campaigning before election campaign is launched should be banned, as it is used as reprisal means. Campaigning on the voting day and on its eve, though, should remain forbidden.
CEC should be composed of professionals, selected for their competence and not for political affiliations. Thus it shall be a really independent body in charge of organizing electoral process, and not a hostage of political intrigue.
Circuit and district election committees should include professionals with relevant certification. Time frame for setting up an election committee should be sufficient for careful selection of its members. The term assigned for the preparation to voting should be prolonged. Election committees’ members’ wages should be significantly increased.
A pool of election committees’ professionals should be set up.
Current voting and vote-counting procedures are falsification-proof. However the workload of committees’ members exceeds physical capacities of an average human. So, it is expedient to consider the possibility of centralized vote-counting in the circuit election committees. The district election committees shall just ensure the due voting process, while the counting shall be done by qualified specialists, monitored by the election process subjects, public and mass media. Another option would be establishing work shifts for the election committees’ members.
Improvements in the State registry of voters are a positive phenomenon. It should be amended further. Besides, it is very important that the voters, who, for whatever reason, were not included into the lists, have an opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote on the strength of a court’s decision.
Due attention should be paid to the law enforcement agencies’ operation. Militia is not an election committees’ private guard or dutiful servant. Is should be aware of the voters’ rights and respect all the subjects of the electoral process.
The laws on referenda should be passed in the nearest future. All the referenda-related issues should be regulated by the law and not depend on the current political environment.
1 Prepared by D.Byely, Ukrainian voters’ committee, Kherson oblast’ branch
2 Monitoring mission OSCE/BDIHR reports, ENEMO reports, Ukrainian voters’ committee reports and “Support” NGO reports were used in this study, as well as Ukrainian Helsinki Union materials. Links: www.osce.org, www.enemo.eu, www.cvu.org.ua and www.opora.org.ua ,
3 See: European Commission for Democracy through Law. Code of good practice in electoral matters .– 2002 ð. http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2002/CDL-AD%282002%29023rev-ukr.pdf
4 See: OSCE/BDIHR mission Final report re Presidential elections in Ukraine January 17 and February 4, 2010.– Warsaw, April, 28, 2010 .
5 Ukrainian elections met the standards – international observers’ mission// Liberty radio, February 8, 2010 www.radiosvoboda.org
6 I.Popov: “In 4 years Ukraine failed to comply with the majority of international missions’ recommendations on elections”, February, 16, 2010 ð. cvu.org.ua
7 A.Duda “Yes to falsifications”. //Ukrainska Pravda – 2009 – August 5 , link www.pravda.com.ua
8 Potential threat to transparent and democratic elections. helsinki.org.ua
9 Joint opinion of European Commission “For democracy through law” (Venice Commission) and OSCE/BDIHR on the Law “On amending some laws regulating presidential elections in Ukraine” passed by the Supreme Rada on July 24, 2009, – Strasbourg, October, 12, 2009 , link: www.osce.org
10 Constitutional Court Decision ¹ 26-rp/2009 of October 19, 2009 zakon.rada.gov.ua
11 Ukrainian voters’ committee assessed the election campaign preceding repeated voting and identified main threats at the Presidential elections in Ukraine, February 7, 2010 – Ukrainian voters’ committee press-service– 2010 – February 5 . Link: cvu.org.ua
12 See: OSCE/BDIHR mission Final report, pp. 6 – 7
13 “Dzhynsa” — slang word, meaning deliberately hidden advertising or black PR, disguised as news, idependent information, analytical materials and programs, ads etc. – Wikipedia.
14 At 2010 elections mass media were used as a tool in politicians’ hands polit-kherson.info
15 See: OSCE/BDIHR mission Final report – pp. 18 – 19
16Ukrainian voters’ committee summarized the election campaign results and identified main threats at the Presidential elections on January , 17, 2010 http://www.cvu.dn.ua/news/399
17 See: OSCE/BDIHR mission Final report – pp. 11 – 12
18Code of good practice in electoral matters (guiding principles and explanatory report, adopted by Venice commission at 52 session in October 2002 – p. 5 www.venice.coe.int
20 Ukrainian voters’ committee: many committee’ members – all incompetent. BBC Ukraine, January 13, 2010.
21 See: OSCE/BDIHR mission Final report – pp/ 20 – 21
22 Ukrainian voters’ committee did not register serious violations at the extraordinary local elections on March 15, 2009 http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2189&lim_beg=285
23 Petition to the Procurator General “On filing criminal lawsuit against officials guilty of frustrating mayoral elections in Ismail” http://forumspaskiev.org.ua/databox/2010/08/18136.php
24 Odessa governor claims that order has been reestablished in Ismail UNIAN– August, 2 2010 http://www.unian.net/rus/news/news-389484.html
25 Extraordinary mayoral elections in Ismail failed http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2631&lim_beg=90
26 Materials, prepared by Ukrainian voters’ committee observers and “Support” NGO, news agencies and political parties’ reports, were used in this section.
27Observers disagree in their assessment of Ukrainian elections – Liberty Radio – November 2, 2010 www.radiosvoboda.org
28“Ukraine needs election code” – European observers Liberty Radio – November 1, 2010 www.radiosvoboda.org
29 “Support” NGO statement on local elections of October 31, 2010 opora.org.ua
30 Kherson oblast’ elections became a serious step back with respect to democratic electoral standards
31 Ukrainian voters’ committee is not going to legitimize all the disorder, registered on the voting day– November 2, 2010 cvu.org.ua
32 Reforming Ukrainian Law on local elections for the benefit of territorial communities: record of parliamentary hearing May 12, 2010 http://www.rada.gov.ua/zakon/new/par_sl/sl120510.htm
33 Staviychuk believes Ukraine is going back to soviet era– UNIAN –August 2 , 2010.
34 New law on local elections contains a number of risks – UNIAN –August 3 , 2010.
35 Ukrainian voters’ committee Head: at these elections everything looks even worse than before -UNIAN –July 11 , 2010
37Yanukovich “blessed” the change of rules of the games at the local elections UNIAN –September 1, 2010
38“Support” NGO statement on local elections of October 31, 2010 Web-page: opora.org.ua
39 Tymoshenko’s CEC speakers claim that party conflicts are its own problem. UNIAN –September 20 , 2010.
41 Support: Local elections: most serious violations, most significant threats
42 Local elections in Donetsk oblast’: preliminary assessment and outcomes– Ukrainian voters’ committee (Donetsk oblast’ branch) report October 15, 2010 ð.cvu.org.ua
43 Ukrainian voters’ committee (Kharkiv oblast’ branch) monitoring report on local elections in Kharkiv oblast’ in September 2010 – September, 30 2010 cvu.org.ua
44Oppositional politicians seek protection from local administrative resource with OSCE – Poliychna Khersonshchyna October 11, 2010 ð. http://polit-kherson.info/publication/politic/7624-2010-10-11-06-29-48.html
45 Ukrainian voters’ committee (Cherkassy oblast’ branch) monitoring report on preparations to local elections of October 31, 2010– Ukrainian voters’ committee official site – October 29, 2010.http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2786&lim_beg=15
46Ukrainian voters’ committee assessed that registration denials do not exceed 1% of total nominees’ number– October 13 2010 , http://www.helsinki.org.ua/index.php?print=1286969831
47 Ukrainian voters’ committee monitoring report on preparations to local elections of October 31, 2010Ç– October 11 , 2010 ð. cvu.org.ua
48 Yu.Tymoshenko’s open letter to V.Yanukovych with regards to the raiding of “Bat’kivshchyna” local branches - September 9, 2010 http://www.tymoshenko.ua/uk/article/uw6cvu8z
49 On large-scale violations committed in election campaign preceding local elections of October 31, 2010 – analytical report compiled by BYUT”Bat’kivshchyna” analysts - November 4, 2010, http://byut.com.ua/news/4041.html
50 Local elections in Donetsk oblast’… – cvu.org.ua
51 CEC ordered to register candidate Tyhypko in Yasynuvata - UNIAN –October 28 , 2010 www.unian.net
52 Ukrainian voters’ committee (Luhansk oblast’) monitoring report on preparations to local elections in September 2010 in Luhansk and oblast’ –October 11, 2010. cvu.org.ua
53 On large-scale violations in election campaign … – http://byut.com.ua/news/4041.html
54 Volodymyr Yavorsky: in preparation to election authorities collect data on everyone – Ukrainian Helsinki Union site– September 8, 2010 helsinki.org.ua
55 Local elections – 2010. Facts.Violations.Tendencise. – Ukrainian voters’ committee official site– October 14, 2010. cvu.org.ua
56 V.Taranenko. Kamyanets-Podilsky elections : when a vote doesn’t count. UNIAN –November 8, 2010. www.unian.net
57 Support: Local elections: most serious violations, most significant threats opora.org.ua
58 Local elections in Donetsk oblast’… cvu.org.ua
59 Odessa oblast’ – 32 days before elections – Ukrainian voters’ committee official site– September 29, 2010 cvu.org.ua
60 Odessa oblast’ on the eve of elections: campaign lessons and threats on the voting day. Ukrainian voters’ committee official site– October 29, 2010 http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2784&lim_beg=15
61 Ukrainian voters’ committee monitoring report on preparations to local elections in Kharkiv oblast, October 1-14, 2010
62 Ukrainian voters’ committee (Cherkassy oblast’ branch) long-term monitoring report http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2786&lim_beg=15
63On large-scale violations in election campaign http://byut.com.ua/news/4041.html
64 Local elections in Donetsk oblast’… cvu.org.ua
65 On large-scale violations in election campaign … byut.com.ua
66 In Volyn’ observers were banned fro palling station Volyn’sky novyny – October 31, 2010.
67 In Donets oblast’ election committees harassed a journalist and obstructed his work– “Support” official site– opora.org.ua
68 Current information on voting and electoral process violations in Donetsk oblast’– Ukrainian voters’ committee official site– October 31, 2010 http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2806&lim_beg=15
69In Uzhgorod TV reporter driven out of palling station – Ç²Ê – October 31, 2010 http://zik.com.ua/ua/news/2010/10/31/253458
70 Reporters are driven out of palling station – UNIAN – October 31, 2010 http://www.unian.net/ukr/news/news-403920.html
71 Yushchenko’s party saw attempts of large-scale falsifications –Ukrainska Pravda– October 31, 2010 http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2010/10/31/5530904/
72 In Nikolayev a journalist pushed out of palling station - Izbirkom– October 31, 2010 . http://izbirkom.od.ua/content/view/3089/45/
73 Odessa oblast’ – outcomes of the first month of elections: challenges and threats - Ukrainian voters’ committee official site– October 13, 2010 – http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2703&lim_beg=45
74 Odessa oblast’ on the eve of elections: campaign lessons and threats on the voting day. Ukrainian voters’ committee official site – October29, 2010 ð. http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2784&lim_beg=15
75 “Journalist’s ID is not a document” or how Odessa media were thrown out of palling stations Izbirkom http://izbirkom.od.ua/content/view/3141/45/
76 Ukrainian voters’ committee (Odessa oblast’ branch) statement– Ukrainian voters’ committee official site– October 31, 2010 . http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2802&lim_beg=15
77 In Kherson militia did not let Ukrainian voters’ committee observer to enter palling station. Politychna Khersonshchyna - October 31, 2010 http://polit-kherson.info/new/mistcevi-vibory/7774-2010-10-31-14-54-12.html
78 Ukrainian voters’ committee registers first violations at local elections - Ukrainian voters’ committee official site - October 31, 2010 http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2792&lim_beg=15
79 Ukrainian voters’ committee preliminary assessment of the outcomes of local elections in Ukraine on October 31, 2010 http://cvu.org.ua/?lang=ukr&mid=fp&id=2815&lim_beg=0
80 Kharkiv human rights’’ protection group statement with regards to mayor elections in Kharkiv– November 5, 2010 ð. helsinki.org.ua
81CEC disbanded Bila Tserkva election committee– UNIAN – December 7, 2010 http://www.unian.net/ukr/news/news-410188.html
82 Code of good practice … http://www.venice.coe.int/docs/2002/CDL-AD%282002%29023rev-ukr.pdf
83 I.Vedernykova “Gargoyle house” “Dzerkalo tyzhnya” ¹42 – November 13, 2010 #article
84 Unregistered candidates in Fastiv responded by picketing and rallying in front of election committee building – “Support” official site http://opora.org.ua/news.php?id=728
85“Support” NGO Interim report on the results of nationwide monitoring for the period of October10 – 28, 2010 ðîêó – “Support” official site http://opora.org.ua/news.php?id=744
86 Local elections 2010: shall the votes be recounted at the disputable palling station?– “Politychna Khersonshchyna” – December 2, 2010 polit-kherson.info
87 D.Ilchenko. An infinite story //Vecherny Kherson . Saturday – 2011 – ¹ 8 – January 29, 2011
88 Task forces formulated the questions concerning the referendum in different ways. Sometimes they looked like this: “1. Do you agree that the presidential elections procedure in Ukraine can be changed exclusively by passing the draft law on amending the Constitution of Ukraine by way of popular referendum, pursuant to which article 71 of the Constitution of Ukraine will look as follows: “Elections of the President of Ukraine, state power bodies and local self-governance bodies are free and held on the basis of general, equal and direct electoral right by means of secret ballot”? 2. Do you agree that the Supreme Rada and the President’s term of office, defined by the Constitution of Ukraine, cannot be prolonged otherwise than by means of popular referendum, pursuant to which article 6 of the Constitution of Ukraine shall be amended with part three reading as follows: “The Supreme Rada and the President’s of Ukraine term of office can be prolonged exclusively by popular referendum (except for the extraordinary situations and martial law) ? 3. Do you agree that the Constitution of Ukraine can be amended with article 156-1, reading as follows: “Draft law on amending the Constitution of Ukraine can be adopted directly by nationwide referendum on people’s initiative, which is announced by the President of Ukraine. The results of nationwide referendum on people’s initiative are compulsory for all and do not require any decisions or actions from public authorities or officials”?
Another scenario offered another version of questions offered for the nationwide referendum: “1.Do you approve (support) the new version of article 71 reading as follows:
«Elections of the President of Ukraine, People’s Deputies of Ukraine, members of Supreme council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, heads and members of local councils are free and held on the basis of general, equal and direct electoral right by means of secret ballot”?
2. Do you approve (support) part one of article 90 of the Constitution of Ukraine, reading as follows:
“Terms of reference of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine are terminated on the day of the beginning of the first meeting of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine of new convocation. The term of office of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine can be prolonged only in case of extraordinary situation or martial law”?
3. Do you approve (support) part two of article 154 of the Constitution of Ukraine, reading as follows:
“Changes and amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine can be adopted directly by nationwide referendum. Changes and amendments, adopted by such referendum, are compulsory for all and do not require any decisions or actions from public authorities or officials”?
89 CEC Resolution ¹ 213 of October 29, 2009 www.cvk.gov.ua
90 Orobets’ : Legitimizing local referenda will empower citizens and balance power structure – Lesya Horobets’ official site – June11, 2010 – http://orobets.org.ua/ukr/politika/orobets-unormuvannya-mistsevih-referendumiv-dodast-gromadyanam-vladi-a-vladi-balansu-6
91 Local referenda in Ukraine: theoretical and legal aspects: round table materials – Kiev, 2009 –p.6.
92 Murovane and Soroky communities (Lviv oblast’) defend their right to referendum Yurist NGO site http://www.lawngo.net/index.php?itemid=1372