Party of the Regions less than clean mayoral sweep
Sunday’s preterm elections resulted in all six cities involved gaining Party of the Regions Mayors. While the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] and OPORA both reported infringements in other places as well, two cities – Yalta and Vasylkiv – were of particular Observers reported vote rigging; voters being brought to polling stations; ballot papers being thrust into the ballot boxes; issue of ballot papers to unidentified individuals; notes being made in the voter lists by members of the commissions; as well as the removal of journalists and observers.
On 2 June 117 places in Ukraine saw preterm elections for city, town or village heads. Six cities held mayoral elections: Yalta; Alchevsk (Luhansk oblast); Berehove (Transcarpathian oblast); Voznesensk (Mykolaiv oblast) and Novodnistrovsk (Chernivtsi oblast).
Both Kyiv and Ternopil are due mayoral elections, but the Constitutional Court last week effectively allowed elections in these two cities to be postponed until October 2015.
Two cities are of major concern.
The Head of the CVU Crimean branch Andriy Krysko reported brazen vote rigging involving packages of ballot papers being thrust into ballot boxes, with journalists and observers being ejected from the relevant polling stations.
Later on Monday in response to claims by the head of the Party of the Regions headquarters Serhiy Karnaukha that CVU had only observed the voting at one polling stations, CVU issued a statement. It said that it had all the proof required both of its observers present at various polling stations and of vote rigging.
269 ballot papers from 18 polling stations simply disappeared. Given the tight race and very small gap between the Party of the Regions and UDAR candidates, this loss of 3.2% of the votes is vital. A parallel vote count carried out by observers found that the gap between the two leading candidates was only 240 votes (i.e. less than the number which disappeared).
As reported, CVU Head Oleksandr Chernenko said that procedural infringements might have affected the results of the elections and stressed the need for the police to investigate all reports of irregularities.