Old dodgy tactics again in parliamentary re-runs
One month into the election campaign for the parliamentary re-runs in five problem constituencies, the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] is already pointing to a lack of lack on election commissions and a surfeit of technical candidates
In its report the CVU states that the Central Election Commission is carrying out its activities transparently and in accordance with legislation. It notes however that during the draw and formation of district election commissions [DEC] the recommendations given by Ukrainian and international observers following the 2012 parliamentary elections were not properly taken into account.
“Although the registration process at time of publication is continuing, we can already report widespread practice of registration of “technical candidates”. The situation is particularly abnormal in electoral districts no. 94 and no. 223. CVU considers that the aim of registering such a number of candidates is to get a majority via their quotas on precinct election commissions [PEC].
Practice shows that after the PEC have been formed, a considerable number of technical candidates will be removed from the registration list. If this does not happen, the printing of the ballot papers will be made much more difficult, together with the work of the election commissions on the eve of or on election day, and the vote count with this resulting in a “technical” disruption of the election process in these districts”.
All 5 district electoral commissions began work on time, however CVU writes that the way they were formed, changes in their makeup, and particular characteristics and the former activities of many members of the DEC give grounds for doubting their political impartiality and do not inspire public trust.
CVU also notes widespread practice at such electoral districts of so-called doubles, people with names that are either completely or almost identical, or names similar to those of well-known politicians. This technique can be seen as obstruction, preventing voters from making an informed choice.
CVU points out that many members of the DEC in the 5 districts were on commissions, even the same commissions during last year’s elections. Members of the DEC whose initial activities are of concern were previously on commissions representing the Party of the Regions or technical parties associated with it. “It was specifically their activity or failure to act during the vote-count in 2012 which was one of the reasons for the results being cancelled in those districts”,
It notes that the process for putting forward candidates was largely non-transparent. There are grounds for believing that all except VO Svoboda held congresses “on paper”, without real delegates actually attended.
CVU criticises the norm on parliamentary elections which does not establish equal timeframes for putting forward candidates put forward by parties and those putting their own candidacy forward.
It also points out that there were attempts to bribe voters in October in election district No. 194. There were a number of occasions when people were offered money for supporting one specific, as yet unregistered, candidate – Valentina Zhukovska. She denies any involvement and has herself approached the Prosecutor’s Office..