Record number of candidates – and clones – in problem constituencies
As of Nov 14 189 candidates had registered for the elections in 5 single mandate election districts where the Central Election Commission stated a year ago that it could not establish the winners. The CEC are now saying that they will need more money to deal with the huge number of candidates, and the likelihood is high that not all candidates who withdraw before the elections will have withdrawn written next to their names on the ballot paper. This, in fact, is likely to be one of the aims behind many of the “technical candidates”.
Two electoral districts in particular have broken all records. At present there are 66 candidates for No. 223 (Kyiv) and 82 for No. 94 (Obukhiv, Kyiv oblast)
A particularly cynical ploy where candidates with names similar to popular candidates are registered used in previous elections is being applied with a vengeance in these elections. There are at present, for example, three candidates called Yury Levchenko registered for No. 223 (Kyiv) where VO Svoboda candidate Yury Levchenko competed with officially independent candidate Viktor Pylypyshyn at the 2012 parliamentary elections. There will also be two Viktor Pylypyshyns.
The election watchdog OPORA estimates that the confusion caused by doubles can deprive real candidates of up to 3% of the votes.
The re-elections were, however, demanded by the EU as part of the election conditions for the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and are now set for 15 December. One candidate, Viktor Romanyuk, will be standing from Italy where he has been living since very questionable criminal proceedings were initiated against him following the elections (see Win the elections or end up imprisoned?)
Other concerns following the first month of the election campaign have been expressed by the Committee of Voters of Ukraine (see: Old dodgy tactics again in parliamentary re-runs