CVU warms of heavy pressure on election commission heads
Oleksandr Chernenko, head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] has spoken of the methods which pro-Russian militants are applying to deter heads of district election commissions in eastern regions from taking part in the elections.
“They’re detained, subjected to psychological pressure so that they give up their role in organizing the elections and freed.”
He told the BBC Ukrainian Service how the head of No. 44 electoral district was abducted by militants on Monday. She was freed that evening.
There have been other attacks on DEC. Chernenko mentions that the head of DEC 106 was abducted and taken to the SBU building. During the night they broke down the doors of DEC 105 and went to the home of the head of that DEC, but did not find him at home.
As of May 20, all DEC heads have been released.
With respect to whether the intimidation has worked, Chernenko says that there has been one case in the Luhansk oblast where after being abducted, the head of the DEC is not getting in touch. In the Donetsk oblast there have been no such cases.
The Central Election Commission also confirms difficulties in both the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. Deputy Head of the CEC Andriy Mahera notes that at present only 26% of polling stations have received voter lists in the Donetsk region. In the Luhansk oblast the situation is even worse with only 16% have their voter lists.
In the other oblasts all election commissions have received their lists.
Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov believes that it is already impossible to hold the voting properly in several regions. He points out that some election stations in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts have been attacked, and some members and heads of commissions have been abducted. He stresses, however, that not holding the elections at certain precincts does not mean that the elections in general won’t happen.