Surreal battle of old and new members at Donetsk electoral commission
The Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] and OPORA report that the scandal over Donetsk oblast electoral district No. 59 is continuing. Members of the district electoral commission [DEC] who managed to get their powers reinstated by the court are now blocking the commission’s work.
DEC No. 59 in Velyka Novosilka [Donetsk oblast] has not been working since Oct 29. CVU and OPORA reported on that date that some members of the commission were ignoring meetings of the DEC and thus preventing the vote count from the parliamentary elections on Oct 26. At that stage around 75 protocols out of 111 had been processed, with some sent for clarification.
The election watchdogs reported that the commission was working in an extremely tense atmosphere with conflict permanently arising between representatives of different political parties. The conflict was mainly between two single mandate candidates, Valentin Manko and Serhiy Sazhko.
CVU and OPORA had earlier warned that the turnout in particular polling stations seemed abnormally high, suggesting vote-rigging. After the voting observers also saw cases where ballot papers were thrown into the ballot box. One of the observers was present at polling station No. 140089 when one of the precinct election commission members put ballot papers into the box while it was being opened.
On Oct 30 the Central Election Commission replaced three members of the commission, including the head. This appears to have angered other members and that same day nine members decided to move their meetings to Kyiv, going there effectively under police guard. On Oct 31 the Central Election Commission suspended the nine members, five of whom then appealed against their suspension and were reinstated by the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal.
The election watchdogs report that on Thursday morning the ‘new’ members of the commission appointed by the CEC began working but then the ‘old’ members of the commission arrived and blocked the commission’s work, stopping the meeting from continuing.
The Central Election Commission has lodged a cassation appeal with the High Administrative Court against the ruling of the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal which on Nov 3 reinstated the five suspended members of the district election commission.