One of Ukraine’s richest men wins Sevastopol by-elections
Both main election watchdogs – OPORA and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] point to a number of infringements of legislation and international standards in Sunday’s by-election for 224 single mandate election district No. 224, but do not believe the infringements distorted the outcome.
The turnout was extremely low – OPORA puts it at 23.89%, against over 50% at the October parliamentary elections.
Vadim Novinsky is from Russia, but has apparently lived in Ukraine for 5 years, and last year obtained Ukrainian citizenship. Media reports put him in the top ten richest people in Ukraine.
He was a formally independent candidate (put himself forward) at the elections, and won against Vasyl Parkhomenko, the Communist Party candidate.
CVU Head Oleksandr Chernenko told Interfax Ukraine that during preparations for the elections the makeup of election commissions was lacking in balance and there were also infringements during election campaigning. He adds that neither deputies nor journalists were allowed into polling stations during the vote count.
“The right results reached the district election commissions, but with infringements of procedure”. He calls for all such cases to be examined and avoided in future.
OPORA’s statement says that overall the elections were in accordance with legislation, but it also notes infringements.
These included a number of cases where voters were not properly informed about the candidates on Election Day and improper posting of billboards.
It expresses concern over the role of the State Administration on Emergencies in gathering information about how the voting was going since this is not its assigned role.
Other grounds for concern included “actions not within the law by members of the authorities and election commissions”. It mentions:
Information gathered by the State Administration on Emergencies on participation / non-participation (turn-out), this not being part of its job;
Members of the precinct election committees throughout Election Day on a large scale noted in documents with a form not established by the CEC information about citizens who had not yet come to the polling station (including with information about where they live). OPORA adds that the committee members concealed this information and refused to provide any explanation. It calls on the law enforcement bodies and election participants to carry out a detailed investigation, on the basis of video surveillance footage of such actions. The investigation should establish whether the information thus noted was passed to third parties in order to illegally mobilize voters or organize using the votes of people who had not turned up.