ELECTION UPDATE: DIRTY TRICKS, PLAYING THE SYSTEM AND THE DASH FOR PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY

14.10.12


Elections 1

As we go into the last two weeks of the election campaign, we can expect more commentary and analysis of the Ukrainian electoral system and the fairness (or not) of the election campaign.

From the EU, Baroness Ashton and Stefan Fule issued a joint statement which said that, "The parliamentary elections to be held on 28 October will be a litmus test of Ukraine’s democratic credentials," and they called on the government to work closely with the OSCE mission to ensure that the elections were conducted in line with international standards. At the same time, they highlighted concerns about inequalities in the balance of media coverage, a lack of transparency in the work of the Central Electoral Commission and lack of clarity of representation on local electoral committees - all of which needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Finally, without mentioning Yuliya Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko by name, they expressed their continuing regret, "that the consequences of trials which did not respect international standards are preventing opposition representatives from standing in parliamentary elections.”

MEP Marek Siwiec has been more outspoken, saying that he is 'stunned' by the political tricks that the ruling party is using to ensure they win at the polls. This includes the number of 'technical' candidates standing in the single-member constituencies - up to 20 in some - who are there to split the opposition vote, and who sometimes have a very similar name to the opposition candidate to confuse voters. He also highlighted the inaction and bias of the courts in dealing with violations of electoral law against opposition candidates.

Finally, we commend this article by journalist Mykola Riabchuk, which analyses the current electoral system in Ukraine, which is not only stacked in favour of the ruling party, but also wide open to abuse. He too looks at the number of candidates in the single-member constituencies - particularly the number of businessmen who are standing, and concludes that the driving force behind their ambitions to be a parliamentary deputy is not a desire to serve their constituents or the nation, but the benefit of parliamentary immunity from prosecution which allows them to further their business interests with impunity. However, he also sees some cause for optimism in the high ratings being achieved by Vitaliy Klitschko's Udar party and the agreements now being reached between Udar and the United Opposition in some areas which will prevent the opposition vote being split.



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