The Impact of Violations of Election Law on the Parliamentary Election Outcome in Ukraine

Nov 19th, 2012 | By | Category: Election 2012, Ukraine

Kyiv. November 19, 2012. A summary press conference of “Maidan Monitoring: Election 2012” project was held at the UNIAN agency.

 Viktor Garbar, the project coordinator, presented the stats. He informed that the Interactive map of election violations had 1632 reports added before the date of election results announcement November 12. Total number of reports received by the workgroup was 7062. On the day of voting October 28 the team received the biggest number of reports – 524, 181 of which were added to interactive map (only verified reports with photos and video evidence were added). 92 more reports were added after the voting when the votes were counted.

 

Most common violations reported were the agitation order violations, administrative pressure, and bribery of voters, fraud and faults in election commissions functioning.

Most violations were reported from Kyiv city, and the regions of Odesa, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv, Ternopil, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk and Zhytomyr. There are violation reports mapped from 421 locations of Ukraine.

Main reasons of brutally dirty election campaign and absurd bacchanalia of counting of votes were:

  • The election law itself, the law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” and the law “On Peculiarities of Openness, Transparency and Democratic Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine October 28, 2012”
  • Actions and inaction of Central Election Commission, district election commission and local election commissions
  • Unlawful interference of local government authorities in the electoral process
  • Actions and inaction of Ministry of Interior

The introduction of web cameras at the polling stations led to decrease in turnout which was the lowest ever in Ukraine. The way these cameras were set up and used led to conclusion that 1 billion hryvnas ($125.000.000) were spent not for the sake of transparency of election.

 

Viktor Pushkar, social psychologist, project expert summed up the factors that had most impact on the voters’ decisions:

  1. Economical and psychological pressure, coercion to “vote right”
  2. Bribery of voters
  3. Obstruction of agitation of opposition candidates and parties
  4. Lack of information about majority candidates
  5. Video surveillance at the polling stations

 

For the first time since the technologies of mass bribery of voters were used they did not work in full, in 2012 the candidates who used bribery in their campaign become the objects of social condemn. In the capital city Kyiv where mass bribery was used to win before (reminiscence of Kyiv major election in 2007), this time bribery worked against those who employed it and even a less known candidate could win over a well-known personality with negative ratings induced by the bribery.

Lots of people who were under influence of administrative pressure made the first step from pathological obedience to normal civic consciousness. Part of them refused to vote, however 43% of citizens of Ukraine who refused to vote could be the future electorate of several yet inexistent parties.

Ukrainian people voted not only for conservators, radicals, extremists and populists that will be present in the new Parliament. They also voted for the preservation of political diversity in Ukraine, against monopolization of power by one group. They also voted for the sake of the future – so our votes at the next election would count, and preferably more than this time.

 

Olexander Severyn, doctor of law, project legal expert elaborated that the freedom of election, freedom of voters’ will is the fundamental imperative that defines whether the state is the free democracy as opposed to managed democracy.

This freedom has three components:

  1. Free voters’ choice
  2. Free voting
  3. Fair and transparent accounting of voters’ choice (without which we cannot even speak of election)

 

During thу electionthe activities that are prohibited by the law and that obstruct the free choice and free voting (bribery, fraud, coercion, violence, etc.) were wide spread and not punished. Post-Soviet society that consists of poor, poorly informed, easily manipulated electorate, and is very vulnerable to systemic bribery, fraud and administrative pressure. Because of conditions created by the state  or tolerated by the state, the voters’ will had been subjected to deformational impact on various stages of election – since the agitation to counting the votes.

Could we say the election was free under these conditions? Hardly…

  


“Maidan-Monitoring: Election 2012” project is implemented by Civic Information and Methodology Center “Vsesvit”. It is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation. The project is not affiliated with any political party or candidate. We map the violations of electoral law submitted by any party or candidate if it meets the project requirements – video or photo evidence, background check and is evaluated by our lawyers as possible violation. Read more about the project.

 

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