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Focus on Ukraine, January 11-17, 2010

January 18, 2010
Focus on Ukraine, January 11-17, 2010
 

Overview of political events of the week

 
January 11
 

Vice Chairman of the Central Election Commission Zhanna Usenko-Chorna stated there is a probability of falsification of the elections. She said the fact that the CEC permitted voting station commissions to include additional surnames in the lists only upon the request of citizens without any affiliation with the place of registration creates the possibility for vote rigging, which international observers will not take to kindly to.

As a reminder, earlier foreign organizations advised recommended that the parliament ban changes to voters’ lists on voting day as they would allow for casting a vote in several voting stations. Fortunately, the country’s lawmakers failed to introduce these changes.

 

Today is the last day for registration of international observers of the Presidential Election on January 17.

The Central Election Commission registered more than 3,000 international observers, but at the same time did not register more than 2,000 observers from Georgia. The CEC was short of one vote to approve this decision. In addition to that, the CEC informed that Ukrainians will vote at the presidential elections in 25 countries of the world.

 

Yulia Tymoshenko announced that her faction will assess the emergency session of the Verkhovna Rada to discuss the decisions of the CEC in accordance with which people are allowed to vote from home on January 17 simply by submitting a request in writing. The candidate for president feels this novelty could lead to gross falsification.

 

The State Security Service registered several incidents of members of district and voting station commissions in the oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk being bought off. They were bribed to deem the voting results invalid. Another method of vote rigging is including so-called doubles on voter lists.

 

The Central Election Commission informed that this year’s lists of Ukrainian voters are of the highest quality in the history of elections in the country.

A national registry of voters was created for the first time. Earlier local bodies of government traditionally compiled the lists using their own money. Today the formation of lists is financed from the national budget.

The CEC also informed that the preparations of this year’s elections were fully financed. The government allocated more than UAH 900 million for holding the presidential elections on Sunday, January 17.

 
January 12
 

Members of the parliament will convene on January 13 at an emergency session of the Verkhovna Rada. 163 legislators of the Party of Regions and 151 from the BYuT proposed to convene.

 

The results of research conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation show that more than three-fourths of Ukrainians are not willing to sell their vote at the elections.

Some people responded that they are prepared to sell their vote for any money, though they constitute a mere 2%. Almost 6% of the respondents said they are prepared to haggle, while 13% of the surveyed said they are ready to accept a bribe if they are offered money by the canvassers of the candidate they had planned to vote.

 

President Yushchenko announced at his pre-election press conference at which he was scheduled to sum up his five years in office that Ukraine risks losing its democratic achievements.

Be that as it may, for two and half hours Yushchenko spoke not as the residing head of state, rather as a candidate for the president’s office. He recently criticized the government, the parliament, the opposition and certain politicians, among whom Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovych got the brunt of his criticism.

 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has already filed 20 criminal cases of falsification of the elections. The MIA reported that it received more than 1,500 reports of petty crimes such as arson, larceny and robbery from all over Ukraine.

In addition, canvassing materials were illegally printed, attempts have been made to buy off voters and steal official seals from voting stations.

 
January 13  
 

Parliamentarians convened for an emergency session proposed by members of the BYuT and Party of Regions. The members of BYuT wanted to discuss the decision of the CEC allowing people to vote at home by written request. It was proposed that a medical referral confirming that a voter is physically unable to go to a voting station.

In addition to that, the issues of a revised draft of the national budget for this year and the government’s report of the situation with people ailing from the H1N1 flu were on the parliament’s agenda.

 

The Verkhovna Rada will not approve a single decision regarding the 2010 National Budget. Acting Minister of Finance Ihor Umanskiy, who presented the draft budget, proposed reviewing the document presented in the parliament last year that was returned to the Cabinet of Ministers for revision. When members of the Party of Regions failed to agree to this, Vice Speaker Oleksandr Lavrynovych closed the matter for review.

 

Yulia Tymoshenko stated at a meeting of the government that mass falsifications are planned during the elections. First and foremost is voting from home without documented confirmation of voters’ state of health. Tymoshenko accused the Party of Regions of preparing falsification.

 

Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation Ilko Kucheriv announced that the organizers of the National Exit Poll have raised one third of the funds they planned for conducting the poll. Funds were contributed by international organizations, certain politicians and average Ukrainian citizens.

Among the candidates for president that are contributors to the exit poll are Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Mykhailo Brodsky, Yuriy Kostenko, Oleksandr Moroz, Serhiy Tyhypko and Oleh Tyahnybok. It is anticipated that the other candidates for president will make contributions.

Over the time the public campaign for support of the National Exit Poll has been conducted at total of UAH 236,000 have been contributed (approximately US $30,000). A total of UAH 844,000 (US $105,000) are needed to conduct polling in the second round of the elections.

 

The Kyiv District Administrative Court fully satisfied the claim of Kyiv City Hall by banning mass demonstrations on Maidan Nezalezhnosti during the elections.

The ban lasts from January 9 to February 5.

As a reminder, earlier the Party of Regions, the Batkivshchyna bloc, the Svoboda union and a number of non-government organizations submitted requests to city hall for holding demonstrations.

The Party of Regions announced that starting January 18 it plans to gather its supporters on Maidan, European Square, Mykhailivska Square and Sofiyivska Square.

 

President Viktor Yushchenko warned at a meeting with the heads of oblast state administrations dedicated to preparations for the elections that a breakdown of the elections is planned for Election Day at voting stations in a number of regions.

The president explained that due to a shortage of funds to finance the election process members of election commissions are being instigated to not show up for work at voting stations on the day of the elections.

 
January 14     
   

A session of the Verkhovna Rada was disrupted. After the members of the BYuT refused to review changes to the election laws as the first order of the day they left the session hall.

Members of the Party of Regions continued to review the issue on the agenda, but they were short of the quorum needed to pass a decision. The session was closed.

 

BYuT said it plans to review amendments to the Law on Election of the President next week in order to make amendments to the law before the second round of the presidential elections.

 

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko called on the international community to interfere in and prevent violations during voting. The premier said in Donetsk every 10th voter is ready to vote outside voting stations. The Party of Regions called this a lie and a provocation.

Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko also announced that violations have been registered in the eastern and southern regions of the country. Lutsenko warned that voting more than once in one day is punishable by 2 years in prison.

 
January 15
 

Ukraine can bank on the next tranche of the IMF loan after the presidential elections. Head of theIMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn promised that the fund will renew cooperation with Ukraine after the presidential elections are over.

 

The international organization CIS EMO began its short-term observer mission during the presidential elections in Ukraine.

A total of 250 observers from Poland, France, Russia, Germany, Kirghizstan, Belarus, Moldova and Armenia will work with the mission’s framework. The mission plans to publicly announce its conclusions of the course of voting on Monday, January 18 around 15:00.

 
January 16
 

The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) appealed to the Ukrainian Banking Association and the Kyiv Banking Union with a request to caution Ukrainian banks to watch for payments of bribes for falsification during the elections.

The law enforcers warned banks to not provoke criminals that deprive Ukrainians of freely voting in the elections by illegal financial trickery.             

January 17
 

Today,Ukraineelecteditspresident.Asof 20:00 the Central Election Commission reported that nearly 67% of voters showed up at voting stations.

The Ternopil, Lviv, Rivne and Donetsk oblasts had the highest appearance with nearly 70% of the voters showing up. Though the CEC did not register and systemic violations during voting, it predicts that the results of the will of the people will in any case be appealed in the courts.

According to date of the National Exit Poll 2010 organized by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and the Razumkov Centre, the head of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych leads the way in the presidential elections with 31.3% of the votes. Yulia Tymoshenko is in second place with 27.1% of the votes.

Serhiy Tihipko closes out the top three leaders with 13.4% of the votes. The other candidates garnered the following votes: Arseniy Yatsenyuk – 7.8%, Viktor Yushchenko – 6.0%, Petro Symonenko – 2.7%, Oleh Tyahnybok – 2.1%, Volodymyr Lytvyn – 1.7% and Anatoliy Hrytsenko – 1.6%.

The remaining candidates took 1.9% of the votes. 2.7% of the voters did not support a single candidate. A total of 12,349 respondents were polled at 240 voting stations.


Deputy Chair of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine Vitaliy Teslenko said at a press conference the elections will be acknowledged as they took place.

 


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