On July 4, the court decided to hold the draw again. The fact is that the Central Election Commission has previously included Mikheil Saakashvili’s party New Forces’ Movement in the list, without re-drawing - but simply putting his party in last place. This is absolutely illegal.
However, the CEC and the Servant of the People party criticized the verdict and said that it could disrupt the elections. They said that the process of printing newsletters has already begun, and that the “process has been launched.” And promised to appeal the decision in the coming days.
But in fact, the new draw does not carry any threats to the election. And the authorities shy away from it so that the party projects of Igor Kolomoisky could get more votes - and took the electorate away from the main competitor of the Servant of the People - the Opposition Platform.
Since the court decision on July 4, the scandal has been overgrown with new details.
Who is responsible for the false start with the ballots?
One of the main technical issues raised by the CEC in connection with the re-draw is the launching process of printing ballots.
According to the Central Election Commission, more than seven million of them have already been printed - and these are the party bulletins, not the majority ones.
The speed with which the CEC works is, of course, commendable. But here the commission strongly hurried. Even before July 8, parties and candidates have the right to withdraw from the elections. And until July 10, the electoral commission, according to the same schedule, may deny their registration.
Thus, simple logic dictates that it’s not necessary to start typing ballots before these dates - there are a few candidates who might get out of the election race. After all, then the ballots will have to be reprinted - and this is an extra expenditure of budget funds. That can be easily turned into a criminal case for embezzlement.
Apparently, therefore, a conflict between the members of the CEC after the decision of the court began.
As a source at the Central Election Commission told, two people took the decision to print the ballots early - CEC head Tetiana Slipachuk and her deputy Yevgen Radchenko.
At the same time, some CEC members did not agree with this decision.
The party New Forces Movement of Mikheail Saakashvili was illegally put on the last place in the ballot without a draw and, nevertheless, Slipachuk and Radchenko insisted to start printing. And the process was not stopped even despite the decision of the Court of Appeal, the source says. Literally everyone said that with this would bring them under the article for embezzlement of budgetary funds. But executives did not want to listen.
The source noted that he hadn’t seen printed millions of bulletins with lists of parties. And the CEC does not really know exactly what they have already printed - lists of parties or majoritarian candidates.
“Perhaps there are lists of majoritarian candidates, and perhaps in other quantities. But Slipachuk ordered everyone to say that they printed out the ballots with party lists. Now she has hysterics. She does not understand what to do now,” the source said.
Nevertheless, the ballots apparently continue to be printed - even contrary to the decision of the court to change the order of the parties.
So, on July 4, commenting on the court decision, Tetiana Slipachuk said that more than 5 million electoral forms had already been printed. And the next day, her deputy Yevgen Radchenko said that there were already more than 7 million of them.
That is, either the officials simply differ in figures, or the printing continued after the verdict to hold a new draw. That already is an embezzlement of budgetary funds.
“At the presidential elections in 2019, the CEC printed ballots after April 7. That is, less than 14 days before the second round of elections on April 21. Therefore, there’s enough time for printing now. Their actions can be qualified under Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code as embezzlement committed on a particularly large scale - imprisonment from 7 to 12 years and with confiscation of property ", said the source in power structures.
Former Justice Minister Olena Lukash, who is an expert on electoral law, told how the ballots are actually printed and whether the authorities will have time to prepare them for the election date - July 21.
According to her, 63 611 464 ballots will be printed before the election. The cost of the whole process is 282 million hryvnias.
She also clarified that the deadline for printing, as stated in the tender documentation, is set to date July 21, that is, on election day.
The Minister added, despite the voiced figures from 5 to 8 million printed ballots, according to her data, there were printed much less. Also, the lawyer said that their delivery is planned only on Sunday, July 7, that is, two weeks for the elections.
According to Lukash, a reprint of even 11% of the ballots (7 million out of 64) will not disrupt the elections. At the same time, it will harm the state budget.
She also explained why a new draw was needed:
“There will be a decision of the Supreme Court - there will be a draw. But this is not the case. The law says in black and white that the“ ballot paper for voting in the state district has the names of the parties in the order of their numbers, determined by the draw by the Central Election Commission ” "No options. We needed a draw. You see? We needed it. And the CEC members knew that the hearings are ongoing. Those CEC members who ignored it and ignore it until now - and there are accomplices in attempts to disrupt the elections."
Anotherstory is the case with the unwitting culprit of all these movements: Mikheil Saakashvili.
Everything began after the court returned his party to the elections at the end of June. But due to the fact that New Forces Movement was included in the list without drawing, a scandal with the reprinting of ballots began.
Against this background, the election fate of Saakashvili himself, who risks being thrown out of the list of his own party, is interesting.
The fact is that Saakashvili received a Ukrainian passport on May 30, 2015. That is, the last five years he was not a citizen of Ukraine.
On the other hand, he lived in Ukraine with varying success since the end of 2013, having first appeared on December 7 at Maidan. That is, even a little more than five years. However, from February 2018 to May 2019 he was absent in Ukraine.
In general, the situation is controversial. And now there are attempts to remove Saakashvili from the elections.
On Saturday, July 6, the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal considered the claim of the Party of Pensioners to the CEC on the legality of registering the ex-president of Georgia as a candidate for MP.
According to the Party of Pensioners, Saakashvili did not continuously live in Ukraine for 5 years as its citizen, which is a requirement for a candidate.
However, this is not all.
That is - a serious struggle is unfolding in order to stop the re-draw in any way.