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Sham candidates: who are they and why do we need them

Author : 112.UA 112.UA

Apparently, not all presidential candidates want to win
13:20, 31 March 2019

Sham candidates in Ukrainian elections
112.international

The number of registered candidates, running for the presidency in Ukraine, is increasing greatly. There are even more of those, who claimed they would run but have not registered in the Central Election Commission of Ukraine yet. Not all of the candidates, however, are intended to win.

So-called “dummy candidates” are part of all elections, so they are likely to participate in the coming Ukrainian presidential elections as well. Who are those dummy candidates, why do we need them and how to identify them?

Who are those dummy candidates?

Dummy candidates are those who do not aim to win elections. That’s right, you can find such candidates in a ballot paper, who don’t even think about winning the elections. Nevertheless, they have another role to play.  

There are three types of dummy candidates.

The first one is called spoilers. Spoilers gain votes from their running mates in one constituency. Spoilers have usually similar presidential programs to the ones front-runners have, they are more oriented on the target audience. Spoiler’s aim is to gain at least 2-3% of votes from the candidates, who are intended to win. Besides, spoilers often want to mislead electorate, for example, they use the same or similar surname or the name of the party as front-runners.

The second type is called "torpedo" due to their behavior. Such candidates usually agitate not for themselves, but against someone else. It does not suit for the front-runners to flay and vilify other candidates or to spread rumors about them, this task belongs to the dummy candidates. They are very good at shouting, stomping loudly with their feet or, when needed, slamming the door.

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The third type of such candidates are responsible for counting votes and initiating the court suit, when “inappropriate” candidate wins. They control and count votes in electoral commissions. It is very significant for the front-runners to have at their side not only their representatives or observers, but also other figures.  

Not all candidates with little votes are dummy

Not all the candidates, who have not gained the needed number of votes, are called dummy ones.

The majority of running candidates do not have great support from the electorate, so they pursue another goal – to remind about themselves. Otherwise, people will forget about them. If they do not participate in loud scandals or fights in the session hall, they will be out of office and their career will end straight away.  

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Often such candidates do not have innovative or breakthrough programs, unexpected promises, and they do not spend so much money, as those, who indeed want to win. Candidates, who just want to make an appearance, do not need to win at all. The agitation opportunities, provided for by the law, TV-appearances, and front-pages of newspapers are more than enough to remind about yourself.

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