Ukraine's local elections: Vote buying, trashing of voting stations, smoke bombs

Author : Volodymyr Pylypenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Bloc of Petro Poroshenko wins the majority of the votes in elections to united territorial communities
09:10, 31 October 2017

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In Ukraine, the largest first local elections took place. October 29, 201 united territorial communities (UTO) in all regions of the country elected deputies of village, town and city councils and the heads of the councils.

According to the CEC, these 201 UTO included 933 local councils.

In particular, in Vinnytsia region elections were held in 9 joint territorial communities, Volyn region - in 19, Dnipropetrovsk region - in 19, Donetsk region - in 2, Zhytomyr region - in 13, Transcarpathian region - in one UTO, Zaporizhia region - in 10, Ivano-Frankivsk region - in 8, Kiyiv region - in 4, Kirovograd region - in 6, Lugansk region - in 4, Lviv region - in 8, Mykolayiv region - in one UTO, Odesa region - in 11, Poltava region - in 12, Rivne region - in 5, Sumy region - in 9, Ternopil region - in 4, Kharkiv region - in 7, Kherson region - in 10, Khmelnytsky region - in 7, Cherkasy region - in 14, Chernivtsi region - in 4, Chernigov region - in 14 UTOs.

More than 4,500 territorial single-mandate electoral districts were created for holding of elections by territorial election commissions. People voted at almost 2 thousand polling stations, from 8:00 to 20:00.

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The CEC was expecting that over 1.33 million people, that is, about 4% of all Ukrainian voters, could take part in the elections. However, according to the NGO Opora, turnout was 48.2% of the total number of voters.

In general, more than 2.11 million USD were spent on the organization of elections.

As noted in the National Police, on Election Day law enforcement officers worked in a strengthened regime. More than 4 thousand police officers provided security of the voters.

"In total, in the framework of this electoral process, 207 reports were sent to the bodies of the National Police on various events, of which 136 were on the day of the elections, the overwhelming majority of reports were related to the violation of election campaigning and bribery of voters," the department reported.

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Now the police have opened 10 criminal proceedings: four of them - on the facts of bribery of voters, two - on the facts of illegal use of ballots, as well as deliberate destruction or damage to property, one more - for causing minor injuries and impeding legal professional activities of a journalist.

Unfortunately, the police do not specify exactly where the facts of voter bribery were recorded. We can only guess about this. Director of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine Oleksiy Koshel said that three cases of bribing voters took place in Khmelnytsky region.

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"We documented three facts of bribery on the eve of the voting day, as bribery is a procedure of the last days (before the election day – Ed.).This were two facts of direct bribery and one fact in Khmelnytsky region, when voters were provided with tourist services, items at a price higher than 6 USD, statutory minimum from the side political party for concrete deeds," he said.

During the briefing on the results of the elections of the UTO, Koshel added that another case of voter bribery was recorded in Odesa region directly on the voting day.

NGO Opora, in turn, also reported on the facts of the organized transportation of voters in Ivano-Frankivsk (Havrylivka village, Pereryslianskaya community), Sumy (Buryn, Buryn UTO), Zaporizhzhya (Okhrymovka, Kyrylivska UTO) areas.

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However, the most resonant incident in the course of yesterday's vote was an attack on the polling station in Maiske village, Dnipropetrovsk region.

According to law enforcers, at about 18:30 a group of more than 20 people went into the room and began to break down the internal equipment of the site and beat the windows. After that, the attackers threw smoke bombs and disappeared. Probable suspects were detained a few hours later. The law enforcers also found a large number of weapons.

"The question of entering information into the Single Register of Pre-Court Investigations on the grounds of crimes provided for in articles 296 (Hooliganism), 157 (preventing the exercise of the right to vote or the right to participate in a referendum, the work of an election commission or a referendum commission or official observer activity) and 345 (threat or violence of a law enforcement official) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine," the department stressed. Two police officers were injured during the attack on the polling station.

In addition, Opora also reported frequent attempts to give ballots without a passport, violation of the secrecy of voting and the rights of observers, inaccuracies in the ballots, problems with power supply in the polling stations during the day.

It should be noted that the results of the election of deputies in single-mandate electoral districts, as well as elections of rural, settlement, city heads should be established no later than on the fifth day from the date of voting, that is, until November 3 inclusive.

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In turn, the results of the election of deputies in a multi-member constituency must be established not later than on the tenth day from the voting day, that is, until November 8.

However, some parties have already declared their victories in the UTO elections. For example, the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko noted that its political forces, according to the results of the parallel counting of votes conducted by the party headquarters, have 108 winners, or 53.73%, for the posts of the heads of the UTO. These are 16 city general public relations, 30 village and 62 rural.

"No other political force is approaching this result. According to preliminary data, the candidates from Tymoshenko’s "Batkivshchyna" are leading in 10 UTOs, "Agrarian Party" - in 5 UTOs, "Nash Krai" - in 5 UTOs, "Za konkrentni spravy" - in 3 UTOs, "UKROP", "Radical Party," and "Forces of People" - in 1 UTOs. Representatives of Bloc of Petro Poroshenko won in the overwhelming majority of regions," the press- service of the party.

In turn, the leader of the Batkivshchyna Party, Yulia Tymoshenko, said that her political party gained victory in the elections to the united territorial communities in 15 regions.

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Tymoshenko noted that according to the results of the parallel counting on 183 out of 201 UTOs, 2837 deputies were elected from the parties, of which 880 deputies (31%) from the Batkivshchyna Party, 568 deputies from Poroshenko’s Solidarity Party (20) %), Agrarian Party - 334 deputies (11.8%), UKROP - 245 deputies (8.6%), Nash Krai - 128 deputies (4.5%), Lyashko's Radical Party - 126 deputies (4.4%), Samopomich - 95 deputies (3.3%).

"I would like to inform you that Batkivshchyna Party won the election of the united territorial communities that was held yesterday in 2/3 regions of Ukraine. We have got the first place in 15 regions. Bloc of Petro Poroshenko won in 5 regions, but this victory is very specific," Tymoshenko said to Interfax-Ukraine.

According to her, Bloc of Petro Poroshenko gained its main results in Kharkiv (82%) and Vinnytsia regions (43%) by falsifications, bribery of voters, intimidation of political competitors.

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At the same time, the Voters' Committee say that 60 Poroshenko’s candidates won the victory in the UTO elections. "We carried out a parallel calculation, and we will publish the results exclusively with regard to the heads of the UTO... Bloc of Petro Poroshenko won 60 candidates. The party announced more than 100 candidates," stressed Koshel during the briefing.

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According to his information, 13 candidates from Batkivshchyna won the elections. "The party announced 11 more candidates who ran with the support of the political party," said Koshel.

"Speaking about other parties, 5 candidates from Agrarian Party, 5 candidates from Nash Krai, 3 from Za konkretni spravy, one from UKROP, and one from Syla Lyudei won in the UTO elections" he added.

Since October 25, 2015 to April 30, 2017, the first local elections were held in 415 joint territorial communities in Ukraine.

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