By Taras Kuzio
The run up to Ukraine’s October 28 parliamentary elections received relatively little coverage and interest in the US, Canadian and European media except over the question of their conduct and expected election fraud.
Leaders of international organizations raised many doubts before the election about whether they could be declared democratic when opposition leaders Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko remain imprisoned on trumped up charges. The July 2012 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly’s Monaco Declaration called on: “Reaffirming the importance for Ukraine of respecting the OSCE commitments, including the principles of transparency, equal opportunities, freedom of expression and fulfillment of the requirements of fair and free elections” (http://www.oscepa.org/news-a-media/press-releases/1028-parliamentary-assembly-adopts-monaco-declaration).
During the election campaign, Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGO) Opora (Resistance), Chesno (Honesty), Spilna Sprava (Mutual Affair) and Committee of Voters routinely provided reports of election fraud (www.oporaua.org, www.chesno.org, www.spilnasprava.com, www.cvu.org). In addition, the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO), the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute found that the elections were the worst since 2004 and therefore a regression (http://www.enemo.eu/ukraine2012.htm). Whereas, opposition and NGO web sites suffered from DOS attacks on election day that crippled them.
The OSCE, European Parliament and Canadian election mission found numerous problems with the elections (http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/96675, Ukrayinska Pravda, October 28-29). Buying up of voters was a major problem (http://blogs.pravda.com.ua/authors/leschenko/5076cd3f4ac7c/), as was massive abuse of state-administrative resources, “oligarchization” of the elections, lack of transparency and absence of a level playing field. Parliamentary Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn, for example, massively abused state resources in the region of Zhitomir he ran in, pouring in funding (see map: http://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2012/10/25/6975412/).
The new mixed proportional–first past the post election law attracted support from the pro-presidential Stability and Reforms coalition and half of opposition deputies, which proved to be a major mistake for the opposition parties. United Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk showed his weak political acumen when he claimed the adoption of the new election law “is the victory of the opposition. The opposition’s demands were clearly formulated and we managed to have these demands met. The majority wanted to adopt the law, which would steal the votes of electors, as it was during the local elections. We did not allow this law to be passed and [thus prevented] election fraud. According to this law, the opposition will win the parliamentary elections in 2012” (November 18, 2011, Interfax-Ukraine).
His second in command, deputy leader of Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party Oleksandr Turchynov, reached a different conclusion, accusing the authorities of “massive election fraud” (http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/front-for-change-leader-new-law-to-allowoppositio-117213.htmlhttp://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2012/10/29/6976112/)