ODF Short-term Election Observation Mission is on. First Reports
Polish and Czech volunteers have gone into Ukraine to observe the early presidential elections. The first reports have arrived from the town of Czernihiv. According to the observers, most of the circuit polling stations were duly prepared for the vote.
The election committees organised preparatory meetings. They were equipped with voting materials, as well as complete lists of the persons entitled to vote in the circuit concerned. In the afternoon of Saturday 24th May, the final names of election committee members were provided. Slight disorganisation was noticeable: 5 chairs of local committees were replaced with new people at the very last moment.
The key question is over the fairness of the elections. Observers have reported few cases of buying votes, breaching the rules of ethics and pre-election silence. The local mayor and governor (both from Batkivshyna) made their seats available a number of times for the needs of Yulia Tymoshenko, in effect lobbying in her favour. The committees of Poroshenko and Tymoshenko jointly transported interested people from neighbouring villages, to political meetings, with free buses.
Most of the respondents – from various social strata, agree that the campaign was not aggressive. “Black PR” was not excessively employed. The locals considered the campaign “poor” – there were no concerts or other accompanying events. The campaign headquarters avoided populism and cheap forms of expression. Local residents, being conflict-oversensitive, appreciated the fact that the candidates were not at each other’s throats.
Respondents say that they are well informed about the candidates’ past and the sources of funding of their activities. Everyone expressed their detachment from and disdain for oligarchs – they see the candidates’ affluence as proof of their criminal activities.
Everyone is voting to choose the lesser evil. They do not believe in genuine leadership and they are voting to support the candidate who – in their view – is least destructive. Voting in these elections is perceived as a way of ensuring stability in the country rather than a genuine political choice.