I thought I knew all the election tricks, but Ukraine surprised me once again. A week ago I sent observers to Dnipropetrovsk to see how the campaign is running in the city which I am going to visit during the vote on October 28th.
We know that half of the seats will be chosen in a proportional election. Here we can observe a clash between the national lists with a top-down hierarchy – the parties’ leaders at the forefront. The real battle, however, takes place in the single-mandate constituencies and here the human creativity has no limits. The hit of the election are so-called “technical candidates”.
And who are they?
In addition to the strong candidates recommended by political parties, almost anyone can appear at the electoral list. Often in one constituency, where several thousand people vote, there are over 20 candidates. It is easy to guess that most of them are exposed only to pick up opponents’ votes. One attempt of buying a “technical candidate” has been recorded – a candidate of the Party of Regions, Deputy Mayor of Dnipropetrovsk, offered a start in the election to an independent union’s leader in order to pick up his rival’s votes. Sometimes at the list occur two people with the same names. Every country has its own customs, but there are suspicions that this procedure involves money.
My envoys reported that courts generally deny any claim against the candidates who are in power. For example, a local TV repeatedly refuses to show political spots of one of the candidates. A claim submitted in this matter to the court has been denied. The same happened with a complaint against covering and putting billboards right on top of opponent’s posters. But the real surprise is that the same lawyer represents the district election commission and a candidate of the Party of Regions…
All this creates a rather unpleasant picture of the ongoing campaign. On October 11th, the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs will discuss this matter.Author : Marek Siwiec MEP