Expect fraud

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Dec. 10, 2009, 11 p.m. |
Since few high-flying criminals are in jail, another fraudulent vote is possible. This newspaper remembers all too well the Western do-gooders who proclaimed their job was done in Ukraine when the Orange Revolution team assumed power in January 2005. In fact, the actual job of democracy-building had only just begun and has gotten even tougher in the intervening years.

The revolution may have been over the moment that Victor Yushchenko agreed to dilute presidential powers and muddle executive authority through constitutional changes that ended the peaceful uprising against the rigged election of Nov. 21, 2004. We also harbor strong suspicions that he agreed not to seek justice for crimes committed during the era of his predecessor, President Leonid Kuchma.

Let’s just start with the election fraud itself. Of the 85,000 estimated officials suspected of abetting the cheating in 2004, few have faced justice. The suspected ringleaders – including former Kuchma chief of staff Victor Medvedchuk, top Victor Yanukovych adviser Andriy Kluyev and former Central Election Comission head Serhiy Kivalov -- emerged unscathed. Neither vindicated nor exonerated, they have denied wrongdoing and burrowed their way back into power positions.

As for the Orange team's promises of sending “bandits to jail,” it’s harder than ever to distinguish the white hats from the black hats. To this extent, General Prosecutor Oleksandr Medvedko is remarkable for his ability to simply postpone any courtroom reckoning with his misleading public smokescreens about “knowing who the culprits are” or having “irrefutable evidence.” Let's see it, for once!

The stage for the next election fraud, commencing on Jan. 17, has been set. Parliament’s two largest factions – the Party of Regions and the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko -- have consistently warned that the other side could tamper with the votes and the election process. Most Ukrainians believe them.

Their warnings are all the sadder since it was the Regions Party and the Tymoshenko bloc who adopted an election law in July that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other experts have labeled as a “step backwards” for ensuring free and fair elections. The only reliable exit poll capable of measuring the voters’ is also under threat, due to a lack of funds from traditional Western donors.

A repeat of attempts to tamper with votes and change the outcome is as realistic as the adage: “I’m not a criminal until I’m caught.” And since few criminals – especially those who with high-flying political connections – are ever brought to justice in this nation, those interested in a democratic election will have to become even more vigilant in the weeks ahead.
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Anonymous Dec. 11, 2009, 1:45 a.m.    

Viktor Baloha, Yushchenko's former head pf the Presidential secretariat rightly has stated


"Alarming declarations about the likely vote rigging directly point to organizational weaknesses of some candidates as the law allows for reliable barriers against any electoral fraud. For instance, any presidential candidate can send his 2 representatives to sit on local and regional electoral commissions, appoint observers to keep an eye on voting and counting of ballots. Proxies of candidates who have wide authority can also supervise the course of the voting."

Other effective barriers to electoral fraud are the Central Election Commission [whose members are appointed by major parliamentary parties on a quota principle] and numerous international observers. Mass media and NGOs, notably, the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, will also be effective in helping to curb fraud.

“There are more than enough supervisory tools, as you see, and they will all be used during the campaign. All the more so that there are 18 presidential candidates, some having considerable weight. That is why any declarations about the likely fraud are just attempts to justify a defeat of those who make them. Note that those candidates who are selling themselves as strong-willed and tough are most given to such declarations. In fact, such declarations expose them as would-be losers and outsiders,”


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Anonymous Dec. 12, 2009, 8:30 a.m.    

What about the corruption of Yushchenko who vetoed the proposed increase in tax on the sale of tobacco produces. Has he, his family or associated benefited in any form from "donations" and or contributions from the tax lobby? Was there a pay off? What was the basis of his decision to hand back a win fall to the tobacco giants?

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Anonymous Dec. 17, 2009, 8:36 a.m.    

You seem to have all the answers, prey tell, tell us.

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Anonymous Dec. 12, 2009, 8:53 a.m.    

The constitutional amendments agreed to in 2004 were a step in the right direction. They brought Ukraine closer to European democratic values a move away from the former soviet Presidential autocracy. Yushenko wanst to see Ukraine revert back to undemocratic presidential autocracy, a step way from Euorpean democratic values.

The so called revolution was over when Yushchenko and his party betrayed Ukraine and those who supported his election. Yushchenko has undermined Ukraine's democratic and economic development at every turn.

Yushchenko betrayed the the orange coalition when he and his party refused refused to form an orange governing coalition within days of the March 2006 election results. When Our Ukraine refused to share power and appoint Morox Speaker of the parliament. When Our Ukraine and Yushchenko destabiled Ukraine whist trying to independently negotiate the formation of a coalition with Party of regions to the exclusion of other orange coalition partners. In the end Moroz and the Socialist party was left with no other alternative but to ensure that Ukraine was able to form a government as opposed to leaving Ukraine at captive to Yushchenko's policies of division.

Yushchenko betrayed Ukraine in 2007 when he unconstitutionally dismissed Ukraine's democratically elected Parliament and illegally interfered in the independence and operation of Ukraine's COnstitutional Court causing seven months of political and civil unrest and untold economic hardship.

The revolution was over when Yushchenko continued to undermine the Tymoshenko government and tried to fueled a regional war against Russia based on ill-considered advise and information.

The revolution was over when Yushchenko betrayed for the last time his own party and coalition members when he tried to dismiss the current government.

The revolution was over when Yushchenko was sworn into office on a oath he had no intention of keeping.

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Anonymous Dec. 12, 2009, 9:11 a.m.    


Let’s just start with the election fraud itself. Of the 85,000 estimated officials suspected of abetting the cheating in 2004, few have faced justice. The suspected ringleaders – including former Kuchma chief of staff Victor Medvedchuk, top Victor Yanukovych adviser Andriy Kluyev and former Central Election Comission head Serhiy Kivalov -- emerged unscathed. Neither vindicated nor exonerated, they have denied wrongdoing and burrowed their way back into power positions.

Not only did Yush talk about bringing criminals to justice, he chose to ignore the crimes by Kuchma and his gang of cutthroats. Honestly, if I were in his position...and Kuchma did have something to negotiate with...I would have negotiated with him.

But...Yush only did the minimum that was necessary to get the West back involved in Ukraine, which was good financially for Yush and his oligarchs.

Yes...Tom...the voters got who they voted for in 2004...just another lying clan of oligarchs in power...not much better than the last one.

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Anonymous Dec. 12, 2009, 9:28 a.m.    

The 2010 election is not even close with 35 days to go the two candidates most likely to proceed to the second round ballot is Yanukovch and Tymsoehnko. All other hopefuls are at least 9 percentage points behind Tymoshenko. Yanukovych, thanks to Yushchenko's failed term of office will most likely be elected.

All elections have flaws in the way they are run. Take another look at the 2000 US presidential election in Florida the corruption capital of the USA. Any dispute or challenge to the elections results must establish beyond doubt that the results of the outcome of the election would have changed due to any error in the conduct of the election. As Viktor Baloha has correctly highlighted those that are claiming the elections are subject to fraudulent activities are crying wolf motivated by sour grapes. They do themselves and Ukraine a diservice

If anything it brings into question the veracity of the challenges back in 2004, Challenges that failed to determine the full extent of alleged fraud undertaken during the second round.

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Anonymous Dec. 12, 2009, 10:08 a.m.    

The potential for electoral fraud is easier to detect and harder to commit using a single round preferential voting system. The benefits of preferential voting are its cheaper, its fairer and harder to defraud. Patterns of preferences and numerical hand writing make it that much harder to commit fraud.

Each polling place is subject to scrutiny by candidate representatives. The results are tabulated and a trial balance made to ensure that the number of ballot papers issues corresponds to the number returned and recorded as being printed. A central tall room should be able to collate all the results and compare them with the official registered returns. Any discrepancies would need to be subject to further review if the extent of errors is likely to effect the outcome of the election.

It is false and misleading to interpret the reports of the Venice commission and the OSECD as an indictment against the current law on the Presidential election. Many are subjective and political in nature not based on law. Ukraine's Constitutional Court reviewed the legislation and found only five provisions to be unconstitutional. All of a minor concern and has not effected the overall outcome and conduct of the election.

There is less likelihood for errors in the conduct of this election in the past

This is the first Presidential election where Ukraine has a definitive electoral register. Duplicated voting should be able to be detected when making a cross examination of the registered voters list.

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Anonymous Dec. 17, 2009, 8:40 a.m.    

Man, are you naive!!!! ROFL!!

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