Ukrainians protest over election ballot
Some 2,000 Ukrainians have protested in Kiev against alleged fraud in last week’s parliamentary election, after European Union officials expressed “increasing concern” over a ballot that could deepen the chill in relations between Kiev and the West.
Waving the flags of Ukraine’s main opposition parties, the demonstrators gathered in front of the central election commission building in Kiev and denounced what they called vote-rigging, intimidation and false vote-counting by forces loyal to the ruling Regions Party.
According to results that are still to be finalised after the October 28th ballot, the Regions Party of president Viktor Yanukovich won the election. The party will face strong opposition in parliament if the Fatherland, Udar and Freedom parties can form an alliance.
Leaders of those groups said they met ambassadors from EU nations, the United States and Canada yesterday to “inform them of the dangerous crimes being committed by the ruling powers”.
They said it was not just Regions Party officials and supporters but also members of the judiciary and security forces who were “destroying election documentation, destroying results . . . achieved”.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule noted with “increasing concern” the delay in announcing full results and called on officials to declare final figures that “reflect the genuine will of the Ukrainian voters”.
Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt said yesterday on Twitter: “Vote counting in remaining constituencies in Ukraine election looks increasingly murky.”
The central election committee yesterday called for a recount of votes in five disputed districts due to illegal counting procedures.
Regions Party officials said that while some problems may have occurred, the election was in line with international standards and accurately reflected the will of the people.
Western observers declared the election a setback for Ukrainian democracy due to campaign media bias in favour of the Regions Party and widespread use of so-called administrative resources.