Thursday, November 18, 2004

A view on the election

Here's a view on the election from a journalsit reporting for Prime-Tass, Ukraine's Run-off--Choose Your Victor. It's more optimistic than I am though he has some of the same concerns I do.

I vacillate between being optimistic and pessimistic about Yushchenko's chances in this weekend’s elections, but on balance I think they look pretty good.

And this is despite the massive abuses in the first round by the incumbents to try and get their man elected. In one case in the west of the country, Ukraine’s thugs attacked the polling station and the workers fled. As official representatives did not record the result these ballots were not counted. The point is that in the west, Yushchenko is winning regions by 80% and upwards. Tactics don't get more brutal or obvious than this.

Another subtler tactic -- it was impossible to buy train tickets for about a week before the election. This is partly to stop Yushchenko’s supporters from descending on Kiev to protest and partly as Yanukovych supporters were getting up early and
voting, only to take a train to another region and voting again, according to reports.

I flew to Lvov on Monday after the election and was told that I could buy a ticket there but despite the plane back being nearly empty -- I had to come back the same day -- I would have to present myself at the ticket office at the other end (so they could have a look at me) before they would sell me a ticket. Foreigners had no problems travelling around, but Ukrainians needed to be members of the party....

It's a good article to read in full.

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