The recently passed amendments to Ukrainian election laws allow individual election commissions to start their work without having a minimum quorum (which earlier was 2/3 of the commission members), and allow the commissions to dismiss their members for "not participating" in the commission’s meeting on the election day. [What about participating only a little bit or later in the day?]
Eminent lawyer Alexiy Reznikov, in an interview in 'Glavred' claims the amendments have significantly increased the chances of the results of Sunday's election being rigged or challenged in the courts.
He claims that about 10 days ago legally-minded VR deputies responded to calls from Yulia Tymoshenko to make changes to the election laws between the first and final rounds by telling her that this cannot be done. And yet, these deputies hastily voted in last-minute changes that suited their favoured candidate, ostensibly to prevent cheating by his opponent.
There is a possibility, because a quorum is no longer required, that on the day of polling the head of any election commission could gather one commission, and the secretary another commission formed from the supporters of the other presidential candidate. They will deliver two protocols to the regional commissions - which will be legitimate? And what if stamps go missing, as recently occured in the Supreme Administrative Court?
Rezinkov claims the authors of the bill and the deputies from Party of Regions, Lytvyn Bloc, the Communists and part of "Our Ukraine", supported and rushed it through on the spur of the moment without much thought because they truly feared the elections could be sabotaged; but now they may have 'opened up an new can of worms'. A repeat second round, as in 2004, is a distinctly possible scenario, he says.
Ironically, the main beneficiary of any possible disorder would be president Yushchenko who will not hand over the keys to the pressa's office until everything is settled.