Can you feel certain that the winning candidate for deputy, whom you supported in the elections, will gain a deputy seat in local council? The correct answer is “of course you can’t”. We will tell the story how the political party was deprived of more than 100 votes in the process of allocation of deputy seats so as to prevent it from clearing the electoral threshold.
While the carriage in Kyiv Oblast Council had turned into pumpkin, the carriage in Vasylkiv raion had simply disappeared. It disappeared in a very unusual way, we must say. According to the archived tabulation protocols in territorial districts, the carriage is still standing there. In other words, 7 political parties gained seats in Vasylkiv Raion Council. However, the final election outcomes protocol, published on website of the CEC, lacks members of the party “New Faces”.
According to the data from archived district protocols, which OPORA had digitalized, 7 parties shared 43 mandates.
According to the final protocol of Vasylkiv Election Commission and information from website of the CEC, the party “New Faces” lacked 116 votes and, therefore, didn't overcome the electoral threshold. Thus, 3 mandates were distributed among Petro Poroshenko Bloc, AUU “Batkivshchyna” and AUU “Svoboda”.
|The Radical Party||3391||11.38%||6|
|The Opposition Bloc||1108||3.72%||0|
Looking at the divergence between two types of official protocols, we have to say the “correction” of election results in Vasylkiv rain was quite primitive.
No one bothered to clean up traces in preliminary precinct protocols, and simply forged the results in final document. In result, the final membership of Vasylkiv Raion Coulcil was based on such simple correction.
It is clear from comparison of the protocols that 116 votes, given for the “New Faces” party, were divided between three parties in the final protocol. Thus, “Batkivshchyna” received 18 votes, “Socialists” – 69 and “Samopomich” – 29.
However, we continued our investigation and compared the percentage from website of the CEC, gathered by all candidates of parties winning in separate territorial districts, and digitalized data of the same percentage. It turned out, that the AUU “Batkivshchyna” and “Samopomich” received extra votes (18 and 29 votes respectively) in the same electoral district #37. There is no information about the percentage gained by the “Socialists” party on website of the CEC, but we assume it gained extra 69 votes in the same district. According to the data from digitalized district protocols, the party “New Faces” received 140 votes (11.5% of votes) in district #37.
The 1% difference between precinct and final protocols allowed candidate from AUU “Batkivshchyna” Roman Deripaskin (district #33) to leave behind another two members of his party. This very candidate took one of three vacant seats after the carriage of the “New Faces” party disappeared from the final protocol.
It turned out that Maksym Zapaskin from AUU “Svoboda” is an expert on elections in Vasylkiv raion. He was running for council election in this raion and for Kyiv Oblast Council election. Thus, he says that not only “New Faces” party was supposed to suffer from falsification of outcomes in Vasylkiv raion, but also the AUU “Svoboda”. However, “Svoboda” party had successfully fought back the falsification, and “New Faces” didn't manage to protect they result.
Here is how Mr. Zapaskin explains motivation of the TEC to change election outcomes in the raion: “If the party “New Faces” had entered Vasylkiv Council, the situation with majority Tetiana Zasukha and Petro Poroshenko Bloc has in the raion wouldn't be so fortunate. The existing coalition probably wouldn't exist.”
OPORA asked Deputy Head of the CEC Andrii Mahera to comment on electoral miracles in Kyiv oblast. He said the local elections are the most problematic in Ukraine compared to the national elections.
The society pays less attention to the process, and the CEC has less powers to influence the situation. The CEC received tabulated results from TECs and do not have information about events occurring in districts and polling stations.
“There are around 12 thousands types of local elections in Ukraine, and the CEC can't control all of them. Moreover, the CEC can't interfere in an electoral dispute on its own initiative if there are court decisions on then,” – Deputy Head of the CEC explained poor legal powers of the Commission. At the same time, little judges are competent in the matters of electoral process, according to Mr. Mahera.
Andrii Mahera mentioned that giving additional powers to oblast TECs allowing to control city, village and settlement TECs in determination of election results could become a solution. The CEC, for its part, could gain authority to control oblast and raion TECs.
“The current legislation gives no way out of the situation with prevention of violations on local elections,” – summarized Mr. Mahera.
The reader shouldn't think that a fairytale about stolen elections happens only in Kyiv oblast. We will try to tell tens of similar stories from other parts of Ukraine in our next articles. Spoiler: the final protocol on Cherkasy Raion Council election had, in comparison to district protocols, 103 extra votes, and 1,297 were redistributed in favor of Petro Poroshenko Bloc “Solidarity”. Thanks to such transformations the party received plus 2 mandates.
Any attempt to dig up the truth is a quite consuming effort. We may only dream about open access to the data on local elections, and continue “compiling” it manually, gathered piece to piece in dusty archives. On the contrary, the access narrows when the CEC deletes from its website the data about regular local elections after united communities are formed.
These stories are not only about the open election data, but also about the lack of control and liability on local elections.
The courts take contradictory and sometimes even doubtful decisions on electoral disputes. Efficiency of the CEC in response to illegitimate actions of TECs is also in question. Political parties, for their part, can cover up one another, decreasing the chances to reveal manipulations with the votes.
Nevertheless, there is always a way out. For example, establishing a wider list of open data about local elections, institutional strengthening of the CEC and giving it additional oversight functions, creating a unified court practice and political independence of judges. The directions for changes are obvious. The most important is to have the desire for change.
The beginning of the fairy tale is here
Authors: Oleksandr Kliuzhev, Vasyl Kosyi, Robert Lorian, Yurii Lisovskyi