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Zelensky casts his ballot in the parliamentary elections of Ukraine. Photo: Адміністрація Президента України (CC BY 4.0)
Kiev

Ukraine: The drunkard at the polling station

Ukraine has elected a new parliament: But there many things which happened that the West does not know about – but should know.

Published: July 24, 2019, 11:26 am

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    On Sunday, July 21, parliamentary elections were held in Ukraine. This country is a parliamentary republic with an elected president and therefore, according to some experts, parliamentary elections are even more important than the presidential ones.

    Parliament picks the government and appoints the Prime Minister. In addition, the Ukrainian parliament – the Verkhovna Rada – has the right to accuse the president of evading his or her duties. This was incidentally the way in which a former President Viktor Yanukovych officially lost power, and had his decrees vetoed.

    This is why results of parliamentary elections arouse so  much interest and are regarded as important to anyone who is partial about the future of Ukraine.

    According to the data of the Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission – provided on a morning of July 23 – the party of the Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky, People’s Servant retains its leadership position in elections of the Verkhovna Rada.

    According to polling results with 92,33 percent of the ballots counted, it gained 43,11 percent of votes.

    The party of Yuriy Boyko (ex-Minister of Coal and Energy of Ukraine), called Opposition Platform for Life, is ranked in second place with 13,03 percent of the votes.

    The third place has been taken by the Batkivshchyna party of a former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko with 8,17 percent of the votes, followed by European Solidarity of the former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko with 8,15 percent.

    The party of the musician Svyatoslav Vakarchuk Voice is last in the top five, having gained 5,87 percent of votes. The official results are expected to be published by the Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission by August 5.

    Taking into account preliminary results of the elections in single-mandate constituencies, the party of Vladimir Zelensky may obtain a majority in the Verkhovna Rada and choose to elect a government on its own, without having to enter into coalitions with other parties.

    However, according to a representative of the People’s Servant, Galina Yanchenko, the party is considering the possibility of creating a coalition with other political groups.

    Apart from the impressive number of votes won by one single party, the most recent Ukrainian parliamentary elections stood out because of the amount of freaks and weirdos who had been voting or trying to vote at the polling stations.

    In Lvov, the Ukrainian city at the west of the country, a 94-year-old woman was unsatisfied with a fact that she was not allowed to vote the way she wanted. Instead of voting at home, as it was offered by the workers of an election commission of her district due to her age and state of health, the woman had came to the polling station.

    After a row of scandals, she was finally given a ballot. However, she had bluntly refused to lower her ballot into a mobile ballot box. As a result, the scandal dragged on for at least four hours, until the relatives of the violent voter arrived. But even they found it near impossible to calm down the agitated woman. Finally, she tore up the ballot, stuffed it her mouth and swallowed it.

    In one of the Kiev electoral districts, a voter who had forgotten her passport at home, tried to feign her own death. She had even twitched her feet as if she had been in agony. But that did not help her much – she was instructed by officials to bring either bring her passport or forfeit her chance to vote.

    Another unusual story from Kiev is about the inebriated chairman of the Electoral Commission who was found at one of the polling stations. It was revealed that the gentleman had gotten himself into a double pickle – apart from having a certain level of alcohol in his blood, he also presented a fake passport.

    As a result, a criminal proceeding was initiated under the article of “forgery of documents, seals, stamps and forms, sale or use of forged documents, seals, stamps”. He may face two years in prison if he is convicted.

    Also, the voting process in the Kirovograd region distinguished itself by yet another a great story: Representatives of the Electoral Commission had used an ordinary pan as a safe box. They had written on the kitchen inventory “safe box”, attached the lid with trivial rubber bands to the handles and sealed it.

    And while officials of the USA and European countries were congratulating Ukraine on holding “democratic and peaceful elections” which represent “a strong vote for reform”, experts and political analysts were pondering the reason why the People’s Servant party had won such a large margin.

    Elena Glischchinskaya, a columnist for Radio Sputnik in Russia, believes that the Ukrainian people voted not for the party of Zelensky but rather against all the other candidates.

    “Someone says – we vote for new faces, even if they are amateurs. This is a request and a firm position of an average Ukrainian voter today. He is ready to vote for any new face – just because he doesn’t want to vote for those political figures who are already in the corridors of power.

    “There were particularly surprising results in single-member districts in far-flung places. The unknown moderators of corporate parties, small entrepreneurs, lawyers and photographers had easily defeated respectable and, in general, good managers and deputies.

    “There is no merit in these young guys, political consultants of Zelensky or Zelensky himself in such a stunning result. They were carried on the crest of a tsunami and thrown onto the Ukrainian land, burned-out by the last eight convocations of the Verkhovna Rada.”

    Results of parliamentary elections and parliamentary-presidential mechanism of the Ukrainian state make it obvious that Zelensky and his inner circle are able, without any agreement from the Ukrainian people, to build a vertical power structure. Starting with the Speaker, the Prosecutor, the Ministers and ending with the heads of state enterprises.

    But along with the absolute power the People’s Servants wield,  they now also have absolute responsibility. People will expect quick changes, higher salaries and pensions and lower tariffs. Whether Zelensky’s team will be able to fulfil these expectations will be soon clear – after the official announcement of the election results the new parliament together with the new president will have to finally start their function of “serving people”.

    ksenia.medvedeva@freewestmedia.com

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