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Pots, tours and clothing stamps: what is used to bribe the voters

Article by: Marichka Naboka
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Kyiv – Lower prices on cooking pots, half a thousand hryvnia for sharing one issue of a party newspaper, discounts on camouflage clothing and free excursions. Any sort of means are used to bribe the voters. Meanwhile civil network Opora has documented fewer instances of bribery and usage of administrative resources than in 2012. The parties that are accused of violating electoral legislation promise to verify the information. 

The intensity of bribery and usage of administrative resources on part of the candidates and parties for the early parliamentary elections is smaller than at the 2012 elections. Meanwhile the facts documented by civil network Opora testify to the fact that most candidates are ready to win by unfair means, says the organization’s analyst Oleksandr Kliuzhev. 

“The violations are less systematic and less organized than in 2012. This has to do first and foremost with the fact that the candidates, first and foremost the self-nominated ones, do not use goods, services, other material values bought using state or local funds, which was a mass occurrence in 2012. Back then the candidates from the ruling party handed out digital receivers for television, medicine purchased using the state or local budget funds. Now they use their own resources,” Kliuzhev noted.

Self-nominees bribe the most

As of October 15, Opora has documented 63 incidents with the characteristics of voter bribery, which includes providing them with goods, services, money. Under the guise of charity they are given medicine, equipment and even taken on free excursions. Besides, the people are being bribed with cheap cooking pots and coupons for the shop Camouflage.

Opora names a good example of pre-electoral manipulation: a 500 hryvnia reward for spreading just one issue of a propaganda newspaper.

44 instances (almost 70% of the violations) that deal with voter bribery corresponded with the activities of self-nominated candidates. Candidates from Petro Poroshenko’s Block take second place (6 instances), they resort to bribery disguised as charity at the majority district voting. One instance was documented in Opposition Block. However, the self-nominees include current members of the Parliament who belonged to the Party of Regions, which formally does not participate in this campaign,” says Opora electoral programs coordinator Olga Ayvazovska.

Former Chairman of the Voters’ Committee of Ukraine, currently candidate from Petro Poroshenko’s Block Oleksandr Chernenko told Radio Liberty that the party will definitely react to such information by verifying it.

“We have many candidates, and we do not exclude the possibility that this may be a provocation on part of the competition. Our party declares maximally honest and democratic elections and is trying to stick to these declarations to the maximum. Possible some candidates did not fully comprehend the responsibility they have, or maybe it is a provocation on part of the competition,” noted Chernenko.

On October 14 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the amendments regarding the increase of responsibility for committing crimes which violate the citizen’s voting rights. Now the law establishes criminal responsibility not only for those who bribe but also those who receive illicit benefits from voting. Meanwhile the decision of the Parliament was approved at the end of the electoral campaign, experts note. Which allows the candidates to avoid responsibility for the violations they have already committed. Civil network Opora insists that the President of Ukraine immediately sign the amendments to the Ukrainian Criminal Code with the goal of preventing violations in the last days of the electoral campaign, on poll day, the vote count and the determination of the results of the voting.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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