Don't Stop Here

KIEV, Ukraine -- Joseph Stalin was said to have once quipped something like: It doesn’t matter who gets the most votes, but who counts them. This attitude has remained a big part of Ukraine’s political legacy, right up until the March 26 parliamentary elections.

Members of the election commission count ballots at a polling station in Kiev.

A lot has improved since President Viktor Yushchenko came to power, riding on a wave of public indignation against backdoor deals and stuffed ballot boxes. The elections are clearly fairer than before, but Ukrainians and foreign observers have almost come to take electoral openness for granted.

So much so, in fact, that no one seemed surprised by reports from numerous monitoring groups and polling agencies who assured us all that things would be different this time around. The voting was declared free and fair almost before it started. But, as of early March 29, more than six percent of the ballots had still not been counted.

Territorial commissions in the eastern regions of the country, where counting had been greatly falsified in the 2004 presidential poll, have been suspiciously slow with their results. Some monitors suspect there is an attempt to twist votes slightly in favor of certain political blocs.

The democratic record of Ukraine’s authorities is a definite improvement over that of their predecessors, but that doesn’t mean that anyone should be anything but vigilant regarding how state officials execute their duties.

Another problem with the way the vote was conducted is well illustrated by the long lines at the ballot boxes, caused by the fact that the ballots themselves were very long, including 45 parties for parliament, on top of many more candidates for regional councils and mayoral posts.

If Ukraine can’t figure out a way to ease and speed up this process in the future, the country should avoid holding elections for both federal and regional seats simultaneously in the future.

It really is good that Ukraine has gotten better at letting the people pick their leaders, but let’s not stop there. There is lots of room for improvement.

Source: Kyiv Post Editorial

Comments

The Ranger said…
Thank you for the information, the question is how and where do we improve on what so far seems to be working ?