“In our opinion, the vote in Odesa was seriously rigged and, therefore, does not represent the intentions of voters,” head of For Open Democracy committee (USA) Tom Nolan told journalists in Odesa Nov. 2, Ukrayinski Novyny reports.
The staff of electoral commissions was badly trained and, probably, corrupt. To prove his charge, Nolan cited the fact that electoral commissions failed to start the tallying of votes 10 hours after the closure of voting stations.
“There is definitely and clearly a coordinated strategy to delay the tallying until the accredited international observers get absolutely exhausted and leave the voting stations,” Nolan stressed.
The vote in Odesa has been so seriously rigged that it raises the question of its legitimacy, he added.
Another US committee representative, Erik Heron, cited the following violations of the electoral law he observed at the voting station No.311: rosters of voters carried Xeroxed copies of stamps, not their originals, a control coupon was missing on one of the ballot boxes, unfilled ballots copies were stored in the open area, not in the safe.
The international observers also reported harassment, intimidation and pressure from electoral commission members who demanded that the observers leave the premises.
Nolan summed up the violations were massive.
“The fraud was so massive that it indicates the presence of a coordinated strategy to impact the final tally. We are aware that these circumstances do not fit the expectations of Pres Yanukovych who had invited international observers. We are disappointed because these elections may jeopardize the image of Ukrainian democracy in the world,” Nolan said.
Ukraine’s Opora NGO also blew the whistle on falsifications in Odesa and procrastination with vote-tallying.
Ukraine’s Committee of Voters called the elections in Odesa a step backwards.