President Petro Poroshenko’s campaign has failed to nominate enough election commission members in the run-up to the April 21 run-off of the presidential election, triggering concerns that the election may be disrupted.
Each polling station has a commission comprised of people nominated by candidates.
The Central Election Commission confirmed on April 15 that the commissions were not full yet. Election watchdog Opora said it was Poroshenko’s campaign that has not nominated enough people so far.
Poroshenko said on April 14 he was not aware of the problem and proposed addressing the question to his campaign headquarters.
The president’s campaign spokesman Oleg Medvedev told the Kyiv Post on April 15 that the campaign was working on the issue and trying to achieve a quorum on all commissions.
The Central Election Commission said on April 15 that an insufficient number of members had been appointed to polling station commissions so far in Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk, Zakarpattia, Kirovograd, Luhansk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Kherson and Chernihiv oblasts. The commission called on volunteers to fill up the remaining quotas on the commissions.
“(The Poroshenko campaign’s failure to appoint commission members) may be an attempt to disrupt the election both in specific locations and nationwide,” the campaign of presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on April 15. “Today we have such information in Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Luhansk, Kirovograd, Zhytomyr and Chernihiv oblasts and in Kyiv.”
Zelenskiy’s campaign also said that district election commissions were failing to appoint a sufficient number of members, attributing this to either their inability to do so or to sabotage.
Polling station commissions can comprise 12 to 16 members, depending on the size of electoral districts. The quorum in such a commission is 50 percent of the maximum size plus one member. There are 29,900 polling stations in Ukraine. It’s not clear how many lack members now.
Poroshenko and Zelenskiy have the right to nominate equal numbers of commission members.
Olga Aivazovska, head of election watchdog Opora, told the Kyiv Post that, if Poroshenko fails to nominate a sufficient number of members, district election commissions must appoint the remaining members by the April 15 deadline.
If they fail to do so by the deadline, they will have to do so after it, she added. Aivazovska said that this had happened during previous elections.
Yulia Kyrychenko, a legal expert at the Reanimation Package of Reforms, told the Kyiv Post that missing the April 15 deadline for forming election commissions alone would not disrupt the election. However, the election may be disrupted if there is no quorum at some polling station commissions by April 21, and the commissions will not be able to function, she added.
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