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Ukraine President calls opposition blockade "gross violation of law"

[JURIST] In televised remarks, outgoing Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma Sunday condemned the continuing blockade of government buildings by supporters of opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko as a "gross violation of law" and urged that compromise in the dispute over last week's presidential election was "the only way to avoid unpredictable consequences." Meanwhile the head of the Donetsk region, where support for declared winner Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was strong, warned that a Yushchenko presidency in Ukraine "would prompt the establishment of a new federal state in the form of a southeastern republic." Both sides in the electoral dispute await a Monday hearing of an election appeal before Ukraine's Supreme Court. A revote, favored by Yushchenko and the EU and now apparently an option entertained by Russia, which has supported Yanukovych, remains a possibility. The Kyiv Post has more.

9:35 AM ET - A group of Ukrainian lawyers associated with the Kharkiv Group
for Human Rights Protection has issued, in English, a constitutional and legal analysis of the election:

Most stages of the election process were accompanied by rude violations and blunt abuse of the fundamental constitutional principles in the application of election law, which are provided for in Article 71 of the Ukraine’s Constitution, and principles of election law, provided for in Articles 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 11, 13 of the Ukraine’s Law on Election of the President of Ukraine.

First, the stage of compiling voter lists was accompanied by numerous mistakes in spelling of full names, dates of birth, omissions of names of many voters, who are legal residents within the limits of their precincts, as well as presence in the lists of those citizens, who died or left their precincts. As a result, tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens, who have right to vote, were prevented from affecting their constitutional right to freely elect the President of Ukraine. Unusually high number of such mistakes, comparing to those at the previous presidential elections and the latest parliamentary election, during which those mistakes were extremely rare, convincingly evidences about the rude violation of the fundamental principle of the election process – the universal suffrage.

Second, during the stage of election campaigning, there was open abuse of the constitutional principles of equal suffrage and free election, provided for in Article 71 of the Ukraine’s Constitution and Articles 3 and 6 of the Ukraine’s Law on Election of the President of Ukraine, as well as principles of lawfulness and prohibition of anyone’s unlawful intrusion in the election process; equality of all presidential candidates; freedom of election campaigning, equal opportunities for all presidential candidates in their access to the mass media; unbiased attitude toward the presidential candidates on the part of the central and local governmental agencies, businesses, offices and organizations, their top managers, other officials, which is provided for in Article 11 of the Ukraine’s Law on Election of the President of Ukraine...

Third, during the stage of voting, there were mass violations of principles of citizens’ free-will participation in elections, individual and secret vote. The prime evidence of it are the facts of organized mass voting off the precincts to which voters were registered, thereby the corresponding norm of the Ukraine’s Law on Election of the President of Ukraine was compromised. We consider that the voting off the registered precincts by organized groups of voters is a direct evidence of open abuse of the law. The prearranged movements of great numbers of voters were caused not by an objective need of those people to leave their places of permanent residence, but by will of the organizers of those movements. Therefore, we consider that this right was used not in order to provide for subjective voting right, but as a way to influence the free will of certain groups of voters, and, as a result, in order to compromise the actual will of citizens during the election.
Read the full text here.

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