Anna Ryzhova, Kyiv:
"Ukraine has bravely overcome the third Presidential election round. Last Sunday, Dec. 26th, as many as 77% of Ukrainian voters participated in the revote choosing their President.
By 10 pm Dec 27th, the Central Elections Commission ("CEC") has processed 99.9% of election protocols containing cumulative information per each election region and announced mathematically convincing but not yet official results of the elections: the Orange Revolution leader, Mr. Yuschenko, has won the Presidential elections receiving 52% of votes. Yuschenko's rival, the Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych has received 44%.
The election process is reported to be fair and transparent, except for voting cabins where each voter was making his or her choice by secret voting. Nevertheless, yesterday Mr. Yanukovych announced that he intends to challenge the results of the elections in separate regions and then as a whole.
According to the official CEC web site, 8.5 thousand of observers from different parts of the world has arrived to watch over the election process. In addition to that, number of Ukrainian residents have volunteered to observe the elections and assist in voting. The assisting was extremely important for disabled voters who could only vote at their homes.
The problem with disabled voters has arisen when the Presidential Elections Act, amended after the Orange Revolution, provided that only 1st category disabled voters could vote at home. Two days before the elections, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has abolished the said provision allowing all categories of disabled to vote at home in case they are unable to get to an election station on their own. The CEC was not prepared to ensure transportation for such "home-based" voting. In these cases private people assisted the stations "delivering the voting right" to disabled.
The spirit of victory has been darkened by the death of the Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Kyrpa, who was shot at his cottage after he met with an undisclosed top official. The murder or suicide is now under investigation." [December 28, 2004 – special to JURIST; Anna Ryzhova is an Associate in the Kyiv office of Chadbourne & Parke LLP]
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