Yanukovych against “against all”

15:40, 14 April 2011
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ballots for voting...

The ballots for voting in national districts do not contain the line item “I do not support candidates representing any political party”, Justice Minister Oleksandr  Lavrynovych announced as he presented the concept of the president’s electoral bill to the press, according to KyivWeekly.

The ballot for voting in a single-mandate district does not contain the box “I do not support a single candidate”.

Surveyed experts said there is nothing odd about such a decision. The notion of “Against all” has long bothered many ambitious politicians. The “Against all” box became a major pain in the neck for the incumbent government during the local elections last fall, when more than 7% of Ukrainians that turned out to vote at local polling stations did not support a single candidate.

A considerable number of protest voters have recently been observed in the oblasts traditionally supporting the Party of Regions. For example, in Donetsk 13.03% of the city’s electorate voted “against all” in the mayoral elections.

“Those who want to protest can simply not turn up at the polling stations. Eliminating this line item will stimulate those who showed up to vote to make up their mind and choose from among the runners,” says Director of Political and Legal Programs at the Razumkov Center Yuriy Yakymenko.

Conversely, Director of the Penta Center for Applied Political Studies Volodymyr Fesenko believes the current approach of the government is aimed at camouflaging the rise in the protest sentiments of the voter. “In Russia this line item was stricken from voting ballots several years back after in a number of voting districts the number of people that voted against all exceeded the results of the winner. [In Ukraine], those voting against all are not yet outnumbering those who support a party. However, opinion polls show that the number of voters that do not support a single party is on the rise,” the political scientist noted.

The elimination of “against all” is therefore can be viewed as an attempt to veil the growing discontent of the people with the government’s reforms. Now the “absolute protesting electorate” will either vote by not turning in or show up at the ballot stations to publicly tear up the ballots.

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