Monday, November 22, 2004

How to deal with fraudulent elections

Interesting article in today's WashPost; some of it sounds familiar...

Ukraine was thrown into turmoil Monday by nearly-complete election results from Sunday's presidential election, which gave Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych an insurmountable three point lead but raised the threat of unrest because of angry charges by the opposition and Western observers that the vote was tainted by widespread fraud.

Tens of thousands of people flooded Independence Square in the capital Monday amid calls for a general strike or even the kind of revolution that toppled regimes in Serbia and Georgia after suspect elections.

With 99.33 percent of the vote counted, Yanukovych had 49.42 percent of the vote compared to 46.3 percent for his opponent Viktor Yushchenko, according to the Central Elections Commission. Exit polls had initially called a victory for Yushchenko by a wide margin.

In strikingly frank language, election monitors laid out a litany of election day abuses that they said called into question the validity of the vote, as well as the future legitimacy of any Yanukovych presidency. One British member of a European Parliament observer group, using language rarely heard in election missions in Europe, said the turnout and results from certain districts favorable to Yanukovych could best be compared with elections in North Korea or in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

As a massive crowd gathered in central Kiev Monday night, Yushchenko called for civil resistance, and some of his supporters were bringing in tents to set up a semi-permanent encampment in the center city.

Legend: Italics - things that sounds like our last election. Bold - things that do not. How sad is it that Ukraine is more exercised over the prospect of election fraud than we are?


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