Ukraine after election: human rights defenders' and experts' opinion
The runoff election will be held in Ukraine on April 21. The winners of the first round will compete to become the head of state: head of the Servant of the People political party Vladimir Zelensky (30.26%) and incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko (15.99%). Leader the Batkivshchyna party Yulia Tymoshenko with 13.36% was out of the race.
"The main reason why Tymoshenko was the third is that the votes were taken by Vladimir Zelensky. The main protest electorate voted not for Tymoshenko, but for Vladimir Zelensky. It partly reflects young people's preferences, partly - the population’s fatigue from politics and politicians in general," member of the Russian Presidential Council on Interethnic Relations Bogdan Bezpalko said.
According to him, the results of the first round of Ukraine's elections coincide with the results of surveys, which were conducted before the election. "The current top three correspond to electoral preferences. The inclusion of Crimea into Russia, that is, the loss of a number of voters in the Southeast, the war in the Donbas, as a result of which some people cannot vote, and the fact that it was the first time when such a large number of presidential candidates took part in the voting were among objective reasons," Bogdan Bezpalko stated.
He believes that Tymoshenko will not dispute the election results, but will agree with the winner after the runoff. "Zelensky routs Poroshenko with almost twice as many votes, so Vladimir Zelensky will most likely win. We will have to deal with this candidate, who is Igor Kolomoisky's man. If we generally evaluate these election's results in relation to Russia, I think we should not expect something from him. Zelensky will have a certain time lag due to the fact that he can redirect a significant part of social discontent to his predecessor, previous President Poroshenko. However, Ukraine’s citizens shouldn’t expect much either, because it's unlikely that Vladimir Zelensky will go against the IMF conditions, refuse to raise prices for gas and other utilities, that he will refuse to privatize and dismantle elements of the welfare state in Ukraine."
A member of two Councils under the President of the Russian Federation - for Civil Society and Human Rights and for Interethnic Relations, Alexander Brod, said several participants in the electoral race declared total fraud. "Regarding the voting day, I can say that our colleagues, civil control experts were outraged by the interference of foreign diplomats in the voting process. First, these are the U.S. ambassador's repeated calls to go to the polls, be active ... Experts also discovered 'bad apartments' in Kiev and other regions, where 400, 380, 287 voters were registered. Information about the presence of people who have died, people who do not live in this area for a long time was received from almost from all the subjects," Brod said, noting that there were acts of bribery.
"There were also criminal incidents at polling stations. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at one of the polling stations, there were brawls. The head of the electoral commission got into a fight with an observer. Some observers and journalists were forcibly removed from some voting station. A member of the election commission, who recorded what was happening at the polling station, was beaten up," the human rights activist noted.