Latest on the election machinations
Never was it truer that there is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. Even though the Supreme Court invalidated the previous vote and ordered new elections to be held on December 26th, there are still many tricks up the sleeves of the Kuchma/Yanukovych/Putin gang and complacency is definitely not in order.
Here's the latest: Yushchenko forces are organizing a nationwide effort to mobilize as many election and poll watchers as possible, in all regions of Ukraine, in hopes of forestalling the kind of wholesale rigging of balloting that went on in the previous election. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has also called for large numbers of observers to be present to ensure fairness and honesty.
In the meantime the Kuchma/Yanukovych camp may take the option of withdrawing Yanukovych's name from the ballot. This would result in two different scenarios, depending on when he does it. Here is the rundown of the likely scenarios via Hotline: http://hotline.net.ua/eng/content/view/2712/37/
"Magera, a member of the Central Election Commission, believes it is realistic to expect that the Central Election Commission will manage to organize the re-run of the run-off presidential elections within the terms of the Supreme Court decision.
"Magera� explained, during an interview with journalists, the provisions of the Law "On the elections of the President of Ukraine" in the event Yanukovych withdraws his candidacy. If Yanukovych withdraws more than 10 days before the re-vote, the candidate who took the third place on the first round of the elections, Moroz, will be included added to the ballot for the re-vote. But if he withdraws less than 10 days before the re-vote, only the candidacy of Yushchenko will remain in the ballot.
"At the same time, Magera mentioned that in this case Yushchenko will have to get more votes "for" than "against" to win the elections. "He will have to get at least 1 vote more," said Magera."
In theory this would make stealing the new elections a bit easier for the Kuchma/Yanukovych forces. With the election widely discredited, and TV stations in Ukraine telling the truth for the first time in a long time (although these stations are still being jammed in the eastern provinces), Yanukovych is pretty well completely discredited. Yushchenko is polling a full 16 points higher than his opponent. But by withdrawing at some point, it is theoretically much easier to steal enough votes to prevent Yushchenko from gaining the 50% plus 1 vote that he will need to be declared the winner. Although this is not nearly as exciting and exhilarating as orange-clad crowds jamming the streets and singing and chanting through the snowy nights, the devil is still in the details.
Kuchma and Yanukovych have refused to resign in spite of the no-confidence vote. And the Central Election Committee's makeup is entirely unchanged. Also, parliament's failure to enact election reforms leaves all the same rules in place that allowed for massive fraud the first time. For instance, in addition to the massive stuffing of ballots, which resulted in a higher than 100% turnout in some eastern regions (a percentage that would make even Kim Jong Il and Saddam Hussein green with envy), there was evidence presented to the Supreme Court of government collusion to hack the servers which sent results to Kiev. There was a strange delay in the servers sending these results, and miraculously, at the end of the delay -- there was an overwhelming increase in the votes for Yanukovych! How do you suppose that happened?
Stay tuned. For those suffering from election withdrawal in the United States -- there's always the Ukrainian election to keep us hopping with plots and counterplots.
As always, check out Le Sabot Post-Moderne for the best analysis and some wonderful new photos from the demonstrations in Kyiv.