Poroshenko Ally "Wins" Election After Fraud Accusations
A member of Petro Poroshenko's party won a parliamentary by-election on Sunday after a campaign marred by fraud, violence and vote-buying.
The quiet northeastern Ukrainian city of Chernigov grasped the country's national attention over the past week as a parliamentary bi-election in one of its districts became the focal point of a vicious feud between two rival oligarchic clans.
Two candidates led the polls, Serhiy Berezenko from the ruling president Petro Poroshenko bloc and Gennady Korban from the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky-tied UKROP (Ukrainian Patriots Union). The candidates also represent rival geographical interests, neither of which is from Chernigov.
The election, nearly a year and a half after the February 2014 coup, which the country's new government calls a "revolution of dignity," was saturated with physical altercations between political opponents and allegations of election fraud. According to the electoral commission, voter turnout amounted to 32 percent, two times less than in the 2014 national elections.
Before the election even began, the two candidates openly attempted to sway voters by handing out free meals. In addition, police seized duplicates of stamps from every single polling station to the district, possessed by a operative alleged to be working for Poroshenko's candidate. Violence also broke out after the arrival of nationalist Svoboda party deputy Ihor Mosiychuk to the city, to support the party's candidate.