24 Nov 2004

...abuse of state resources...

Just out of curiousity, is the printed press in Singapore mentioning what is occurring in the Ukraine at the moment? Are the journalists drawing any parallels with a small country in South-East Asia?

The abuse of state resources sounds familiar.

Observers denounce Ukraine election

Staff and agencies
Monday November 22, 2004

Foreign observers said today that Ukraine's presidential elections, which have been marred by allegations of intimidation and voter fraud, did not meet international standards.

The joint mission representing the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and Nato said its officials observed abuse of state resources in favour of the pro-Russian prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych.

The same group of observers denounced the election's first round, which took place on October 31, and said authorities had failed to fix the flaws.

Bruce George, the official in charge of the monitoring operation, said: "With an even heavier heart than three weeks ago, I have to repeat the message from the first round; this election did not meet a considerable number of international standards for democratic elections.

"The deficiencies have not been addressed. The abuse of state resources in favour of the prime minister continued, as well as an overwhelming media bias in his favour," he said.


With almost all the results counted after the polls closed late yesterday, official figures showed Mr Yanukovych held a narrow lead over pro-western opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko.

Exit polls, however, showed the challenger ahead, prompting claims from Mr Yushchenko and his supporters that the government had falsified the results.

Tens of thousands of Yushchenko supporters brought the city centre to a halt, pitching tents in the middle of Khreshchatyk, Kiev's tree-lined main thoroughfare.

Mr Yushchenko addressed the crowd, saying he had no confidence in officials conducting the count. Supporters braved sub-zero temperatures in orange scarves, sweaters and headbands - the colour of his campaign. Banners with the candidate's portrait hung from buildings and a bridge.

"Remain where you are," he told the 50,000-strong gathering in Independence Square. "From all parts of Ukraine, on carts, cars, planes and trains tens of thousands of people are on their way here. Our action is only beginning."

He called for cancellation of results in districts of eastern Ukraine, Mr Yanukovich's stronghold, where he said turnout had exceeded the number of voters on lists. He also demanded an emergency session of parliament.

The rival candidates presented Ukraine with a stark choice for its future, 13 years after independence from Soviet rule. The prime minister seeks closer ties with Moscow, while the challenger calls for gradual integration with the rest of Europe.

In a bitter campaign, Mr Yanukovich accused the challenger of causing Ukraine's current problems during his earlier stint as prime minister and Mr Yushchenko fought back by branding the prime minister unfit for office because of convictions for theft and assault in his youth.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is reported in Singapore papers everyday. But frankly, there are so few parallels. One is a very poor and corrupt country where opposition sometimes disappears or ended up dead in rivers; the other fairly well off population, fairly clean bureaucracy, where opposition gets bankrupt but at least stays alive.

soci said...

very few parallels except for the state dominating the media, the first non-democratic aspect listed by international observers.

glad to hear that its being reported in the press, and surprised, when Georgia's velvet revolution occurred I was living in Singapore and heard very little. Maybe the censors are a little more relaxed.

Or the idea that political change can and does occurr, "out-there", is acceptable.

Could you ever even imagine Singaporeans taking to the streets to demonstrate an unfair election? I think not and why this situation exists is very perplexing. Is it the economic contract? and what happens if the PAP can no longer fulfill their obligations, what justification can they claim for the current controls being necessary? The threat of the bogey man - Terrorism and Fear???

theswanker said...

"The abuse of state resources in favour of the prime minister continued, as well as an overwhelming media bias in his favour."

Replace "Prime Minister" with "President", and it could be Italy or Russia. Not drawing parallels necesarily, but interesting nevertheless.

soci said...

The abuse of state resources is I am sure one of the indicators of an undemocratic government, merely one indicator among many.

Does anyone know if these international observers are allowed in to observe Singaporean elections, (I use the term 'election' lightly)?

Anonymous said...

Not that I know of. Even the Election commision are appoint and control by the PAP goverment.

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