KIEV, Aug. 28 – The Central Election Commission, dominated by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s loyalists, moved Tuesday to register for the Sept. 30 election a small party that had been previously part of President Viktor Yushchenko’s bloc.
The move, which has sparked controversy on the grounds it may spread confusion among voters, will most likely be contested in court by Our-Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, a lawyer for the bloc said.
The CEC registered the Pora after canceling the previous registration of its candidates from the list of Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense bloc two weeks ago.
“We wouldn’t want the CEC to get involved in political intrigues,” Roman Zvarych, a representative for Our Ukraine at the CEC, said. “A court ruling should settle everything out.”
Vladyslav Kaskiv, the leader of the Pora, also condemned the CEC decision. He said some Pora members apparently used unauthorized papers and an unauthorized stamp to try to split the party and to run separately.
But Mykhaylo Okhendovskiy, a pro-Yanukovych member of the CEC, said the papers were issued by the Justice Ministry. He also said law enforcement agencies should investigate the dispute over the stamp.
A Kiev court is supposed rule on the issue on Wednesday, according to Kaskiv.
This was the third controversial decision approved by the CEC over the past two weeks, spreading unease among political parties a little more than one month before the vote.
The CEC had previously refused to officially register for the election the group led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a major opposition party, citing minor technicalities. The CEC has also been vigorously defending a regulation allowing uncontrolled casting of ballots at home.
Both of these controversial decisions were successfully contested by opposition groups in courts.
The latest decision approved by the 15-strong CEC appeared possible as eight members in the body, the majority, are loyal to Yanukovych, while seven members represent opposition.
Andriy Mahera, a CEC member loyal to the opposition, said the CEC may again appear to be in an awkward situation if the court rules to force it to change the decision on the Pora registration.
“Unfortunately, the CEC keeps creating problems for itself,” Mahera said. (tl/ez)