Voter bribery is Poroshenko’s main tactic in Ukraine’s presidential election — analyst

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KIEV, April 2. /TASS/. The lack of resounding scandals over election rigging is a clear sign the incumbent president Pyotr Poroshenko’s main tactic has been voter bribery, the chief of the sociological programs center Sofia, Alexander Levtsun, told a news conference in Kiev on Tuesday.

“Society had braced for massive election rigging. Everybody was waiting for scandals, high-profile litigations and even protests. Nothing of the kind has happened, though. Observers noticed no flagrant, gross violations,” he said. “The powers that be are well aware such fakes will be instantly exposed and result in lawsuits. For this reason they preferred to use a different tactic – political corruption. In other words, voter bribery.”

Levtsun said several media investigations exposed a sophisticated system of probing into the sentiment of the electorate ahead of the elections and distribution of cash bonuses among neutral or hesitant voters in advance in exchange for the firm promise to cast ballots for the desirable candidate or even consent to campaign for him as an electioneering agent.

Also, Levtsun pointed to unusual turnout statistics in this election, in particular, the extraordinarily high rates in the eastern regions. The authorities used bribery tactics very actively in the most problem regions in the southeast. Levtsun recalled the warning from the Opposition Platform – For Life party’s candidate, Yuri Boiko, to the effect there had been “an unusual upsurge in voter activity in some constituencies in the east of Ukraine.”

“At some polling stations in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions Pyotr Poroshenko’s results grew several-fold,” he said adding it was an unmistakable evidence of bribery techniques employed there.

The director of the New Ukraine institute, Andrei Yermolayev, told a news conference that Poroshenko’s entry into the runoff looked “paradoxical and emotionally annoying.”

“It should be noted that this happened in a situation where society is becoming archaic, civic activity is dwindling and the level of political corruption is unprecedentedly high. This new type of corruption has brought about the emergence of whole networks making it possible to mask administrative violations.”

“Everybody had been bribed in advance,” he said. Among other factors for Poroshenko’s relative success Yermolayev mentioned low self-organization of society, an emotional slump and the involvement of young members of civic society in newly-invented corruption schemes.

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