Ukraine’s 2007 Parliamentary Elections: Free and Fair or Fraud Once Again and the Argument for Election ObserversWorking Paper No.: 62
Date Published: 2008-11-30
Mikhail Myagkov, University of Oregon
Peter C. Ordeshook, California Institute of Technology
Ukraine’s 2007 parliamentary elections, like its 2006 vote, passed with few of the allegations of fraud and electoral malfeasance that characterized the second round of its 2004 presidential balloting. There was, though, one potentially disquieting note – the suspiciously late returns from Donetsk, which suggested that those returns were being manipulated in some way to help Moroz’s SPU pass the three percent threshold for representation and, thereby, preserve Yanukovich’s governing coalition in the Verkhovna Rada. However, once all ballots had been counted and seat allocations announced, insinuations of electoral fraud largely disappeared from view and attention turned to whether Our Ukraine and Tymoshenko’s BYuT could form a governing majority coalition. The question we address here, then, is: Were the suspicions of fraud in Donetsk wellfounded? And if so, why didn’t Tymoshenko or Yushenchko or any of their allies object to the final tally and demand a recount in the suspect election districts? The answer we offer to these questions is: Yes, there was fraud in Donetsk – although not of the same magnitude as what occurred in 2004 – but owing to the failure of the strategy pursued by the Party of Region’s and Yanukovich’s allies, the fraud inadvertently worked to the advantage of BYuT and Our Ukraine.