While most of the nation got results from the Oct. 25 election, Mariupol got a criminal investigation. Ukrainians want to know who is to blame for the cancellation of the elections in the strategic Azov Sea port city of 500,000 people, whose voters were deprived of the right to choose their mayor and city council. The cancelled election has triggered a spate of conspiracy theories, claims and counter-claims and criticism. Parliament has not yet set a date for a new election. What’s clear is that Mariupol voters were the victims of a power struggle between the traditional powers in the region, represented by the Opposition Bloc party and billionaire oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, and the post-EuroMaidan Revolution forces, including Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Zhebrivsky. Anyone found guilty of obstructing the electoral process – in this case, leaving 215 city polling stations without ballots – could face up to seven years in prison if convicted, according to a statement released on Oct. 27 by the Donetsk Oblast Interior Ministry.
Experts are divided on whether the culprits were the Akhmetov-owned printing house or members of the local election commission, who refused to let the ballots – some faulty and containing errors – be distributed to polling stations.
“The events in Mariupol show there was no political will to hold the elections,” Olga Aivazovska, the head of Opora elections watchdog, told the Kyiv Post.
The city has been at the center of a tug-of-war between forces loyal to the former government and ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, and pro-Maidan forces supporting new faces in the government.
Full Article: Mariupol mess.