16:42 13.02.2019

Law enforcement becomes 'election technology' in presidential campaign – experts

2 min read

KYIV. Feb 13 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukraine's law-enforcement personnel have become a tool used in the current election campaign, a mechanism for influences and correcting the ratings of candidates. That is the opinion of some political experts.

"There has been a trend when law enforcement agencies are used by election headquarters as an electoral technology, which can save quite a lot of money, in particular on news media," political expert Yuriy Podorozhny said at a press conference on Wednesday held at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

He said the public activity of law enforcement officers who regularly voiced the number of appeals about violations of electoral legislation and criminal proceedings initiated by them "claimed the status of the main protagonists of the presidential campaign to law enforcement officers.”

The expert said in terms of the number of mentions in the media, Ukraine's Interior Ministry outpaces candidates for the post of head of state, a circumstance which may indicate the influence of the ministry on media content.

Podorozhny said shenanigans over the weekend at Kyiv's Podilsky district police department did not increase public confidence in the police.

"Very few people believed in the sincerity of their apology," he said.

In his turn, Ukrainian Center for Social Development expert Ihor Reiterovych said, "Representatives of various political forces fix numerous violations using law enforcement agencies as a technology or a mechanism to influence their opponents ... a mechanism that ... depending on the situation allows for ratings to be corrected."

A second Ukrainian Center for Social Development expert Yaroslav Teleshun pointed out the uneven response of law enforcement agencies to violations of electoral legislation by various political forces: "In respect of some political forces, the law enforcement system works according to the law," he said, adding, "For others, it closes its eyes."