by GH Eliason in Novorussia for The Saker Blog
For the November 11th election, I was asked to be a part of the International Election observer team Lugansk People’s Republic. It was an experience I won’t forget. Representatives from over 20 countries participated. Political views were represented across the spectrum from conservative to liberal to socialist to progressive.
Although some of us were a little suspicious of others political views, what became clear quickly was everyone was committed to the democratic process.
As I got to know the some of the observers, it became clear we were all committed to making sure Lugansk had interference and corruption free elections. It’s important to me that Lugansk Republic people have a future and they get to decide it.
When everything was said and done, it can be said without a doubt the government officials in Lugansk were as committed as we were to upholding those same ideals. They proved to be transparent and helpful throughout the preparation, transport, and making sure we could do the job they needed us to do.
While we were there for the elections, they wanted to make it clear to all the international observers why they needed to have elections in the first place. These issues are very real and in the civil war Ukraine is pressing, democratic elections is the one thing both Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics can do to ensure the survival of their people and the viability of their countries and economies in the future.
Making sure the election is up to international standards was the priority we all shared. We knew this election was going to get more scrutiny than 2016 Clinton-Trump.
With that in mind we checked everything from the locks on the ballot boxes to the number of ballots that could be put in at one time. Unlike some western countries, passports are checked against registered voter lists so proof of their legitimate right to vote is verified every time.
I spoke with one of the International observers that participated before and he said this time was an improvement because even the locks matched and it could not be mistaken for tampering.
Why is this election lawful?
If you live in a society with a constitution there is a general principle that governments adhere to. If a point that should be covered by the constitution is not expressly forbidden, then it is accepted internationally it is legal for the government to do this.
This is why it is necessary even under the best conditions for governments to forbid torture, kidnapping, murder, arresting someone without due process. All of these are constitutionally forbidden.
With this in mind the only legal means that Ukraine and LDNR (Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics) have to interact is through the Minsk agreements. In Minsk II, local elections were defined as regulated by Ukrainian law.
Local elections include mayors, local committees, and town officals. The governments of LDNR don’t fall under that auspice. If they did, Ukraine would have voted them out by now.
Instead, Ukraine resorted to murdering government and military leaders including DNR Head of the Administration, Alexandr Zakharchenko in the hope of throwing the governments into disarray.
This makes the point about governmental legitimacy in LDNR. If they were the pirate bandit groups Ukraine makes them out to be, the cult of personality would have destroyed both fledgling countries by now. Both countries are committed to the rule of law as principle.
Both countries are striving at nation-building neither actually wanted. Ukraine forced the situation by not decentralizing (federalizing) the government or giving special status to Donbass that would have provided guarantees of safety for people in the region.
LNR received 77% of voter turnout. DNR received 80%. What is an incredibly high turnout figure where you live? It’s being said Ukraine guaranteed this by saying they would take away pensions they owe to people here and prosecute people that vote in the election.
Before the election happened, Ukraine threatened to hack the results and use them against people it considered enemies. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it should.
The governments of LDNR both have mandates now. They are no longer governments built on-the-fly to fight a sudden and surprise war by a government in power by a coup they call a revolution-of-dignity. How can there be dignity in Ukraine when winter is here and 80% of its citizens can’t pay for their utilities?
Is Ukraine jealous of Lugansk People’s Republic? They should be. Government leaders here are working hard to make sure LNR citizens are warm and eat well from now on. There is no trust to the Ukraine that continually degrades its own people as well as LDNR.
We’ll be following up with a lot of reports and adding video reporting.