KIEV, March 12. /TASS/. The election campaign team of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has been buying off voters using administrative resources and at the public’s expense, Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov said.
"One of the staff headquarters for the administration’s campaign team hire agitators who pick out about a hundred people, usually the poorest, go to their homes and ask whether they are willing to support a candidate and if they do, they offer them help. Thirty out of 100 say, "Yes, we will back him." Their names are jotted down, and then they head to a district council and request the authorities in charge to give these people 1,000 hryvna ($38) using funds allocated from the budget for the "Turbot" program purposes," Avakov said in an interview with the Ukrainian television channel ICTV. After the funds are distributed, the election team contacts these people and ask them to back the ruling party candidate, Avakov added.
According to the minister, cases of bribery have occurred in the Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa Regions, as well as in the cities of Kiev and Odessa.
The Interior Minister also said that the police are investigating bribery allegations against other candidates, among them, Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party leader Yulia Timoshenko, Civil Position party leader Anatoliy Grytsenko and "Osnova" party candidate Sergey Taruta.
The Ukrainian presidential elections are scheduled for March 31. According to the latest polls, comic Vladimir Zelensky is in the lead, while the second and third places are occupied by incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko and Batkivshchina Party leader Yulia Timoshenko, respectively. A number of politicians and Ukrainian experts have already criticized this election campaign as the dirtiest one since Ukraine gained independence.