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Chewbacca Arrested Driving Darth Vader To Polls In Ukraine; Emperor Palpatine Wins City Council Seat

As much as we’d like to believe in the fairytale that the seeds of democracy can take root anywhere in the world at any time as long as the will of the people is strong, that just isn’t the case. 

Sometimes, the circumstances surrounding “elections” just aren’t conducive to the perpetuation of the democratic process and attempts to derive anything meaningful in terms of divining the preferences of the electorate are hopelessly complicated by questions about the integrity of the polling process. 

Take Syria for instance, where some are now suggesting that Bashar al-Assad may hold elections even as the country’s years-old civil war still rages. And then there is of course Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done virtually everything in his power to subvert the democratic process on the way to ensuring that one way or another, AKP will win an absolute majority in parliament. 

Well, now that Syria has become the mainstream media’s geopolitical topic du jour, Ukraine has faded into the background but on Sunday, the country held local elections which served as a kind of referendum on where Ukrainians stand in terms of i) the current government in Kiev, ii) the nationalist movement as embodied by the various “volunteer” battalions fighting in the east, and iii) the pro-Russian separatist movement. Here’s a bit of color from AP for what it’s worth:

Four exit polls from Ukraine's local elections released Monday indicated the governing coalition would retain its dominant position in the west and center of the country despite widespread disappointment with the government of President Petro Poroshenko.

 

In the south and east, voters favored the Opposition Bloc, formed from the remnants of the party of the former pro-Russia president, who was overthrown in early 2014 after months of street protests.

 

The Central Election Committee said it had received data from only 30 percent of the vote by Monday morning, reflecting the challenge of calculating the results of elections for more than 10,700 local councils as well as mayors.

 

More than 130 parties fielded candidates. Complete results were expected Nov. 4.

 

Sunday's elections were held nationwide, except for parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed rebels. In eastern areas recaptured by government forces, former separatists ran for office as candidates from the Opposition Bloc.

 

Poroshenko's party and others in his coalition had hoped to expand their influence through the local elections, but this proved not so easy to do, political analyst Vladimir Fesenko said. "The disposition of forces shows that the country is divided," he said.

Despite the fact that the US State Department says “these elections largely reflected the will of the Ukrainian people and generally respected democratic process,” The Guardian contends that “the elections were marked by traditional dirty tactics such as voter-buying, spoiler candidates and backroom deals, leading many observers to claim that the new Ukrainian government has not yet managed to introduce the 'new kind of politics' promised after the Maidan revolution last year.”

And the “dirty tactics” aren’t limited to vote-buying and backroom deals. 

Ukrainian police have also resorted to forcibly preventing voters from making it to the ballot box. Case in point: Chewbacca was on his way to deliver one of several Darth Vaders running for local office to a polling station when the Wookiee was arrested for having “improper papers.”

Here’s The Guardian

The Star Wars character Chewbacca has been dragged before a court in Odessa, in perhaps the most surreal episode in local elections across Ukraine that have been both hotly contested and full of dirty tricks.

 

The man inside the costume was fined 170 hryvnia (£5) for the “administrative offence” of not being able to produce identification documents.

 

A statement posted on the official Instagram account of the Ukrainian police read: “Nothing unusual here, just Chewbacca detained for being without documents while driving Darth Vader to the elections in Odessa. The Sith Lord has already claimed this was illegal as Chewbacca is his pet and general servant and thus does not require documents.”

 

Police had earlier dragged Chewbacca from a polling station and put him in a van after accusing him of disrupting proceedings. Chewbacca said he had been there to support Darth Vader, who was attempting to vote.

 

Darth Vaders have been frequent candidates at Ukrainian elections, with a reported 16 of them taking part in last year’s parliamentary vote. The Vaders, many of whom have changed their names legally, usually campaign in full costume.

Chewbacca appeared in court today in Odessa and was fined $7.50. Ukraine: never boring. (via

) pic.twitter.com/uo57cdJl6H

— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7)

And before you ask yes, there is a video... or two... or three... 

But try as they might, the Ukrainian authorities were unable to undercut the will of the people which explains why Emperor Palpatine won nearly 55% of the vote and a seat on the on Odessa City Council.

We close with a quote from Odessa mayoral candidate Aleksandr Borovik and a classic video clip which we're reasonably sure readers will appreciate in the context of everything outlined above.

"A cartoon comrade of Darth Vader – Palpatine – received 54.4 percent of votes in Poselok Kotovskogo [one of Odessa’s neighborhoods]. Palpatin Dmitry, born in 1990, who works as an emperor at ‘LLC Palpatine Finance Group’ makes it to the city council on the Trust Affairs party list."