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FIDE vs the Federations, Abuse of Power for Votes

As reported at Chess.com by FM Mike Klein, FIDE’s Electoral Commission (ELE) has been unusually busy lately. It just saw six cases in Athens related to the presidential election, in effect deciding six votes. In each case, despite overwhelming evidence in several cases, the the Commission vote was 4-1 with the same four and the same one. In every case the decision benefited the Ilyumzhinov campaign. In five of the six this happened by stripping votes from federations that had publicly supported Kasparov.

It is unfortunate that the abuses of power and the illegal attacks by FIDE on independent federations and federation officials to assist the Ilyumzhinov campaign have been ratified by a supposedly independent commission.

Below and for download we publish detailed remarks on these six cases by two of the participants. Andrei Korobeinik, delegate from Estonia, is a member of the Electoral Commission. Ank Santens is a partner at the law firm of White & Case observing for the Kasparov ticket at the ELE. In addition, we present remarks by Garry Kasparov on the ELE and the campaign in general. It is no surprise that the four members of the ELE who voted in Ilyumzhinov’s favor in every case (Lima, Muchimba, Murphy, Singh) declined to comment on the cases to Chess.com. These statements by Korobeinik and Santens make it overwhelmingly clear in precise detail how the ELE operated without objectivity from the beginning.

Garry Kasparov:

This shows how now it is FIDE versus the federations; FIDE as the boss, the ruler, over the federations. It’s what Ilyumzhinov’s FIDE has become. This is also Ilyumzhinov’s not-so-secret weapon in this election.  With a few clicks on the FIDE website they can delete the votes of legitimate federations supporting Kasparov, quite a good trick and blatant abuse of power by FIDE officials. Then the Electoral Commission votes along identical lines in every case to support Ilyumzhinov’s side. This “campaigning method” is much easier than presenting plans to improve the chess world or explaining his 19 years of disasters, and he has done neither.

The ELE must be absolutely independent, immune to political pressure. They should invite one of the “Big Four” audit firms to supervise, run by people outside of FIDE with no stake in the results. It’s the only way. I suggested this years ago when the ELE was being created, but Makropoulos flatly rejected the Big Four idea and now we see why. They kept the ELE under their influence and the identical vote in every case, regardless of the evidence, shows it.

I understand that the many federations are afraid due to these abuses and others like them. “Look what might happen to you if you support Kasparov!” But if just 89 federations cross the bridge and overcome their fear, they won’t have to worry about it anymore! The best way to overcome fear is to confront it. If they rise now it will be gone on August 12 the way a nightmare quickly fades when you wake up.

FIDE should support the federations, not threaten them. And as president, providing that support will be my job and the job of my team. We aren’t going to stop fighting! Now is their big chance! This isn’t 2006 or 2010, this much is already very clear. We are already doing well and if the federations stop being afraid we will win overwhelmingly. They control their destinies.

My team and I will just have to work even harder, do more to convince the federations and delegates that sponsorship and education are the way to go forward for chess and for FIDE, and that everyone will benefit when FIDE fees are eliminated and FIDE serves the federations instead of taking from them and bossing them around like this. Consider the irony that some of the federations that just had their votes stolen by the ELE and FIDE have been paying fees to the people who did it!

The ELE was created after the 2010 presidential election led to disputes over the recognition of federations and, consequently, of votes in the election. Instead of creating an independent commission run by an institution outside of FIDE as some requested, it is composed of five representatives, one from each continent. The current group consists of four delegates and one former delegate, two of whom, Lima and Singh, are running on Continental tickets affiliated with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Muchimba and Murphy openly support Ilyumzhinov.

ELE member: Darcy Lima, Brazil; Bharat Singh, India; Mwinde Muchimba, Zambia; Andrei Korobeinik, Estonia; Margaret Murphy, US Virgin Islands.