Alexander Gorobets: Election infatuation in Ukraine

Nine months of the current year in Ukraine were devoted to the struggle between the parliament and the president for the new law about the parliamentary elections in this millennium. President Leonid Kuchma has vetoed the new law five times. There is even something mystical in the whole thing. The registration number of the latest version of the election law (No. 2182-2) give the “lucky number” 13, if adding them up.

Ukraine will hold the presidential elections in the year 2004. As the Ukrainian analysts say, Kuchma will try to win them for the third time – which is going to contradict to the norms of the current Constitution. There should be the adequate amendments made to the basic law of the country to achieve that. This is exactly the time, when “the tamed” parliament will come in handy. Such parliament can be formed in March of the year 2002, after the regular parliamentary elections are over. The new law is being prepared for them. On October 30 Kuchma signed the law, it was the sixth attempt.

It is an open secret that the new law about elections is Kuchma’s another victory over the parliament. The head of the state showed that it does not actually matter, how the parliament works and which laws is compiles. In the end in will be the President, who will have the last word to say. Kuchma signed the law, when it clearly mentioned that a half of the parliament would be elected in the majority districts – 225 deputies. Since there is not much time left before March 31, 2002, the presidential administration already has the “schedule” for the new pro-presidential majority.

The President also said that he would sign the law, only if the pre-election campaign would last for 90 days, not 170 like it was in the previous law. The opposition felt wounded. The power has already obtained control on all mass media, all anti-Kuchma newspapers were closed long ago, the TV channels are in the hands of the oligarchs and the “parties of the power.” So there is one way left for the opposition to communicate with the electors – from door to door. This does not seem to be possible to do in a majority district with 200 thousand electors within 3 months. And this is the norm, as stipulated in the law, signed at the end of October. The opposition gave up.

There is another doubtful norm of the new law, which is about running for the position of a deputy in the parliament. According to the previous order, the political parties and citizens had to collect signatures in order to register their candidacy. Now the signatures will be changed to a money pledge – about $100. So the political parties (there are 119 of them registered in Ukraine) will have to pay $45 thousand to the treasury. Needless to say, the majority of them will not be bale to pay that sum to participate in the elections.

The opposition fails to find the common ground. Two powerful political parties – the Communist and the Socialist party are getting farther and farther from each other. Julia Timoshenko, the leader of the opposition party Batkivshina (Fatherland) addressed to Viktor Yushenko – former premier of Ukraine. She offered to set up the joint pre-election bloc. But Yushenko seems to be very afraid of Timoshenko now – his former vice premier. Now they have very different viewpoints on the situation in the country. Julia Timoshenko said, she considered Kuchma’s criminal regime to be the major reason for all trouble in Ukraine. But Yushenko is very concerned about the consolidation of all political forces of the society. What consolidation can be, if the former vice-premier communicates with the radical and nationalistic parties and movements only?

Viktor Yushenko has recently made rather a harsh statement, expressing his attitude to the Forum of the National Salvation, in which Julia Timoshenko is the leader. He stressed, that his pre-election bloc would never work together with it. The observers in Kiev connected that statement with the rumours, saying the authorities were going to put Julia Timoshenko in jail again soon. However, Timoshenko is likely to gain profit from that, if it really happens. Her bloc will get more votes, and if she is elected to the parliament, she will be released from jail immediately and then take over as the President of the country at the next presidential elections.

There are less than 5 months left before the presidential elections in Ukraine.

AP photo: Julia Timoshenko

Alexander Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

Read the original in Russian:

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Editorial Team