Andrei Lubenski: Election campaign in Ukraine starts January 1, 2002

On Thursday, the Supreme Rada of Ukraine one more time passed the law “About Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine” after taking into account suggestions and criticism of the Ukrainian President (who already four times used his veto right). The deputies agreed with the president’s propositions to start election campaign 90 days before the election (not 170 days as it was planned earlier). Therefore, the start of election battles was postponed to January 1, 2002. At the same time, parties can carry out their congresses and conferences and form their election blocks long before starting the campaign. Instead of collecting signatures, candidates and parties will pay in a money deposit. For a party this sum makes 15,000 tax thresholds, for an individual candidate – 60 tax thresholds. The deputies agreed to the amendment, which permits to take part in election only to parties registered one year before the start of election campaign. Though some suggestions of the president were not accepted (for example about self-advance of candidates through initiative groups containing of 30 persons). Will Kuchma sign the new law? The president’s constant representative in the Supreme Rada, Roman Bessmertny supposes, he will. “I can confidently say the law will be brought into action”, said Roman Bessmertny quoted by Though everything is possible. Ukrainian socialists’ leader Alexandr Moroz announced the money deposit had created unequal conditions for individual candidates and for party candidates, so the constitutional court has to clear up this situation. On other hand, many observers notice introducing the money deposit was a forced measure connected with shortening time of election campaign. And besides, there are always some defects in the signature lists. Shortening time of election campaign was also a forced measure. It is suitable only for candidates possessing huge finances. Though according to Nikolai Tomenko, the Politics Institute’s director, the new edition of the law makes the election campaign “more real”, because thanks to shortening time of election campaign itself, time of “propaganda” will be enlarged. Therefore, electors seem to make “a deliberate choice”. Anatoli Matvienko, head of “Sobor” opposition party is of another opinion. According to him, shortening time of election campaign is aimed at limiting opposition’s possibilities in explaining its political position to the electorate. Matvienko supposes there is not pluralism in information field of Ukrainian state. Though, anyway, the law was passed. Now the president’s decision should be expected.

Andrei Lubenski PRAVDA.Ru Ukraine

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