Six lessons of Ukrainian election campaign formulated by Taras Kuzyo

Canadian of Ukrainian extraction, Taras Kusyo works for the Centre of Russian and East-European Research of Toronto University. According to his numerous publications, a conclusion could be made that he is a sober analysts understanding processes which, in particular, take place in Ukraine. Many observers were interested in research of the situation which took place after the election. The scheme presented by Taras Kusyo is too simplified, though in some things Taras Kuzyo is right, all the more that he views the elections comparing it with that one of 1998. First. Communist Party of Ukraine has not received majority and from now on it will not possess the biggest faction in the Supreme Rada. CPU faction will consist of 66 people, that is almost two times less than the 115-member faction which participated in the work of previous parliament. It is even less than 80-people faction Communists had in 1994-1998 Supreme Rada. The Communist Party let Yulia Timoshenko and Natalia Vitrenko’s blocs have so-called “protest” voices. Ukrainian population which reduced by 4 million in comparison with 1989 census also influenced the Communist Party’s electoral base – pensioners. As a result, the new parliament is the least leftist among all previous parliaments. Some voters were attracted by two communist “clones” – CPU (United) financed by oligarchs and radical splitters from CPRS, who got together 1.81 percent. Natalia Vitrenko’s bloc, which gathered 3.22 percent, also seized CPU’s votes. Second. Results of the election showed why the authorities had preferred to keep a compound coalition in proportion 50 to 50. Ideologically oriented right-wing and left-wing parties prefer a proportional system thanks to which they could earn points. While ideologically amorphous centrists, oligarch and pro-presidential parties prefer a majority system, in whose framework their “independent” candidates could be elected. Our Ukraine and CPU got 70 and 59 places proportionally to their lists, and 42 and 7 places according to majority districts. At the same time, For United Ukraine bloc got 36 and 66 places. Moreover, the 93 “independent” candidates will most likely be pressed upon, making them join For United Ukraine. Social-Democratic Party of Ukraine (United) is an exception from this rule. This is the only oligarch party which could act independently and even defend some ideology. Though, despite big financial resources and control over TV channels 1 + 1 and Inter, the party managed to draw only 2 percent of votes in comparison with 1998. Questionable success of the Social-Democratic Party will badly influence the party leader Viktor Medvedchuk’s chances in the presidential election of 2004. In the same way, Democratic Party of Ukraine – Democratic Union bloc supported by oligarch Alexandr Volkov managed to gather only 0.88 percent of votes. Therefore, finances not always turn into political power in Ukraine. Third. Results of the election witness the growth of political and civil awareness of Ukrainians. Anatoly Gritsenko, president of Razumkov Centre of Economical and Political Analysis wrote: “The power thinks we all are idiots.” It is obvious, that they are not right. Cloned and false oligarch and pro-presidential parties, like Women for Future (2.11 percent), COP (2.01 percent), the Greens (1.3 percent) and Rukh za Ednist – Movement for Unity (0.16 votes) lost and they probably had to be donors of For United Ukraine bloc. The same fate seems to have befell Our Ukraine, which states its real result was 27 percent of votes, which is by 3.5 percent less than the official. At the same time, the electorate activity was less than in 1998, which influenced results of For United Ukraine and CPU. Disappointment in the public will only grow, if the people understand that many deputies of For United Ukraine party had earned their places dishonestly. Moreover, Ukrainians prefer voting for persons (Yuschenko, Timoshenko or Alexandr Moroz) to voting for blocs and parties. The Green Party, the only oligarch party which failed the election. Because the electorate knows that the party did not introduce any bill in 1998-2002 Supreme Rada. Fourth. “Ruling party” of Leonid Kuchma, For United Ukraine raised its popularity from 4 to 10-11 percent. It is not a victory, taking into account that falsifying of the election’s results worked for this bloc. Its weak results in proportion system were compensated with the results of majority districts, where most of violations were registered. Fifth. Results of the election confirmed “regional” division of Ukraine. The west and the central Ukraine, with the highest civil activity of the population, voted for Our Ukraine, Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc and SPU. Our Ukraine gathered up to 60-75 percent of votes in these regions in comparison with 5-10 percent in the east Ukraine. Moreover, the western regions showed that they are against authoritarian presidential regime supported by oligarchs. Two Russian nationalist blocs earned only 1.16 percent, which shows their views are not popular in Ukraine. Kuchma keeps speaking about implementation of results of the 2000 unsuccessful referendum. This could cause that Ukraine becomes a pro-presidential republic with a weak parliament, though for this parliament majority is necessary. According to March poll of the Razumkov’s centre, only For United Ukraine supports the idea of implementation of the referendum’s results. Prime-Minister Anatoly Kinakh is sure that the new parliament will be capable to implement the referendum. The “ruling party” has rely on Dontsk and Lunask regions, where it has won. According to OSCE, the biggest number of violations were registered in Donets Basin, called by Zerkalo Nedeli weekly “mini-Byelorussia.” Sixth. In next months, the parliament will have two tasks: to elect a new parliament leadership, which is not easy because these posts have a key role in forming of agenda of the parliament, and impeachment of President Kuchma, this initiative is supported by SPU and Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc. Whether the latter is successful, depends on Our Ukraine with a powerful anti-Kuchma wing and at the same time with such members who are ready to cooperate with For United Ukraine in some questions.

Alexandr Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Kiev Ukraine

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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