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Parliamentary Elections 2002
RCC Political Review
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Parliamentary Elections 2004
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    2002 Parliamentary Elections

    Opinion: Seize the decade!

    Ukrainian analysts and journalists agree that the March 31 parliamentary elections will be significant for two reasons. First, this parliament will sit until 2006, beyond the second (and final) term of current president, Leonid Kuchma. His post-presidential fate will be decided, to a large extent, by the makeup of the next parliament. Secondly, the next president will likely emerge from among the MPs elected this year. Given the administrative advantages of the presidential chair, the next president is likely to serve two five-year terms also, until 2014.

    But these elections also have another special significance, one that can turn into a convincing asset for the country's tattered international image. For the first time since independence, there is an electoral alternative that can displace the Communists as the single most popular political force in Ukrainian politics.

    That bloc is Nasha Ukrayina, a coalition of center and right wing parties, led by former Prime Minister Victor Yushchenko.

    Opponents charge that the coalition is haphazard and situational. They argue that it is comprised of disparate individuals with incompatible ideologies. The only thing that unites Nasha Ukrayina, according to opponents, is the desire to ride into parliament on the Yushchenko horse.

    Evangelists claim that they stand united behind Yushchenko, and are willing to make sacrifices for a greater agenda. They believe that his 16-month track record as PM has proven that a definite break with the past is possible.

    When the bloc was first announced, Nasha Ukrayina's poll numbers placed it in first place. The latest polls show Nasha Ukrayina falling to the Communists' popularity level (consistently 19%). One recent poll even has the Communists beating Yushchenko. About one-quarter of voters are still undecided, but the fight for first place is limited to these two contenders. The next closest party, the United Social Democrats, trail the two by more than 10%.

    Nasha Ukrayina is losing ground through a concerted campaign to discredit the bloc and its leader, on most of the national TV outlets and tabloids. So far in the campaign, Yushchenko's public appearances in the regions, including local media outlets, have been sabotaged at least three times. Campaign 2002 has shown that elections in Ukraine's young democracy are a sordid business. These may go down as the dirtiest elections ever.

    Not surprisingly, the Communists and oligarchs are doing everything possible to throw wrenches into the Yushchenko campaign machine. What is alarming, however, is that they are joined by some nationalists, pro-presidential politicians, and other center, center-right political forces, that purport to be anti-Communist in their convictions.

    It is easy to see how Yushchenko represents a real threat to the Communists and oligarchs. But why the others?

    Rather than join together and think about Ukraine's future in strategic terms, the majority of the political elite is content with focusing energies on internal strife. Their main concerns are short-term tactical victories for their respective parties, clans, and fiefdoms. And those concerns coincide with those of other forces, bent on the nostalgia of seeing Ukraine part of some resurrected brotherly union.

    Indeed, there seems to be little concern for the fate of the country beyond 2004 - the year of the next presidential elections - among that elite.

    When the country awakes with a political hangover on April 1, 2002, the worst joke possible will be that the Communists beat Nasha Ukrayina for the parliamentary majority. If that in fact happens, it will unfortunately be a joke that Ukrainians played on themselves.


    The above was provided by
    RCC Political Review
    RCC Political Review


    About RCC Political Review

    RCC Political Review is a new information product devoted to reporting and analyzing political developments in Ukraine. It is currently distributed free-of-charge in electronic format as an e-mail message and A-4 format Word document. Materials published in RCC Political Review may only be reproduced with the consent of the Editorial Board. Upon reproduction, citing and crediting RCC is mandatory.

    To find out more about RCC's research, analysis, writing and reporting services, please contact our new Ukraine office. RCC's new Ukraine office is located at 25/40 Ivana Franka, Suite 20 in Kyiv, Ukraine, 01030. Call us at + 380 (44) 223-63-63, or contact us via e-mail - info@rccpr.com.ua to find out how you can put RCC's experience, know-how and resources to work for you.

    RCC Political Review is produced by the Editorial Board:

    Stephen Bandera, Yarema Bachynsky, Mark Suprun, Lubomyr Kwasnycia, Jerry Dutkewych and Basil Danchuk.

    RCC - the most experienced Western communications firm working in Ukraine.


     

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    Timothy Snyder: Ukrainian History, European Future. Timothy D. Snyder is a well-known historian and professor of history at Yale University. Speaking at the National University 'Kyiv-Mohyla Academy' on May 15, 2014 on deep connection and strong bonds between Ukrainian and European history.


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