Sunday, March 26, 2006

Election Day: Vote of confidence

Election seen as a test of voters confidence in Ukraine's President

Whilst it is still too early to determine the outcome of today's election all indications are that it will be a close and fair election. We should not see the repeat of the "Orange Revolution" protests of the December 2004 Presidential election.

Many voter have express disillusionment with the direction and economic performance of Viktor Yushchenko and his government with most parties actively campaigning against his government.

This election overall will be seen as a test and a vote of confidence or no confidence in the Yushchenko/Our Ukraine government.

Public polls have the President who once commanded 70% voters support early in his term of office as President to less then 20% today.

Already their is talk about trying salvage the fall out between the Orange Revolution coalition partners. But the damage has been done. The President has been laden with allegations of corruption, failure to do more to address the wrongs of the previous government and to fight corruption. Ukraine's economy has been in free fall downwards as inflation increases well into the double digits.

Yushchenko has not been helped by his won family and supporters.

His Son who held copy right over the Orange Revolution logo has apparently made millions of dollars in the commercial sales of or promotional material. Money that MST Ukrainians thought was going to support the activities of the Orange Revolution and not line the pockets of the Presidents Son. Whilst the President earns around US$25,000 per year his son drives expensive cars and reported owns a US$15,000 mobile telephone.

Reports have also been recorded of his Brother driving up to one of the campaign Roms and taking large sums of money donated, money that was supposed to assist in the ongoing political campaign. there is not record of disclosure or accountability of where the money has gone.

The failure of the President to veto laws that grant Parliamentary immunity to Ukraine's political representatives is seen by most as a recipe to promote corruption again raising doubts as to the Presidents commitments to good governance.


The tell tale sign of the decline in the Presidents support will be seen in comparing the vote between Our Ukraine and his former coalition partner Yulia Tymoshenko.

Whilst the President and his supporters will try to paint the picture different with a positive spin that fact remains if, as expected, Yulia Tymoshenko out polls Our Ukraine this will seriously undermine the President's mandate and ability to govern and in return can only weaken Ukraine and any possible "Orange Coalition" further.

It is not so much the outcome of the election that will determine Ukraine future but the ability for it to form a stable and workable coalition, one that will work for the benefit and improvement of Ukraine overall.