Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Poll: Ukraine's drag queen finalist in the 2007 Eurovision song contest is registering 2% voter support in parliamentary vote

Another Poll showing more and less the same result. Acording to the published poll Party of Regions and the Communist will re-secure a majority in the Parliament with 242 and the opposition on 208 seats.

Source: Ukrayinska Pravda

The only likely change is the split within the Socialist Party/Peoples Self-Defence Party.

New comer to the electoral statistics includes 'For Ours!' Verka Serdyuchka's Bloc (VSB), Ukraine's drag queen finalist in the 2007 Eurovision song contest, who is registering over 2% voter support.

Poll Statistics Publication Date
Party/Value   % Poll % Vote % Seats
PoR 31.0% 33.7% 213
BYuT 17.5% 19.0% 120
OU * 12.8% 13.9% 88
CPU 4.3% 4.7% 29
PSD * 0.0% 0
SPU 1.0% 1.1% 0
NVB 1.3% 0
LB 2.1% 2.3% 0
VSB 2.2% 0
Others/Unkown 20.0% 21.8%
(Including Informal)
Particpation Rate   91.9% 100.0% 450
No Vote 8.1%
Gov (PoR+CPU) 242
Opp (OUPSD+BYuT) 208


Sunday, July 29, 2007

President Сonstitutionaly Out of Сontrol

If ever you need move proof that Ukraine's president, Viktor Yushchenko, is constitutionally out of control take another look at the recent admission that the president will need to issue a forth decree or is that fifth decree to try and bring his decrees and dismissal of Ukraine's Parliament in line with Ukraine's constitution.

The President of Ukraine is to issue a fourth decree to try and bring his decrees in line with Ukraine's Constitution.

Rather then admit that the decree is correct errors in the earlier decrees. the president's supporters are trying to pass it off as am offical launch of the parliamentary camaign. Earlier Moroz had warned of the need for a further decree, something that the office of the president denied at the time.

Ukraine, according to the office of the president, has been without a parliament since April 2 when the president issued his first decree.

Amidst ongoing concern that the president's decrees are unconstitutional the president was forced to issue a second decree the day after the constitutional court retired to consider its verdict. The office of the president was hoping that by cancelling his first decree and issuing a second decree that would also negate the ability of the constitutional court to rule on the presidents first decree as the president decree was no longer in force.

It was when the constitutional court decided to push on and consider the second decree in light of the argument presented on hearing the first decree.that the president continued the real possibility that the Constitutional Court was about to declare the president's actions unconstitutional.

In order to prevent the Constitutional Court from ruling on the illegality of his decrees, which would have provided a clear definitive indication that the president was indeed out of control and also facilitated grounds for the president's impeachment, the president illegally dismissed three constitutional court Judges (two have since resigned and a third judge won an appeal against the presidents dismissal).

When the president issued his third decree in May, following agreement to hold elections in Autumn he stated at the time that there would be no further decrees replacing the third decree.

The third decree was also challenged and a further appeal has been lodged in the Constitutional Court.

You see Ukraine's Constitution states that an election must be held within 60 days of the termination of authority of the parliament. For all intensive purposes the president has dismissed the parliament unconstitutionally and has set an election date beyond the 60 limitation. The on again off again dismissal.

Article 82 of Ukraine's Constitution was designed to ensure that Ukraine would not be without a parliament for no longer then 60 days let alone 6 months. In theory, If you subscribe to the view of the Office of Ukraine's President, the president can unilaterally issue decrees then cancel them and issue another decree indefinitely.

Ukraine's constitution only empowers the president to dismiss Ukraine's parliament under three circumstances outlined in Article 90 of Ukraine's constitution (Extract below). None of the conditions outlined in the constitution currently apply which indicates that the president's decrees are in fact unconstitutional.

The only constitutional grounds which the president now relies on is Article 90 clause (3) following the recent resignation of over one-third of Ukraine's elected members of parliament. Even then arguably clause three can only take effect 30 days after September 4 , the date scheduled for the commencement of Ukraine's next regular parliamentary session (Article 83 of Ukraine's Constitution).

Article 82 of Ukraine's Constitution states
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine works in sessions.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is competent on the condition that no less than two-thirds of its constitutional composition has been elected..."

This means that come September 4 the parliament will not be able to commence its next scheduled regular parliamentary session and thirty days on the president will then have the constitutional authority to dismiss the parliament and according to Article 90 hold fresh elections within 60 days from the date the president is constitutionally able to dismiss the parliament.

- Past related Links

June 16 - Opposition resignation provides legal grounds

June 7 - Questions and doubts on the constitutionality of President's Third decree

June - 5 President issues third decree

June 5 - President issues third decree

May 29 - Political Agreement signed

May 22 - Constitutional Court to rule against President's decrees.

May 11 - Yushchenko Sacks Third Constitutional Judge

May 4 - Second decree on the rocks

May 1 - Second Constitutional Court Judge opposed to presidents actions dismissed

April 30 - The Constitutional Court purge begins to avoid judicial review First judge sacked

April 25 - President issues second decree postponing election until June 24 following Court ruling

April 20 - European Assemble PACE calls on Ukraine to respect the outcome and decision of Ukraine's Constitutional Court

April 17 -Ministry of justice legal opinion on constitutionality of president's authority to dismiss parliament.
April 2 - First Decree by president

Constitution of Ukraine May 25, 2006

- Extract of Ukraine's Constitution -

Article 90

The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is terminated on the day of the opening of the first meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of a new convocation.

The President of Ukraine may terminate the authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine prior to the expiration of term, if:

(1) there is a failure to form within one mo

nth a coalition of parliamentary factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as provided for in Article 83 of this Constitution;

(2) there is a failure, within sixty days following the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, to form the personal composition of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;

(3) the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine fails, within thirty days of a single regular session, to commence its plenary meetings.

The early termination of powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine shall be decided by the President of Ukraine following relevant consultations with the Chairperson and Deputy Chairpersons of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and with Chairpersons of Verkhovna Rada parliamentary factions.

The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, that is elected at special elections conducted after the pre-term termination by the President of Ukraine of authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the previous convocation, shall not be terminated within one year from the day of its election.

The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine shall not be terminated during the last six months of the term of authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine or President of Ukraine.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Compromising Justice

Ukraine's President's Newly Appointed Constitutional Court Judge Compromised The Independence of Ukraine's Highest Court

A recent interview, published today by Ukranews (Copy below) , with Ukrainian Constitutional Court Judge Stepan Havrsh has brought into question the professional independence and seriously compromised the independence of the Constitutional Court.

Stepan Havrsh was a political appointment made by Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko following the presidents illegal dismissal of three constitutional Court judges on the eve of the Constitutional Courts ruling on the legality of the president's own decrees.

The interview raises a number of issues not the least being concerns about a member of the supreme court prejudging and discussing cases before the court outside the court itself.

Stepan Havrsh has confirmed, what has clearly perceived as having been the real motive of the president inference in the functioning of the court, the court is to avoid considering the question of the legality of the presidents decree at all costs.

Stepan Havrsh was reported as stating "I cannot imagine myself as the Constitutional Court in condition in which three political leaders signed a political/legal agreement on holding early elections, which also stipulates the constitutional basis for holding the elections... How the court can agree to consider such a petition under such conditions".

Obviously accoring to teh Presidents appointee Stepen Havrsh the political agreement between various political forces overrides due process and constitutional law in Ukraine.

The president's interference in the functioning of the court and the statement made by the president's political appointee seriously undermines democracy and rule of law in Ukraine.

It should also be noted that a court of appeal has ruled that the president's actions in dismissing the three constitutional Court judges was illegal. Two of the judges have since tendered their resignation and one judge has been reinstated following the decision of the Kyiv appellant court.

If confidence is to be restored in the Ukrainian legal system then the Court must make a definitive determination on the question as to under what authority and condition the president has to dismiss Ukraine's democratically elected parliament.

The President himself had made a request to the Constitutional Court seeking the Courts deliberations on the same question.

For Stepan Havrsh to dismiss the request for review by the statutory number of members of parliament prior to the courts due consideration and determination only further adds to the disintegration of public confidence in the ability of the Court to act in fulfillment of its own constitutional duty.

In the circumstances where the Constitutional Court is unable or unwilling to consider the question of legality of the president's actions then it is more so incumbent of the European Venice commission to independently review constitutionality of the president's actions. Failure to do so only compromises and undermines the independence of the Parliamentary Assemble Council of Europe.

Constitutional Court Judge Havrysh Doubts Constitutional Court Will Consider Petition On Constitutionality Of September 30 Rada Elections

Ukranews (08:39, Tuesday, July 24, 2007)

Stepan Havrysh, whom President Viktor Yushchenko recently appointed as a Constitutional Court judge, has expressed doubt that the Constitutional Court will consider the petition that 46 parliamentary deputies filed over the constitutionality of the presidential decree that scheduled early parliamentary elections for September 30.

Havrysh was speaking to Ukrainian News.

«I think that there are no prospects of the Constitutional Court considering this petition because it is presently on an annually recess. The court is not working,» Havrysh said.

At the same time, Havrysh said that Constitutional Court judges could consider such a petition at an emergency session, which the court’s chief justice has the right to convene.

«However, [an emergency session] will mean that the Constitutional Court is challenging the Ukrainian political stability. Moreover, I cannot imagine myself as the Constitutional Court in condition in which three political leaders signed a political/legal agreement on holding early elections, which also stipulates the constitutional basis for holding the elections... How the court can agree to consider such a petition under such conditions,» Havrysh said.

According to him, 10 Constitutional Court judges also have the right to interrupt the court’s recess and convene such a session.

However, Havrysh described such an option as highly improbable.

«The reactionary counter-forces that exist within the [ruling] coalition are simply attempting to undermine stability in the country, not even to disrupt the elections but specifically to undermine stability in the country,» Havrysh said while commenting on the decision to file such a petition with the Constitutional Court.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, 46 parliamentary deputies have filed a petition in which they ask the Constitutional Court to consider the constitutionality of President Viktor Yushchenko's June 5 decree that scheduled early parliamentary elections for September 30.

On June 5, Yushchenko signed the decree No. 497/2007 that scheduled early parliamentary elections for September 30. The decree changed the date of the early parliamentary elections for the third time and re-worded the reason for the elections.

He cancelled his previous two decrees, in connection with which parliamentary deputies also filed petitions with the Constitutional Court.

All Constitutional Court judges, with the exception of Chief Justice Andrii Strizhak, are on vacation from July 16.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Poll: 64% Ukrainian citizens speak for Viktor Yushchenko’s resignation

Center for Sociological and Marketing Research SOCIUM conducted a survey called “Social and Political Problems in today’s Ukraine. Situation and prospects of development.” 12,690 respondents all over Ukraine were questioned. The respondents were asked to answer 38 questions. SOCIUM sent the results of the survey to REGNUM. Below, you can see information about social and political attitudes of the Ukrainian population.

So, 55.4% assess negatively consequences of the Orange Revolution. 11.4% have the opposite view. 14.1% are more negative than positive about the outcomes of the Orange Revolution, 11.1% are neutral, 8% are more positive than negative about it.

Answering the question whether financial position of a respondent has changed and how, 42% said nothing changed; 30.3% state their financial position worsened, 26.1% believe their life improved, 1.6% gave other answers.

The survey also checked confidence rates of Ukrainian political leaders. It turned out that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich has the highest confidence rate: 33.3% trust him fully, 22.3% more trust than do not, 10.1% more distrust him than trust, 22.5% distrust him fully, 11.8% found it difficult to answer. He is followed by:

Pyotr Simonenko, Ukrainian Communist Party leader, — 14.3% (22.6%; 10.4%; 27%; 25.7% correspondingly);

Rinat Akhmetov, Member of the Ukrainian Supreme Rada — 11.8% (19%; 7.8%; 27.8%; 33.6%);

Yulia Timoshenko, leader of BYT, — 10.6% (13.4%; 8.1%: 58.1%; 9,8%);

Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine – 8.2% (10.3%; 11.0%; 58.6%; 11.9%);

Alexander Moroz, Speaker of the Ukrainian Supreme Rada – 5.9% (16.5%; 17.8%; 31.9%; 27.9%).

According to results of the survey, if the elections to the Supreme Rada were held next Sunday, 41.4% of voters would vote for the Regions Party, 14.7% for BYT, 11.8% for Our Ukraine Bloc, 7.5% for the Ukrainian Communist Party, 4.5% for the People’s Defense by Yuri Lutsenko, 1.8% for the Progressive Socialist Party, 1% for the People Bloc by Litvin, 0.7% for the Socialist Party. Other political forces received insignificant support.

63.7% of the respondents support the idea of impeaching acting president Viktor Yushchenko. 27% oppose such initiative, 9.3% found it difficult to answer. At the same time, 56.8% believe that the extraordinary elections to the Ukrainian Supreme Rada are not needed now, 30.9% think the opposite, 12.3% found it difficult to answer


A host of stars line up to be elected

I want to see Verka Serduchka in Parliament?

Ukrainian 2007 Eurovision Song contest runner up, Verka Serduchka, has indicated s/he will run for Parliament.

Source: Ukrainska Pravda

There is nothing new in comedian celebrities running for public office. (Ukraine's previous Eurovision Contest winner was elected to the parliament in 2006)

Much of the challenge laid down by Ukraine's drag queen is more about media attention and publicity then it has to do with politics, policies, democracy or good governance.

If anything Verka Serduchka, Ukraine's infamous drag queen will provide some light entertainment if not seriously effect the outcome of Ukraine's election and international standing.

Verka Serduchka has yet to meet Ukraine's strict requirements for party registration before s/he can nominate for the election. Some commentators say that Verka Serduchka may even attack more then 3% of the vote, if that is true then s/he will also elect 15 more people.

Even if s/he does not reach the 3% threshold s/he will effect the overall outcome of the September 30 poll.

Votes supporting Verka Serduchka's candidature have to come from somewhere and more likely then not they will come from the disillusioned youth sector, the first time voters or those that feel that participating in the election will not produce any meaningful change or outcome.

Even if s/he does not obtain 3% of the vote required to get elected Verka Serduchka's campaign will effect the outcome of the election. His nomination will increase the voter participation rate which in turn determines the extent of the 3% threshold barrier, making it that much more difficult for parties such as Lytvyn, the Socialist Party and Natalia Vitrenko from being elected. More reasons why Ukraine should seriously consider adopting a preferential voting system.

It is early days yet and the full script is still in development.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Poll Indicates Balance of Power in the Hands of Ex-Parliamentary Speaker Lytvyn

Another poll has been published this week. (19 July, 2007)
Source UNIAN

The outcome of this poll shows that the government would receive the lions share of the vote with a possibility of ex-parliamentary speaker Lytvyn party holding the balance of power and securing 18 seats.

Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko's Party Our Ukraine (OU) combined with the People's Self Defence Party (PSD) have not really picked up much support following their recent announcment that they will run as a single partuy bloc. OU/PSD combined vote actually dropping one percentage point.

The poll indicates a voter participation rate of 92% which is very optimistic.

Poll Statistics Publication Date 19-Jul-07
Party/Value   % Poll % Vote % Seats
Poll All-Ukrainian Poll
PoR 28.5% 30.7% 187
BYuT 20.3% 21.9% 133
OU * 11.6% 12.5% 76
CPU 5.3% 5.7% 35
PSD * 0.0% 0
SPU 2.0% 2.2% 0
NVB 0.0% 0
LB 2.8% 3.0% 18
UP 0.0% 0
Others/Unkown 22.2% 23.9%
(Including Informal)
Particpation Rate   92.7% 100.0% 450
No Vote 7.3%
Gov (PoR+CPU) 222
Opp (OUPSD+BYuT) 210
Lytvn Bloc 18


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Muddy waters of deception

Hypocrisy designed to send the "right" misleading message

In an article published by the European Voice and republished by foru-ua.com Ukraine's President, Victor Yushchenko, comments are open to interpretation and claims of being designed to muddy the waters of deception.

Yushchenko starts off by stating

"Over the last few months, Ukraine’s young democracy has faced a difficult challenge. This has taken the form of a constitutional crisis and an attempt by certain parliamentary forces to monopolise power by illegitimate mean."

It could rightly be argued that the office of president is the real cause of the current constitutional crisis facing Ukraine today and that the president himself has acted illegally and contrary to Ukraine's constitution.

Yushchenko goes on stating

"European parliamentarianism is the heart of Ukrainian democracy. The Ukrainian people want their rights and freedoms to be guaranteed properly, not ritually".

Whilst the President proclaims the virtues of Europe's Parliamentary system and Ukraine's desire for their rights and freedoms to be guaranteed, the president's actions in unconstitutionally dismissing Ukraine's democratically elected parliament most certainly can not be seen as protecting the rights and freedoms of Ukraine. Democracy is based in the rule of law and the actions of the president are in direct opposition to the principles of democracy let alone Europe's long standing tradition of parliamentarism.

"Our recent crisis demonstrated a threatening disparity between the democratic slogans of certain politicians and their commitment to democratic values in practice. Combined with flagrant constitutional violations, clear examples of political corruption sparked off public resentment and paralysed the work of parliament and government"

Yushchenko has forgotten or is once again trying to avoid the question of legality of his own actions. Two wrongs do not make a right.

"Our partners throughout Europe know that the snap election being held on 30 September is not extreme but an ordinary, valid tool of democracy, an opportunity to renew our politics and repair the relationship between the people and their government."

Does Europe really support the actions of the Ukrainian president and if they do how can they support the actions of a head of state in unconstitutonaly dismissing a democratically elected parliament? What Europe had supported and called for was a political solution and agreement to resolve the current conflict but the underlying problem remains.

The real issue that needs to be addressed is the question of the power struggle between the office of the president and the parliament, democracy versus dictatorship.

Yushchenko's attack on democracy in Ukraine went as far as the president interfering in operation of Ukraine's Constitutional Court in order to avoid and prevent judicial review of his own actions.

Fresh elections may provide some short-term realignment of political forces but it most certainly will not resolve the underlying divisions n Ukraine.

The question of legality of the president's actions remain unanswered.

Until the Constitutional Court rules, if at all, the authority of the president will always be brought into question.

The question of legality of the president's actions are being overshadowed by the advancing election campaign but it never the less still remains an important question that can not be ignored or swept under the carpet. It sets a very dangerous precedent for Europe to sit back and turn a blind eye to a Head of State acting against the constitution of his own nation.

In the absence of a functional Constitutional Court it is incumbent on the European Community to review the constitutionality of the president's actions.

This is a question that PACE's Venice commission should and must consider if it is to maintain confidence in its ability to consider issues objectively and without bias. The Venice Commission is already familiar with the shortcomings and workings of Ukraine's Constitution. It is without any doubt the most qualified independent body capable of reviewing the actions of the president in creating the current crisis.
Pace and the Venice Commission has rightly criticised the "Imperative Mandate" provisions of Ukraine's Constitution and PACE recently recommended that Ukraine seriously consider adopting a full parliamentary system in line with all other European States.

Victor Yushchenko has not openly addressed these two basic but essential issues.

In fact he is headed in the opposite direction to that recommended by the European Community. Victor Yushchenko has not only came out and championed the "Imperative Mandate" provisions of the constitution but he has used it as a means of justify his unconstitutional actions in dismissing Ukraine's parliament one year after it was elected. Yushchenko and his party our Ukraine want to see Ukraine take a backward step and invest more power and authority in the hands of the president, a position that he currently holds.

Other issues such as the adoption of first-past-the-post voting system and suggestion that Ukraine adopt a law giving Ukrainians the right to bear arms all prevent Ukraine from adopting European standards which in turn threaten and undermine Ukraine's possible future membership of the European Union.

Yushchenko closes his letter of deception by calling for the removal of immunity that Ukrainain politicians currently possess. One policy that deserves support and future consideration.


Yushchenko: Future can still be Orange

Over the last few months, Ukraine’s young democracy has faced a difficult challenge. This has taken the form of a constitutional crisis and an attempt by certain parliamentary forces to monopolise power by illegitimate means. Among other things, this crisis has revealed serious weaknesses in our political institutions and a lack of responsibility on the part of some of our leaders.

Our task now is to remedy these problems in a way that allows Ukraine to move forward again.

I want to reassure our friends across Europe – especially those who were so generous in their support during the Orange Revolution – that Ukraine will emerge stronger as a result of the steps we are taking to overcome our problems. In consulting the people directly through new elections, we are showing that Ukraine will never step back from the path of democracy. Mistakes have certainly been made, but brick by brick we are building our own democratic tradition rooted in European values.

European parliamentarianism is the heart of Ukrainian democracy. The Ukrainian people want their rights and freedoms to be guaranteed properly, not ritually. We must not only acknowledge the obvious gains of the last three years, but face up to inherited and acquired problems. We must learn to see each success and each failure as important elements of our democratic evolution.

Our recent crisis demonstrated a threatening disparity between the democratic slogans of certain politicians and their commitment to democratic values in practice. Combined with flagrant constitutional violations, clear examples of political corruption sparked off public resentment and paralysed the work of parliament and government.

In my opinion, European parliamentarianism means a constructive dialogue between the parliamentary majority and opposition, and a willingness to exercise power with humility, responsibility and restraint. Parliament can function when the majority ignores the opposition and blatantly revises election results; parliamentarianism cannot.

We are grateful to all European institutions for following the situation closely and encouraging a peaceful, negotiated solution. Our partners throughout Europe know that the snap election being held on 30 September is not extreme but an ordinary, valid tool of democracy, an opportunity to renew our politics and repair the relationship between the people and their government.

More than new elections, the Ukrainian people want change in the way that the business of politics is conducted. That is why I have initiated a profound renewal of the country’s political system. One of its cornerstones is repealing immunity for parliamentarians. This is essential if the integrity of parliament is to be restored. Parliament is for making laws, not hiding from them.

We desperately need new, fair and unbreakable rules of state and public life, an honest and independent judiciary, and political institutions strong enough to defend the constitution when it is attacked. We also need political leaders who accept their responsibility for making the system work in the national interest.

The elections in September are an opportunity to begin that work afresh.

Instead of being a point of further division, I want them to become a celebration of Ukrainian democracy and our determination to pursue a European path. With your help, we can realise that hope.

Article in European Voice
By Viktor Yushchenko


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Polls Polls Every Where A Poll

One more poll published today- you be the Judge

Ukrayinska Pravda has published another poll this one shows a similar result to previous polls. The Ukrayinska pravda poll was conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Fund and Ukraine Sociology Service Company conducted a survey among 2000 respondents aged over 18 throughout Ukraine with the following result:

Poll Results % of population

Party of Regions, 33.3%
Our Ukraine, People’s Self Defense bloc, 16.9%
Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc gained, 16.9%
Lytvyn’s People’s Bloc, 1.6%
Socialist Party, 1.3%
Progressive Socialist Party, 1.2%
National Democratic Party, 0.8%
Social Democratic Party (united) 0.3 %

2.9% of respondents will support nobody and 19.2% are undecided.

The above data represent 91% of eligible voters

Translated into possible seats in Parliament this represents

Translated into possible seats

Party of Regions (PoR), 206
Our Ukraine, People’s Self Defense bloc (OU), 104
Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT), 104
Communists Party of Ukraine (CPU), 35

The survey was conducted between June 19 and July 2.
The margin of error is 2.2%.


Bucking Trends

Poll shows Four Parties will be elected to Parliament and a win to the opposition

The analysis of a new poll published by for-ua.com predicts three parties being elected to parliament. The analysis published on the For-ua.com site is wrong as four parties will be elected according to the data published.

Based on a 85% participation rate four parties would be elected to the parliament.

The poll shows little gain for the Our Ukraine "Mega bloc" with Yulia Tymoshenko’s vote showing a 3% increase. Party of Regions is listed at 26% which is 7% lower then poll last week.

Analysis of the results of the poll based on 85% participation rate indicates

This poll also shows a high undecided vote

Parliamentary Seats

Date 12-Jul-07

Poll Social Perspective

PoR 181
BYuT 160
OU 90 * Includes PSD party
CPU 19
LB 0
UP 0


Gov 200
Opp 250


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

September Poll

A contest of Presidential Dictatorship versus Parliamentary Democracy

Reports in the media are speculating that the September parliamentary elections may well end up becoming a referendum on Ukraine reverting to a presidential dictatorship or retaining a system parliamentary democracy.

Ukraine's president Viktor Yushchenko wants to regain power the power that he lost when Ukraine opted for a parliamentary democracy as opposed to a presidential system.

Yushchenko has claimed that the constitutional changes that were adopted in 2004 were done so in haste. He has conveniently ignored that fact that there was two years discussion on proposed changes to Ukraine's constitution and that the transition from a presidential dictatorship to a parliamentary democracy has seen Ukraine begin to fall in line with all other European states. All of which are parliamentary democracies

With just over 10 weeks until the September poll, comments in the media indicate that Yushchenko may call a snap referendum on the question of constitutional reform. The president having trashed and ignored Ukraine's constitution and deliberately undermined the functioning of Ukraine's legal system is now placing his bets on the belief that Ukraine will support a reversal of direction away from a European Style democracy and return to a system of presidential rule. Of course this is best done in haste with little time given for proper and informed debate.

Any proposed changes to Ukraine's constitutional order should be considered outside of then political election cycle and prior to the next Presidential elections due in 2009. Yushchenko himself was elected n the understanding that Ukraine would make the transition from presidential to parliamentary rule.

There are more checks and balances under a parliamentary system of governance then there is under a presidential system. The executive government is held to account on a daily basis by the parliament where as under a presidential system there is little to no accountability.

The Parliamentary Assemble Council of Europe (PACE) has called on Ukraine to adopt a full parliamentary system in line with other European states. yet the president is embarking on a campaign of living Ukraine away from a European style of democracy.

The presidential party has proposed the creation of a bicameral parliament which on the surface would appear to provide more accountability, but much depends on where the true power lies. If Ukraine falls back on adopting a presidential system than any benefits of a bicameral system would not exist. power and the right of governance would lie in the hands of one individual as opposed to a council of the peoples representatives.

Any decision to hold a snap referendum would need to be considered with skepticism.

If there is to be a referendum then the President should fulfill and honour the petition signed by over 4 million Ukrainians requesting a public referendum on question of Ukraine joining NATO.

If a referendum on parliament versus presidential system is to be held then it should be prefaced with reference to adopting a full parliamentary system in line with other European states or adopting a US style presidential system, then and only then will Ukraine be Abe to make an informed decision as opposed to one that is presented by stealth.


Lutsenko declares support for Yushchenko but failed to offer support to Yulia

Our Ukraine- People ’s Self Defense bloc leader Yuriy Lutsenko has pledged his loyalty to Viktor Yushchenko in the lead-up to the 2009 Ukrainian Presidential elections but fails to offer or indicate his support for Prime-minister following the expected September 30 elections.

Speculation is rife that Our Ukraine will seek to oust Yulia Tymoshenko from PM's spot.

Lutsenko has ruled out his nomination for the Prime-ministers job leaving open the position for an Our Ukraine nominee by the president.

Meanwhile the opposition continues to try to build its image by promoting itself as a united democratic pro-west force. The use of such labeling is questionable given the president's attacks on Ukraine's democratic institutions and his unconstitutional dismissal of Ukraine's democratically parliament.

To help counteract and soften the criticism that the president has acted autocratically the president has indicated that he is prepared to support Viktor Yanukovych right to become Prime-minister leaving open the door to suggestions of a grand coalition should the September poll not produce the desired outcome.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Our Ukraine Opposition's tactics

A time bomb ticking or a placebo?

The opinion polls have consistently shown little change in voting support with the Governing Coalition between Party of Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine tip to hold onto power. The only change is due to the loss of support shown for the Socialist Party of Ukraine headed by Olexandr Moroz.

Our Ukraine's hope and tactic is to try and muster as much support by seeking to include a loose alliance of as many minor parties under their umbrella as they can.

In 2006 27% of Ukrainians were effectively disenfranchised as a result of the 3% participation rate voting threshold. In theory, if successful, this could give the opposition or to be more precise Our Ukraine the edge it needs to creep over the line and win 50% or more votes.

Every vote counts but not every vote is transferable

Our Ukraine is actively trying to win over parties such as Lytvyn and Party Viche to join their ranks the sweetener is that by signing up to a coalition of self interests, minor political parties, will avoid the pitfall of the 3% threshold barrier and be assured of winning parliamentary representation.

The President and Our Ukraine's strategy comes at a price and is faced with serious risks along the way, namely Stability.

Our Ukraine does not have a good track record of negotiation and compromise and it is difficult to see how the new look Our Ukraine will function in government should they be elected. Details of the Our Ukraine/People Self-Defence agreement have not been published. So it is not easy to determine how they will operate and how each of the parties will be given a voice let alone the sharing of seats.

The Imperative Mandate provisions of Ukraine's Constitution, which is overwhelming embraced by Viktor Yushchenko has whilst condemned by the European Parliamentary Assembly as being undemocratic, will provide some constraint over the revised Our Ukraine coalition of self-interests.

Under the Imperative Mandate regime members of the Our Ukraine coalition will not be able to vote outside the party bloc. They effectively have their hands tied and lose their independence and ability to implement policy independently from the block as a whole. In theory Our Ukraine bloc members will be obliged to tow the party line. A party in which Our Ukraine holds the majority.

The other hurdle facing the Our Ukraine bloc is Yulia Tymoshenko.

Yulia Tymoshenko's team, unlike the other minor parties, has resolved to go it alone. Yulia will retain the right of independence as a group giving them more flexibility in how they will vote.

Yulia Tymoshenko is facing the distinct possibility of losing out to the new-revised opposition coalition party.

If Our Ukraine "plus" manages to secure more votes then Yulia's Party then Yulia's desire to regain the Prime-Minister's seat will be on tender hooks as the agreement between Our Ukraine and Block Yulia Tymoshenko is who ever secures the most votes in the election will have the right to nominate Thor candidate for Prime Minister. For every party that signs up with Our Ukraine the less likely Yulia will become PM.

The full extent of division in the opposition will undoubtedly become apparent when and if the opposition is faced with the task of governing the country.

Our Ukraine will endeavour to present a image of unity in the lead up to the September poll but how united are they? What is their policy for example on NATO membership? Will members once elected be faced with the reality of being part of a government and unable to cross the floor and vote against coalition partners?

The tactics of Our Ukraine may win out in the short term but it is a recipe for instability and division just waiting for the chain reaction to explode.

There is eleven weeks until the election and without doubt other political forces will also be considering their position before the dealine for registration in the leadup to the September 30 election. United you stand divided you fall.