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.