Friday, September 21, 2007

International Observers' Liaison Group Observes the Transparency of the Elections in Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine, September 20 /PRNewswire/ -- While the early parliamentary elections in Ukraine are just about to enter the finishing straight, the favourites in the race were already determined some time ago.

All polls reveal that the Party of Regions - the party delivering the foundation of today's ruling coalition - is clearly ahead.

Recent studies indicate that the Party of Regions is on course to repeat last year's success and is likely to even outperform it by winning about 33 to 35% of the votes. The Bloc Yulia Timoshenko (BYT) is lagging more than 10% behind, and the pro-presidential political group "Our Ukraine - People's Self-Defense" (OU - PSD), which is headed by the former minister of the interior Yuri Lutsenko, is heading for a safe third place. Most analysts are unanimous that the fourth party to enter parliament will be the Communist Party, which is predicted to receive 3 to 5% of votes. The remaining participants (among them the bloc of former chairman of parliament V. Lytvyn and the Socialist Party of current chairman O. Moroz) are currently ranging in the "danger zone".

Forecasts suggest that the Party of Regions will clearly dominate the elections, thereby gaining the basis to repeatedly participate in the formation of ruling coalitions and that the party's chairman Viktor Yanukovich will continue to serve as the country's prime minister.

Meanwhile, the early elections are being held on an obviously insufficient and at times even frankly questionable legal basis. The underlying resolutions obviously have a political rather than a constitutional character. The elections became possible as a result of a situational compromise reached between the principal political forces, above all between the Coalition of National Unity, on the one hand, and the president and the united opposition, on the other.

It is common knowledge that the resources of the Ukrainian administration are deployed in the electoral race. Against the background of the artificially initiated parliamentary crisis, the Council of National Security and Defence as part of the presidential administration began to high-handedly take over many government functions. Additionally, since May, the president and the people associated with him have actually been blocking the activities of the Constitutional Court that would have been able to act as arbitrator in the complex crisis.

In many regions, the heads of the regional and district administrations were also appointed heads of the electoral committees of the president's bloc, raising justified doubts concerning the legality and transparency of the elections in the regions headed by loyal and dependent followers of the president