Thursday, October 29, 2009

What, Where When, Who, How?:The political posioning of truth

Controversy and doubt remain over Yushchenko's alleged poisoning with question being asked Was he in fact poisoned and if so who and by how still unresolved.  The evidence Yushchenko's claims he has to back up the allegation of poisoning has never been presented in a court of law or even the subject of a judicial inquiry.  It is all just hear say.

The death of JFK, Princess Dianna and other notable assignation attempts and conspiracy theories,  including 9/11 have all been subjected to a an open inquiry with the evidence subjected to cross examination.
President Yushchenko has been in office for nearly  five years and still the evidence has not been tested.
Why?  Was he even poisoned? 

A few months back  Yushchenko's allegations were brought into question with one of Ukraine's senior officers investigating the veracity of Yushchenko's allegations raising concern that the blood samples sent to Europe for analysis were sent via the USA and may have been tampered with as part of a political conspiracy.  The officer concerned has been "moved on" by forces close to the president.

Source: Kyiv Post

Andrew Wilson, author of “Virtual Politics, Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World,” said the poisoning case is important “because we know less today than we did five years ago.” He referred to the case as “Ukraine’s mysteriously uninvestigated poisoning.” Volodymyr Fesenko, chairman of Penta Center for Applied Political Studies, said prosecutors have not even established motive for committing the crime. “By pointing the finger at Russia now, the incumbent appears to be looking for sympathy abroad and for support in the upcoming election,” Fesenko said. “It’s always easier to blame someone else for your own failure.”

“Victor Yushchenko has not delivered on most of the promises he made five years ago. He is now hanging out the prospect of solving Ukraine’s most resonant crimes as a last-ditch attempt by him to save face,” said Taras Berezovets, a political analyst at the Kyiv-based Polittech think tank. “It will not work.”


Poll: Social and Political Psychology Institute

Poll: Yanukovych, Tymoshenko have highest presidential ratings Poll: Yanukovych, Tymoshenko have highest presidential ratings

Party of Regions of Ukraine leader Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko have the highest ratings among all the potential presidential candidates to run in the 2010 elections, a poll conducted by the Social and Political Psychology Institute under the Ukrainian Academy of Pedagogical Sciences has found.

Viktor Yanukovych
Yulia Tymoshenko
Arseniy Yatseniuk
Petro Symonenko
Viktor Yushchenko
Volodymyr Lytvyn
Sergiy Tigipko


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Poll: Research and Branding October 12-22


Source: Research and Branding
and Kyiv Post

The Research & Branding Group conducted the survey due to evaluate the population's attitudes to the actual issues of the socio-political life of Ukraine. Information collection were done by personal interview method in 24 oblasts of Ukraine and Crimea. Respondents were selected by quota sample, representing the state's adult population by place of residence (oblast), sex and age. The volume of the sample - 3118 persons. Expecting middle sample's error ±2,2%.

If Yanukovych and Tymoshenko had participated in the run-off, they would have received 41.9% and 29.8% of the vote respectively

Previous Research and Branding poll comparison table

V. Yanukovich
Y. Timoshenko
A. Yatsenyuk
P. Simonenko
V. Yuschenko
S. Tigipko

V. Litvin

3% would have voted for other presidential candidates. 
9.6% are ready to vote against all candidates 
6.8% said they would not go to polling stations, and 
9% were undecided.


Viktor Yanukovych registers for poll race

Ukraine's opposition leader, Viktor Yanukovych, has been registered as a candidate for Ukraine's Presidential election scheduled to take place on Sunday January 17, 2010. Yanukovych is the highest polling candidate and is generally expected to win the election at a second round ballot to be held sometime in February 2010.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the second highest polling candidates has yet to submit her documents for registration. 

Other candidates who are expected to put the name in the hat but have not yet applied for registration include

Oleksandr Moroz, leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine
Yuriy Kostenko Ukrainian Peoples' Party and member of the Our Ukraine bloc,

Prosepective candidates for election must submit their application for registration prior to November 6. The Central Election commission then has three days to process any nomination.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yushchenko facing certain defeat nominates for challenge

Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yushchenko, has submitted his nomination form for a second term  in office. Yushchenko continues to struggle to gain attraction and support.  He remains stuck on 3% coming in near the bottom of the list with over 86% of Ukrainians indicating that they will not support his re-election.

There are already three additional members of his own party nominating to replace him, Yuriy Kostenko, Oleh Tyahnybok, Anatoliy Hrytsenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk.  Each nomination weakening his chances of a comeback.

The list to date.

Additional expected participants

The following candidates have formally proclaimed their intent to run for president in the upcoming election:
Prospective candidates have until November 6, 2009 to register with the Central Election Commission


Monday, October 26, 2009

Yushchenko to self-nominate

Ukraine's embattled President, Viktor Yushchenko, will self nominate for the position of President raising speculation that he no longer has the support of his own party Our Ukraine. Yushchenko will now pay the 2.5 Million hrivna election deposit himself.  Currently there are two other members of Our Urkaine who have nominated to contest the Presidential election against Yushchenko. (Anatoliy Hrytsenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk)

Public opinion polls have consistently place Yushchenko's support rating at below 3% and he is not considered a serious contender for a second term.

Prospective candidates have until November 6, 2009 to register with the Central Election Commission.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Four then Seven Candidates register in first week

The Central Election Commission has formally registered four candidates,  with an additional three submitting documents on Friday.  The Commission is required to process any application within three days of documents being submitted.

      * in alphabetical order source Wikipedia

The big three contenders Viktor Yanukovych, Yulia Tymoschenko and incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko are yet to submit their request for registration.

Each candidate is required to pay an election deposit of 2.5 million hryvina (approximately US$300.00) Only the two highest polling candidates who progress to the second round of voting re entitled to a refund of the deposit. Candidates are also required to furnish a financial disclosure statement within 3 days of nominations being approved.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Yushchenko's proposed Constitutional reform rejected

The Ukraine Parliament has overwelmingly rejected Victor Yushchenko's proposed Constitutional Reforms

Yushchenko's has proposed that Ukraine revert back to a soviet style presidential autocracy where the President would have absolute power of Ukraine's parliament, the courts and the executive government. If implemented Ukraine would no longer be a democratic state. 

Ukraine's Constitution can only be amended with the support of two-thirds majority (300 or more) of the parliament.

48 out of 450 members (11%) of Ukraine's Parliament voted to support the president's proposed reforms.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sensational scandal dirty politics

Kyiv Post has published a very insightful article into the recent "Sex scandal at Artek allegations". It raises a number of serious issues not the least the potential misuse and abuse of "free media".

Media fails its first campaign test in coverage of sex abuse scandal

Today, 21:15 | Otar Dovzhenko, Special to Kyiv Post
Otar Dovzhenko gives an “F” to Ukraine’s media.

The word “scandal” doesn’t do justice in describing the bombshell that exploded in the Ukrainian media a week before the official Oct. 19 start of the presidential election campaign. By its destructive potential and its ability to shape the political campaign, “the pedophile case” can be already compared to the “tapegate” scandal of nearly 10 years ago.

The tape scandal involved the surreptitious taping of ex-President Leonid Kuchma by presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko. The recordings – purportedly catching Kuchma and top officials running the nation as a criminal enterprise – were released soon after the September 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. It took many years for the Melnychenko tapes scandal to die down, and many potential witnesses to the crimes described lost their lives along the way.

But the pedophile scandal, from the start, demolished the lives of two children and cast doubts on the honor and career prospects of several adults, including some parliament deputies. The scandal has the potential to alter the choice of Ukrainian voters in the Jan. 17 presidential election.

The Ukrainian media faced great challenges in covering the story of a journalist who allegedly sexually assaulted his own kids for three years, enlisting other acquaintances – including parliamentarians – to do the same. They had to weigh the obligation to inform society against the harm of spreading confidential and compromising information.

The drama was worsened by the lack of trustworthy sources: Every power institution in Ukraine is capable of falsifying documents and testimony in the interests of political expediency and self- protection.

Overly pluralistic, but passive in their attempts to search for their own information sources, Ukrainian media have long trained their audiences to accept the idea that every conflict has two sets of “truth.”

In this particular story, the horrific accusations against a journalist, three parliamentarians and managers of the Crimean children’s camp, Artek, proved believable to many people. It’s not difficult for Ukrainians to believe that politicians are capable of any perversion. On the other hand, it is also not difficult to believe that this kind of case could be a fabricated show to assassinate political careers.

Society had to decide between contradictory versions. Kyiv Lawyer Tetyana Montian, who represents the children’s mother, vouched for the criminal accusations contained in the leaked letter of parliamentarian Hryhoriy Omelchenko. Kyiv lawyer Eduard Bagirov, who represented the accused father, calls the case fabricated. The credibility and mental stability of the mother was called into question. The whole affair was dismissed as a nasty family fight exploited for political gain.

Artek director Borys Novozhylov, also implicated in the sexual abuse, claimed that he and Artek were being defamed as part of a plot to discredit the institution.

Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko’s version to parliament on Oct. 20 took a middle ground. He said that experts have concluded that the children were indeed sexually abused. The evidence, it appears, is solid against the father. But Lutsenko doubted the involvement of lawmakers and top management of the camp, alleging the mother tried to extort $2 million from the accused.

Lutsenko’s credibility, however, is also easily challenged by the opposition. He is a minister in Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s government while those implicated in pedophilia are deputies from her faction in parliament.

Pursuing sensational scoops, some journalists disregarded confidentiality and the interests of child victims. Others scolded the politicians. “There are basic rules, dear politicians. These are privacy of investigation, presumption of innocence. There are also basic decency and humanity. We shall not take part in your dirty games,” said a public letter signed by almost 100 journalists.

But in reality, separating the criminal element from the political one turned out to be too hard for the Ukrainian media. Isolated attempts to find the truth drowned in the sea of moralizing panic and cynical predictions as to the effects of this pre-election scandal on the result of the vote, and shocking (but not always necessary) details.

For example,ny ny media made much of Deputy Interior Minister Hennadiy Moskal’s obscene insult of lawyer Montian. The frenzied public fuss of over-excited lawmakers, who rushed tnitiate thangesges in laws to introduce hear (all ll the way up to chemical castration) punishment for pedophiles, got very serious coverage. As long as politicians continue to supply food for the sensation-hungry media, the children’s interests will be overlooked.

The fate of these two children is scary to think about. Until Oct. 13, when and websites printed Omelchenko’s letter to the president about this case, the 12-year-old boy and 9-y-old ld girl had alry dy been victims of inhn rapists.ts. Now they’re simply destroyed.

The documents that had been published on the Internet with no discretion made their names and surnames known to Ukraine. Later, Lutsenko divulged the secret of their adoption at a press conference on Oct. 14.

Photos of these children appeared on the Internetaken frofrom their father’s website, where they had been posted a year ago.

Other investigations released detailed circumstances of their abuse and their intimate experiences. They were further violated by their grandmother, the mother of the suspect, who told Inter TV and ICTV that the children’s mother had persuaded the children to testify untruthfully.

One can only hope that the children are not allowed to watch TV, read newspapers and go on the Internet, where it’s obvious that their personal disaster has become small change in political games.

“It’s regrettable that it was our publication that had first made the mistake and published the text of the deputies’ address, failing to black out the names of the victimized children (this mistake was corrected promptly). But keeping the names of the children secret would simply have been impossible in this story,” said Nadiya Babenko, chief editor of website, when asked about professional conclusions she made from this situation.

Others don’t recognize their mistakesd don’tn’t think about them, exinaining the euphoric disregard of the ethical norms with a single word: election. The Ukrainian media have failed their first campaign exam in professional ethics.

The children’s father, the prime suspect, had tried to commit suicide twice, even before his detention. Even if he lives through a court hearing and is acquitted, his reputation is destroyed.

Will the journalists worry about the consequences of their careless actions if the abuse story turns out to be nothing more than pre-election spin? I doubt it. They believe that there are at least two sets of truth. In at least one of them, journalists think they’re right.

Otar Dovzhenko is an observet Tt Telekritika, a media watchdog, at He can be reached at


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Constitutional Court rules on Law of the Presidential elections

Ukraine's Constitutional Court has brought down its ruling.  As previously reported in a leak the Court has ruled unconstitutional five provisions of the Law on the Presidential Elections.

1. The provision that required voters abroad to be registered with the consulate before having the right to vote. 

Now any citizen of Ukraine can turn up and apply to vote at a Ukrainian consulate abroad. In a strange and some what conflicting move the Court upheld the abolition of absentee voting.  Seems that if your are living abroad you can vote but if your holidaying in Ukraine or visiting friends or relatives you are denied the right to vote. If your voting abroad you still have to attend the consulate offices. In 2007 the number of voters voting abroad was less then 0.05%

2. The provision that members of the local CEC boards needed to be registered as living within the area has been removed

This is a reasonable change but will not effect the conduct of the election

3. Proposed limitations of court challenges have been removed.

It is not clear exactly as to what the repercussions of this might be. It is common for legislation to restrict frivolous and unsubstantiated challenges that might arise from time to time.  The general principle is that any error in the conduct of the election procedures MUST be demonstrated to have effected the overall results of the election before any challenge can succeed.

4. Abolished the two day limitation on hearing any disputes related to the conduct of the election

5. Removed the exclusive right of the CEC to declare a candidates registration invalid

The courts will now have the right to consider any application, the main problem with this is any court proceedings may effect the overall administration and timing of the election if any disputes are not quickly addressed.

Yushchenko was quick to claim that the Constitutional Court ruling was a win for his stance but the reality is it was not .  Not all the arguments provided by Yushchenko were upheld. The changes to the legislation will not effect the  overall elections.  The elections will still proceed as planned with the 90 days campaign and most important the 2.5 million hrivina deposit remains in place.  The Parliament may have to modify some aspects of the law but the legislation remains in tact.


Yushchenko backtracks on Ukraine's economic outlook

Having spent much of this year undermining Ukraine's economy Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko, has come out and admitted that Ukraine's economic situation is more optimistic than it had been expected at the beginning of the year.

What Yushchenko does not mention or give credit for is the handling of the crisis by the Tymoshenko government.


Parliament votes to remove Immunity

Ukraine's Parliament has voted 390 out of 438 taking the first step to amend Ukraine's Constitution and remove parliamentary immunity and limit Presidential immunity.

Under the provisions of Ukraine's current constitution Ukraine's President is the only person who has absolute immunity. Members of parliament currently have the same immunity as that afforded to Judges.

The proposed amendments means that the President can not be arrested or detained without the consent of the parliament. If the president is found guilty of an offense he automatically loses office.

Members of Parliament will no longer  be able to claim immunity from criminal liability.  They can not be arrested or detained without the consent of the parliament or a court order. They can be prosecuted.

The proposed amendment also removes a members of parliaments liability for defamation for actions and statements made within the parliament.  This brings Ukraine's constitutional provisions in line with other western democracies.

This should put an end to the political debate about parliamentary immunity even though not one member of parliament has ever been prevented from being prosecuted.

Viktor Yushchenko has campaigned to have Parliamentary immunity removed but in his proposed constitutional amendments he has retained immunity for Judges and the President.

The proposed amendments will be referred to Ukraine's Constitutional Court for review and will need to be represented to the Parliament for adoption in February 2010.

The main problem with the proposed amendment is that it leaves the President exposed to vexatious litigation. A requirement of 60% or two-thirds of the parliament should be required before the president can be detained or loses office would be better.

An earlier proposal to remove immunity from Ukraine's Parliament only, which did not include the President and Judges, received only 206 votes and as such was defeated.


Inna Bohoslovska suggests not to choose "best of the worst"

People's deputy of Ukraine Inna Bohoslovska intends this week to present its candidature for the post of President of Ukraine. All necessary documents will be submitted to the CEC by 23 October ", - said I. Bohoslovska in comments, uploaded UNIAN.

MP said that "the first time 90 days before the presidential election by more than half of the Ukraine did not want to vote for those who were in power. This means that the presidential elections in 2010 will be a choice between old and new. That's why I go to the president to protect people from the government that prokralasya and country - from the outside takeover. I like you, do not believe that someone from the old government can solve these problems".

According to Inna Bohoslovska, "in the crisis became clear that those in power the last 5-10 years, not able to change the situation for the better. Ukraine needs new faces. Instead, we propose to make a choice of "best of the worst".

Inna Bohoslovska is confident that Ukraine will develop only if the person elected President is able to protect people from stealing power and the country - from external control. "Ukraine has exhausted all post-Soviet life. And if 5 years or, God forbid, 10 years, the country will manage one of the founders of the current system of lawlessness, corruption and power trading, we forever stand needy third world countries "- said the MP.

Inna. Bohoslovska notes that it is ready to fight equally with the other presidential candidates to prove their professionalism and compliance with all the necessary qualities for a head of state. "Since 2002 I have consistently fighting for the arrival of new political and implement new ideas. Me and my team had proposed "development plan" - a strategy for Ukraine for the next 20 years. For me are not clans, I never rozporyadzhalasya budget funds, but in my experience of public figures, politicians, lawyers and crisis management. And finally, most importantly - I have a will, character and a great desire to bring order in our country "- she says.

As UNIAN reported May 25 this year Inna Bohoslovska announced her withdrawal from the Party of Regions to stand for election at the presidential election in 2010. "Society and the state must return the faith in ourselves, in our own strength, the ability of Ukraine to choose its path and its destiny. I'm sure: the problem can be solved only really new president of Ukraine. She comes to win a national flag of Ukraine, not the "color" the party flag "- emphasized in the treatment of deputy from May 25.


Poll: Eighty-three percent of Ukrainians would definitely not vote for incumbent President Viktor Yuschenko

Source Kyivpost

Eighty-three percent of Ukrainians would definitely not vote for incumbent President Viktor Yuschenko at the next presidential election, an opinion poll suggests.

Oleh Tiahnybok, leader of the nationalist Svoboda group, was second to Yuschenko in the "presidential anti-rating" poll taken jointly by the Yaremenko Ukrainian Institute of Social Studies and the Social Monitoring Center.

Seventy-eight percent named Tiahnybok when asked, "Who would you vote for under no circumstances?"

Parliamentary deputy Iryna Bohoslovska came third with 75%.

Anatoliy Hrytsenko, head of the parliamentary committee on national security and defense, and Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko each received 73%.

Former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych, leader of the opposition Party of Regions, and Arseniy Yatseniuk, leader of the Front for Change public initiative, were at the bottom of the list, with 45% and 47% respectively.
Yanukovych also enjoys the greatest support, the poll suggests. He would win 33.9% of votes if the election were held next Sunday.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko would receive 21.3%, while Yatseniuk would drum up just 11.1%
The survey, carried out on October 2-12, also suggests that the electorate has been increasingly active for the past month - 56% of those questioned said they were determined to go to the polls in the presidential election compared with 48% who declared such intentions in a poll on August 15-22.

Four percent said in October's survey were determined to stay away from voting compared to 5% in July.

The returns of both polls were made public at a news conference at the headquarters of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Monday.

A minimum of 10,400 people in 509 cities, towns and villages across Ukraine were said to have been questioned in both surveys.

The presidential election is set for January 17, 2010.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Let the Games begin

Yushchenko becomes a caretaker President with 90 days to go until Ukraine elects a new President

Today is the official start of Ukraine's Presidential election campaign 

90 days until January 17, 2010 when Ukraine goes to the polls to elect a new head of state.

All public opinion polls have been consistent in showing a final contest between the leader of the opposition Viktor Yanukovych and Ukraine's incumbent Prime-minister Yulia Tymoshenko. All other potential candidates come in a far distance behind.  Under Ukraine's Presidential electoral system  the two highest polling candidates will face off in a second round ballot to determine the winner.

Elections are not cheap and even more expensive when you have to two rounds of voting.

The 2010 Presidential elections are expected to cost over 1 billion dollars with a direct cost of one hundred dollars per round and a further estimated 100 million dollars per candidate in campaign costs.

Ukraine toyed with the idea of electing the head of state by a constitutional majority of Ukraine's Parliament as is the case in Moldova and other western democracies such as Greece, but failed to reach a consensus as to the terms of the new Constitutional requirements.

Axxording to the latest opinion polls incumbent President, Viktor Yushchenko, has less then 3% support . In 2004 Viktor Yushchenko enjoyed 52% support, his rating has since plummeted and he is now a certain to lose in the first round of voting.

Each candidate is required to pay a 2.5 million hryvina nomination deposit which will only be refunded to the two highest polling candidates that progress to the second round of voting.  The high deposit (Approximately US$275,000) is designed to try and limit the number of nominations that have no real prospect of winning. You fall sort you lose the election and your deposit and the people of Ukraine thank you for your contribution to State revenue.

Nominations open tomorrow October 20 and close on November 6. 


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Poll: Research and Branding Presidential Election (October 2009)


Source: Research and Branding


The Research & Branding Group conducted the survey due to evaluate the population's attitudes to the actual issues of the socio-political life of Ukraine. Information collection were done by personal interview method in 24 oblasts of Ukraine and Crimea. Respondents were selected by quota sample, representing the state's adult population by place of residence (oblast), sex and age. The volume of the sample - 3119 persons. Expecting middle sample's error  ±2,2%.

CommentThis poll is incomplete as only 69.90% is accounted for. (Missing 30.10% could be others, unknown, against all, will not vote)  Research and Branding did not published expectations on the outcome of a run-off between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko. Based on other polls which have been consistent Yanukovych is still in poll position with an expected participation rate of 85%

Update: UNIAN is reporting: Against all 9.4%, 6.0% will not vote and 11.2 were undecided. (26.6% leaving a shortfall of 3.5% and a high partipation rate of 90 to 94%)  

Previous Research and Branding poll comparison table

V. Yanukovich
Y. Timoshenko
A. Yatsenyuk
P. Simonenko
V. Yuschenko
S. Tigipko

V. Litvin


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Venice Commission: In review

Review on Law of Presidential Elections

The Venice Commission has published its "Joint Opinion on the Law on Amending some legislative acts on the election of the President of Ukraine adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 24 July 2009"

A. Nomination and Candidate Registration

14. Articles 9.4 and 56.5 include a restriction on candidacy based upon criminal conviction for any “intentional crime.”

The Venice Commission has rightly criticised the Legislation in its application.  A common criteria in assessing a persons rights to nominate for public office and the seriousness of any offence is to restrict anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offence resulting in a five-year term of imprisonment.  Someone who has committed a serious felony.  As the law stands it could be used to unfairly prevent a candidate who has a minor conviction  from standing or worst still the conviction could be politically motivated.  A minimum five year prison term is generally applied to only serious offenses and is a good means of classification in applying any prohibition in seeking office.  In the end it is the will of the people that decides who should represent them. Article 103 of Ukraine's constitution defines who can stand of public office.

The President of Ukraine is elected by the citizens of Ukraine for a five-year term, on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage, by secret ballot.

A citizen of Ukraine who has attained the age of thirty-five, has the right to vote, has resided in Ukraine for the past ten years prior to the day of elections, and has command of the sate language, may be elected as the President of Ukraine. One and the same person shall not be the President of Ukraine for more the two consecutive terms.

The President of Ukraine shall not have another representative mandate, hold office in bodies of state power or in associations of citizens, and also perform any other paid or entrepreneurial activity, or be a member of an administrative body or board of supervisors of an enterprise that is aimed at making profit. Regular elections of the President of Ukraine are held on the last Sunday of the last month of the fifth year of the term of authority of the President of Ukraine. In the event of pre-term termination of authority of the President of Ukraine, elections of t he President of Ukraine are held within ninety days from the day of termination of the authority.

The procedure for conducting elections of the President of Ukraine is established by law.

15. Article 44.2 Political parties be registered for at least one year prior to election day

This is not such a major issue.  As it only restricts the right of Party registration.  A candidate can still run as an independent in the absence of Party registration.  The one year limitation is reasonable but could be reduced to six months.  Fly by the night Party registration should be limited. This is not a point of law, more of an administrative policy.

16. Articles 45 and 51 set out requirements on the procedures to be followed by political parties (and election blocs) when they nominate candidates.

The above articles are reasonable as they provide an outline of a procedure to ensure that any decision of a Party are properly administered and complied with,  the task are not onerous.  More guidelines should be published so as to not allow for any misunderstandings and refusal based on a minor technicality. 

17. Article 49 Electoral Nomination deposit.

The provisions of a high deposit rate (2.5 million hryvina ~ US$0.01 per voter) does not infringe on the democratic rights of citizens or candidates. The requirement for a high deposit is justifiable.  Ukraine has adopted a two-round first-past-the-post voting system,  if no candidate has 50% or more votes then the two highest candidates progress to a second round run-off election. The potential for technical candidates (also referred to as "Spoiler Candidates") running in order to effect the outcome of the poll is considerable.  A high deposit is not unreasonable under the circumstances as it seeks to limit the number of candidates that do not have a serious chance of being elected but never the less  could affect the outcome of the two highest polling candidates. 

The current legislation provides that only candidates that progress into the second round of voting or who win in the first round are refunded their deposit.  Whilst this may be seen as rather high (Some counties have a 15% to 20% criterion) the refund provision is also not unreasonable.  If a candidate sincerely believes that they have a chance of winning the election then this is their choice and assessment. The deposit is designed to try and prevent misuse and abuse of presidential nominations. 

A better alternative would be for Ukraine to adopt a preferential "Instant Run-Off voting (IRV) system” Under a IRV system minor candidates do not detract from other candidates chances of winning the election. Minor candidates can play a positive as opposed to a negative role in that they can advocate a second choice preference. With a singe-round preferential election than a lower nomination deposit and return policy could be adopted. 

The requirement to pay a nomination deposit does not breach fundamental human right guaranteed by international and European human rights instruments. 

The merit behind the Venice Commission's assessment on the nomination deposit issue needs to be seriously questioned and one wonders if this is a political decision more then a point of law. Many Western democracies have required nomination deposits to be made/forfeited in order to try and limit the number of un-realistic nominations - Ukraine should be no different.

18. Provisions for nomination Signatures.

The law has rightly removed this provision as highlighted by the Venice Commission's report.  The issue of a high nomination deposit removes the need for a signatory requirement as they are both designed to try and limit frivolous candidatures (candidates that have no real prospect of being elected to office).  Again this is an issue mainly associated with the first-past-the-post two-round voting system. (See comments above on nomination deposits)


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Poll: Yushchenko rates 2.2% and not climbing or winning

Ukraine's incumbent president Viktor Yushchenko earlier this month stated that he would win the next Presidential election. An extraordinary achievement given that the polls have consistently shown him with less then 3% support.

The latest poll published by FOM has Yushchenko listed at 2.2%

KIEV, October 12 (RIA Novosti)

The leader of the opposition Party of Regions is leading public opinion polls in Ukraine ahead of presidential election scheduled for January 17, 2010, the UNIAN news agency reported on Monday.

According to a poll conducted by the Ukraine Public Opinion Foundation, 26.8% of voters are ready to cast their votes in favor of Viktor Yanukovych, a former prime minister widely seen as pro-Russian. Incumbent leader Viktor Yushchenko trails with a mere 2.2%.

Yushchenko defeated Yanukovych five years ago in an election re-run, which followed street protests against alleged ballot rigging. The power shift to a pro-Western leadership was known as the Orange Revolution.

Yanukovych's closest rival is Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, with 15.6%. Former parliamentary speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk is placed third with 9.3%.

Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko has 4%, former Ukrainian National Bank chief Sergiy Tygypko 1.6%, and Supreme Rada speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn 1.4%, UNIAN said.

A total of 15.2% of respondents intend to vote against all candidates, 6.7% are unwilling to go to the polls, and 6.7% are undecided.

However, 85.1% of respondents said they will vote.

The poll was conducted from September 26 to October 4 and covered 1,000 respondents in 85 populated areas of Ukraine, with a statistical error of 4%, UNIAN said.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

50 year landmark - America seeking a democratic revolution.

Fairvote USA challenges America to embrace democratic electoral reform and the introduction of IRV (preferential voting)


Friday, October 09, 2009

Heroes one week forgotten the next.

Nobel Obama on the rise Yushchenko not.

US President Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace prize amidst concern and puzzlement as to why?

Many also ask why was Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko, who along with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Four years on the latest Nobel Prize nominee will not meet with Ukraine's President Yushchenko during his visit to the United States, such is his fall from grace. 52% support in 2005 now as low as 2.8% in 2009.

and Mikhail Saakashvili is considered a war criminal

Whilst Obama is worthy of consideration I am not sure he as yet warrants such recognition.


Russia joins the US in shunning Yushchenko on his international farewell tour

Having been rebuffed by the US President during last weeks UN meeting in the United States, Yushchenko has again been denied another meeting with a head of state.  This time Russia.  Medvedev had no time to meet with Yushchenko during the regional meeting in Moldova this week.


US President shuns Yushchenko during UN meeting

Viktor Yushchenko was denied a meeting with newly elected President Obama.  Yushchenko hoped to meet with the President last week during Yushchenko's visit to the UN.  The shunning of Ukraine's President by the US is another sign of Yushchenko's diminishing influence on the international stage. The US administration clearly has written Yushchenko off as a bad investment and wants to remain at a distance knowing full well that he will not be in office in four months time.


Poll:Yatseniuk on the decline and Yushchenko below 3%

Yanukovych and Tymoshenko to face off in final round ballot

Poll: Yanukovych, Tymoshenko gaining popularity, Yatseniuk losing
With less then 99 days to go The trend is pretty much lock in. Yushchenko is still below 3% and Yatseniuk has lost ground to Tymoshenko.

Only Tymoshenko and Yanukovich are in position to progress to the second round of voting all other candidates are so far behind it is a two horse race. All other contenders are wasting their money and will lose their 2.5 million deposit.

At a cost of over one billion dollars the notion of holding a direct election seams pretty much a stupid idea and a total wast of limited resources.

Source Kyivpost SOCIS 

Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's popularity ratings have been on the upturn in recent months, while the rating of the Front for Change leader, Arseniy Yatseniuk, has dropped by more than 30%, the SOCIS pollster reported after a poll, conducted from September 20 to October 1.

Yanukovych would be supported by 28.7% of those polled (up 0.9% against July) and Tymoshenko by 19.0% (up 2.1%) according the poll.

Yatseniuk would muster 8.2% of the votes, down 4.9% against July, Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko 3.6%, Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn 2.9%, President Viktor Yuschenko 2.8%, banker Sergiy Tigipko 2.6%, and leader of the Freedom Association Oleh Tiahnyboka 1%.

In a hypothetical second round the Yanukovych-Tymoshenko margin would narrow to 40.3%-to-32.6%, respectively.

The prime minister would lead in 16 western and central regions and in Kyiv, and the Party of Regions leader in eight eastern regions, in Crimea and Sevastopol.

The poll was conducted in all regions on order from the Ukrainian Foundation for Supporting Reform. In all, 5,009 respondents were questioned.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Yushchenko's allegations: Under investigation

Agent Orange Poisoning

Source Russia Today.

The evidence of the 2004 poisoning of the Ukrainian President was falsified by high-ranking officials and Viktor Yushchenko’s family members, a representative of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office has said.

Larisa Cherednichenko, the head of the department for supervision of investigations into criminal cases of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, was working for the parliamentary commission looking into the circumstances surrounding the alleged poisoning.

The findings add yet another twist to the mysterious story that’s been puzzling many for five years.

Foreign Notes reports on an article published by Ukrainian Pravda which includes an transcript of the alleged telephone conversation.

Two questions stand out "Who was recording the conversation and why? and why was the blood sample routed to the Netherlands (Holland) via the USA?"


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Whose corpse is it? DNA testing to determine if missing head body is Gongadze

Doubt and suspicion has been cast on the identity of the decapitated corpse believed to belong to Ukrainian Journalist Georgiy Gongadze.

Georgiy Gongadze disappeared on September 16 2000. Later a beheaded corpse was found in the Tarashcha forest which was believed to belong to Gongadze.

Mykola Dzhyha, a member of Parliament, questioned the identity of the body found claiming that "Chief forensic medical expert of Ukraine, Yuri Shupik, and well-known anthropologist, Oleg Pylypchuk,stated that the body found could not belong to Gongadze because it had been lying there decaying since the previous winter".

The unsolved murder of Georgiy Gongadze has raised its head when prime suspect Oleksiy Pukach was arrested and detained in August amidst concern that the arrest was politically motivated and timed to coincide with the 2010 Presidential election.

Gongadze's mother, who has refused to bury the body of her son, has called for DNA testing to be made outside Ukraine to confirm if the recently discovered head belongs to the corpse found in Tarashcha.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Yushchenko: Bags are packed ready to go. Leaving for America


It turns out that Viktor Yushchenko has already figured in the summer of their future. That's when the American vice-president Joe Biden brought the news that Obama, unlike the previous administration, it has not seen the president of Ukraine. After that Yushchenko would not only put paid to the revival of "Our Ukraine" to create a campaign headquarters. He began to pack suitcases in the literal sense of the word.
In late summer with the Zhitomir airport to send a few planes in Canada. According source closer to the Presidential Secretariat, there were two or three "side", led by first lady uvezshih extensive collection of antiques collected by Viktor Andreyevich for many years.
Sources in the PR and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, Yushchenko enthusiastically watching all the time in his presidency, believe that the Canadian property through diplomatic channels exiting the U.S., home of Chicago-born Kateryna Yushchenko, Over recent years the areas of real estate in your own hometown. Note that according to financial disclosure president, members of his family in recent years spent on maintenance of assets abroad more stable than the Ukrainian real estate.
Prudence wife of the president means that Yushchenko could not agree on security guarantees with any of the main contenders for victory, as in his time managed to Kuchma and Yeltsin. Indirect confirmation of this can be found in the words of the president yet. September 24 before flying from the U.S.: "I will come back in six months." Something similar, he said, when his BP fired him from the Cabinet in 2002. But then, Yushchenko promised that he would return by the President. Now, about his status, he kept silent ...


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Yushchenko urged to resign as the President's Party "Our Ukraine" back Tymoshenko

A group of West-Ukrainian intellectuals on Thursday urged President Viktor Yushchenko and politicians from the 'democratic' camp to renounce plans to run for presidency in the upcoming election and to offer their supporters to vote for Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, "who has more chances to win in January 2010." Dr. Stepan Pavlyuk, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the chairman of the Congress of Ukrainian Intelligentsia of the Lvov Region said this at a news conference in Lvov. He said an appeal to Yushchenko and other politicians to unite around Timoshenko as a single democratic candidate had been endorsed at a congress of West-Ukrainian intellectuals in the town of Rakhov in sub-Carpathian Ukraine. The document that carries fifty signatures says the intellectuals view Timoshenko as the only candidate capable of running against the leader of the Regions Party, Viktor Yanukovich, who has huge electoral support in the industrialized eastern regions that are home to millions of native speakers of Russian. "It would be highly desirable for other aspirants from the democratic forces to weigh out everything and to take a pivotal decision," the document says. The intellectuals representing the largely agrarian, traditionalist parts of Ukraine recall that Timoshenko withdrew from the presidential race in Yushchenko's favor during the 'orange revolution' of 2004 when the situation was much the same. The political council of the pro-Yushchenko bloc 'Our Ukraine/ People's Self-Defense' called on all the democratic forces back at the beginning of the year to nominate a united presidential candidate enjoying mass social support. Yuri Lutsenko, the leader of People's Self-Defense has already made public his support for Timoshenko. A decision in the same vein is now expected from Our Ukraine, all the more so that a number of regional organizations of this party have come up with statements supporting the prime minister. However, Yushchenko told a news conference in Kiev with a note of self-confidence Wednesday that he will win he election. "I don't have the slightest doubt about it," he said.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Yushchenko Hi-flyer - Jetseting Beyond Budget

Living the high life on the public expense account

Yushchenko spent 21 million for foreign trips


Ukraine's president Viktor Yushchenko has spent up big on international travel amidst concerns that there is little to no gain from the expenditure leaving Ukraine to pick up the tab. 


Yushchenko always takes big suite in his foreign trips, spends millions, but often brings nothing useful back – no important agreements or serious contracts. The president has made 76 trips for the years of his presidency. In his first year Yushchenko spent 15.7 million and this year 20.9 million UAH. Leonid Kuchma, for example, spent only 5.9 million for trips in 2004.

Commenting on the president’s trip to Turkmenistan on September 15-16, vice speaker Mykola Tomenko, BYuT faction, said that Yushchenko used two planes and took with him a lot of officials, attendants and musicians.

Expenses for president’s upkeep rose by 31%, 1.6 milliard UAH from the budget.


Presidential election time table

Ukraine's Central Election Commission (CEC) has published the time table for the Presidential election

  • October 19: Official 90 day Election Campaign  period commences
  • October 20 to November 6: Nominations open
  • November 9: Deadline for nomination documents/submissions
  •      CEC has five days to assess and approve or reject nominations
  • November 11: Deadline for candidates to submit any corrections to documentation
  • November 13: CEC to finalise registration of nominations
  • November 15: CEC to publish nomination lists of candidates
  •      CEC provides certified copies of the voters list to all candidates.
  •      Within Three days of registration Candidates must provide a statement of assets and income
  •      Candidates allowed to commence official campaign one day after registration is finalised.
  • December 15: CEC to approve ballot paper format ready for printing.
  • January 2: Last day for public opinion polls to be published prior to election.
  • January 9: All ballot papers to be printed and ready for distribution to polling stations/districts.
  • January 15: Last day of public campaigning before polling day
  • January 17: Election Polling commences 8AM and closes 10PM


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Putting out Fire with gasoline

Yushchenko's Constitutional Reforms Anti Democratic

Viktor Yushchenko continues to push for his Constitutional reform.

If implemented it would spell the end to Ukraine as a democratic state. Instead of being a democracy Ukraine would become a Presidential autocracy.

Holding an open public debate where Yushchenko's version of constitutioanl reform is the only item up for discussion is not the way to go about seeking reform

Yushchenko can not legally change Ukraine's Constitution without the support of the Parliament.

Ukraine's Constitution can not be amended before the next Presidential election. 

The Parliament is the only body that can amend Ukraine's Constitution.

In accordance with Chapter XIII: Ukraine's Constitution can only be amended with the consent of no less than two-thirds of the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

In addition amendments to Chapter I — "General Principles," Chapter III — "Elections. Referendum," and Chapter XIII — "Introducing Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine," can only be amended by the parliament of Ukraine on the condition that it is also approved by an All-Ukrainian referendum designated by the President of Ukraine.

Any proposed Constitutional amendment also requires review by Ukraine's Constitutional Court and can only be finally agreed to at the next regular session of the Parliament following the date in which the Parliament first gave its consent. The next regular session is not until February 2010 and it is highly unlikely that Ukraine's Parliament will agree to any amendments prior to the Presidential elections in January 2010. The earliest any reforms can be considered would be September next year . So what's the rush and should there not be other alternative options?

Yushchenko knows he can not change the Constitution without the support of the parliament. So why is he pushing his reform package? The reason is simple Yushchenko hopes to sell the notion that his proposed Constitutional reforms are the solution to Ukraine's problems. They are not.

Yushchenko versus Yatseniuk

Yushchenko currently has less then 4% support. His main rival at this stage is Arseniy Yatseniuk, Yushchenko needs to boost his support to such an extent that he can match or prevail on Yatseniuk to withdraw from the race. Yushchenko hopes that Yatseniuk's support will transfer across and that the combined vote will put him ahead Yulia Tymoshenko and progress into the final face-off against Yanukovych.

As long as Yatseniuk and Yushchenko run against each other neither will progress to the final second ballot. Each one can only survive if the other withdraws.

Parliament versus President

Yushchenko seeks to play off the Parliament against the President in the hope that he will attract enough support from those who want to see Ukraine have a strong President. The problem is Yushchenko is not a strong President and he will most likely not be elected to enjoy the powers he now seeks. The powers he advocates will be invested in who ever wins the 2010 election.

So Yushchenko is playing a game of Russian roulette and he is hoping that the battle between the President and the Parliament will set him aside and give him a lift up. It's a big gamble and one that is built of straw. This strategy requires the country to come close to breaking point and the people of Ukraine being fooled into thinking that Yushchenko's proposed reforms are the solution to Ukraine's problems.

Proposed reform would exacerbate the problems and divisions in Ukraine. 

If anything Yushchenko's proposed reform would exacerbate the problems and divisions in Ukraine. Yushchenko's reforms are not democratic and will not resolve the conflict and divisions between the Office of the President and then Parliament. If implemented they would bring Ukraine to closer to breaking point and eventually possible civil war.

Presidential autocracy versus democracy

Yushchenko wants Ukraine to take a backward step and become a Presidential autocracy where the President would have absolute power and absolute control. the president would have absolute power over the courts, the government and the parliament. The parliament would have limited authority and if it is not to the President's liking he can dismiss the parliament without limitation or just cause.

Yushchenko's undemocratic Senate

Yushchenko's proposed senate is the only safeguard but it will not be a democratic. The Senate has an inbuilt bias towards Western Ukraine at the expense of Eastern and Southern Ukraine. The Senate's mandate will be based on Ukraine's regional Oblasts with each Senatorial region electing the same number of Senators. Zakapattia with just over 300,000 constituents will elect three senators the same as Donetsk with 2.6 million constituents. The undemocratic representation will create cause for resentment not unity.

Yushchenko's Senate can not be held accountable as it can not be dismissed. One third of the Senate will face election every two years with the same set of voters electing all three Senators by a first-past-the-post voting system. It is easy to see resentment escalating to the point where the system will be denounced outright by Eastern and Southern Ukraine who will feel cheated and denied a fair equal right of representation.

President's impeachment impossible

The fairness of the proposed senate is further diminished by the fact that the senate is the only body that can seek to impeach the president, made even harder by the requirement that the President can only be impeached if found to have intentionally committed a crime. Given that the President holds absolute immunity the chances of the President being convicted of a crime is virtually impossible short of determined civil unrest and a peoples uprising.

Yushchenko's President would have more power then the Russian Tsar.

More discussion