Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yushchenko outlines his threats to democratic reform in his bid for a second term

Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yushchenko, has launched his bid for a second term of office promising a host of things he cannot deliver, He claims he will secure Ukraine the right to visa free travel within Europe and will dismiss Ukraine's parliament if they do not conform to his demands and adopt his proposed new constitution which would see the President invested in absolute power and control.

His platform for a second term was presented to a less then packed audience of members of his staff and the remnants of his party Our Ukraine who have remained loyal and supportive of the president.

Yushchenko's statements and reports in the media have demonstrated why he should not and will not be re-elected to a second term.

Yushchenko's demands that the parliament must adopt his proposed constitutional reforms or face dismissal shows a complete lack of understanding of Ukraine's laws and democratic values. Yushchenko attempts to force a referendum to impose constitutional change would be rejected by the courts as it is breach of constitutional order. This is not the first time Yushchenko has acted to usurp power unconstitutionally by seeking to impose his will over Ukraine's democratically elected parliamentary representatives. Ukraine's constitution cannot be amended by a simple majority voting at a referendum. It can only be amended with the support of two thirds of Ukraine's parliament. Any proposal to try and force constitutional reform will be rejected by the Courts and the international community throwing Ukraine back into ongoing civil conflict

Yushchenko's rhetoric is just that. Even if his attempts to turn the clock back and reinstate a presidential autocracy were presented to a referendum without wide support it would fail. His proposed reforms are undemocratic and unrepresentative. Under Yushchenko's model the President would hold absolute control and power over all arms of government including the executive, the judiciary and the parliament. Ukraine would no longer be a democratic state with proper checks and balances but subject to arbitrary will of the president.

The fact is Yushchenko cannot and will not be able to deliver any of his "promises". He has had five years in office and has failed to deliver stability or democracy. His actions have undermined Ukraine's interests and in the process set back democratic reform and development in Ukraine by 10 to 15 years. The key to European integration is political stability. Yushchenko's policies provides neither. With less than 4% support and with 83% of Ukrainians indicating that they will not vote for him Yushchenko will not be re-elected to a second term of office.