Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Eonconmist review

The Economist has an excellent article in review of Ukraine's modern political history

The Swing analysis between the 2004 presidential election, 2007 Parliamentary election and last Sundays vote shows that there has been little overall movement in voters support/allegiance in Ukraine. Whilst in theory the election could be close much of it depends on the split of secondary alternative support from Minor candidates who did not make it into the final round ballot.

Ukrainian banker turn presidential candidate Oleh Tihipko (Whom two of my good friends in Kyiv who work in the banking sector voted for) spent over 100 million dollars in his campaign with much of his support coming from Kyiv and the Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine. Dnepropetrovsk being his strongest region. (See voter distribution maps below).

The real issue and problem with Ukraine finding its stability, was its decision to retain the soviet style presidential system. Had Ukraine adopted a parliamentary model as did all other Soviet Communist countries (Estonia and Latvia in particular), that are now part of the EU, Ukraine would have been much further down the track to being a stable independent nation.

Viktor Yushchenko has consistently opposed Ukraine adopting European values and European models and a parliamentary system of governance. His dismissal of the parliament in 2007 which caused seven months of political and civil unrest, was primarily aimed to prevent moves afoot to remove the president from power. In 2008 he again sought to undermine stability in Ukraine's parliament following attempts by the Tymeshenko government to reform Ukraine's constitutional structure and consider a parliamentary model.

In 2004/5 as part of the agreement to hold a third round re-run ballot Ukraine took a significant step towards a parliamentary system but left in place as a compromise a president with significant and counter productive powers in place. Power that would only work provided the president and parliament were reading from the same page or even the same  book.

In 2007 the Parliamentary Assemble of the Council of Europe recommended that Ukraine become a full parliamentary democracy in line with other EU states.

Viktor Yushchenko instead has proposed that Ukraine take a backward step and revert to a presidential autocracy where the President would appoint the government and have absolute power and control over the Parliament and the courts.

Ukraine is at a cross roads, It needs to relay the foundation stones and rebuild it's democratic structures. Adopting a European parliamentary system along the lines of Estonia and Latvia would be the best option.

As long as Ukraine retains the soviet style presidential system it will continue to falter and suffer ongoing power struggle and conflict of authority between the president and the people's democratically elected parliament.