Days Before Voting, Ukraine’s Parties Abandon Coalition Efforts while Observers Identify No Major Election Violations
United Liberty welcomes this guest contribution by Ina Kirsch, Managing Director of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a pro-market NGO that is interested in seeing Ukraine become more integrated into the western world through markets and political liberalization. Ukraine’s parliamentary elections will take place this weekend, and will feature electoral reforms that Ukrainians adopted broadly last November. These reforms aim to prevent corruption by making the process more transparent, and should result in a higher degree of representativeness of Ukraine’s diverse preferences. Learn more about ECFMU’s US Allies Project by clicking here. - Jason
In the lead up to Ukraine’s 28 October 2012 Parliamentary elections, polling indicates support moving toward the governing Party of Regions, with a close race between Batkivshyna and UDAR for second place. Those two parties had flirted with forming an official coalition, but amid a series of angry exchanges in the press, halted their plans. Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) issued the second interim report from its observation mission, noting progress in key areas but also some concerns regarding the country’s election process.
If you haven’t been following the political situation in the Ukraine since the nearly fatal dioxin-attack of former President Victor Yushchenko and the peaceful Orange Revolution, which the world watched after former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych stole the 2004 election, you probably aren’t alone.
I have family members who are currently stationed in Ukraine for work, which is why the latest political unrest has been especially of concern to me. Since the fall of the Soviet Union was within my lifetime, they have only existed as an independent state since 1990, and struggles with ethnic and linguistic fragmentation. What has happened since is something more complex and intriguing than could have ever been written in spy novels.
All things considered, the transformation of the Ukraine after the democratic revolution has been impressive. Once considered a hotbed of political corruption, in an effort to join the EU the new Ukrainian authorities are working to transform the country into a more transparent market economy, where quasi-government-like companies such as UESU could never exist. And despite the global economic slowdown, the reforms are working, as the country’s economy grew by 5.2% in 2011, with a 37% growth in exports.
In addition, serious reforms have been noted by the Council of Europe Group of States to combat judicial and political corruption. Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s Parliament, recently adopted significant reforms to its judicial system that will replace its Soviet-era Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The new CPC equalizes the powers of defence and prosecution lawyers in addition to numerous other reforms that bring Ukraine’s justice system in line with European standards
And, as a positive sign of reform in the Ukraine, they are opening their parliamentary elections this month to outside observers.
“Attempts to expand the military infrastructure of Nato near the borders of our country are continuing,” Medvedev told an annual meeting with the Defence Ministry’s staff.
Russia has described plans by the previous US administration to grant Nato membership to ex-Soviet Ukraine and Georgia, and to deploy elements of a US missile shield in Eastern Europe, as a direct threat to its national security.