AUR#872 Sep 27 Make Your Vote Count & Get More Involved; Star Power; Newborn Christian Democrat; Voter Fraud; Dirty Tricks; Power & Democracy

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ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR           
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary


Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
 
UKRAINE’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
Sunday, September 30, 2007, Articles From:
Kyiv Post, BBC, PBN, AFP, Reuters, Wall Street Journal,
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), DPA, Telegraph,
Irish Times, Baltimore Sun, UNIAN, Business Ukraine,
ICPS, UCIPR, Channel 5, Eurasian Home, ITAR-TASS
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 872
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2007
 
INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

1.  UKRAINIANS: MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT
Editorial: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Sep 27 2007
 

2AND GET MORE INVOLVED
Editorial: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

3Q&A: UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Sep 26, 2007

4PBN UKRAINE ELECTION UPDATE
PBN Ukraine Election Update, Issue 2
The PBN Company, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Sep 25, 2007

 
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE KEY TO NATIONAL UNITY
5 Kanal TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1600 gmt 26 Sep 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed Sep 26, 2007

6STAR POWER DRIVES UKRAINE’S POLITICS
The pretty blonde, the pockmarked financier, the reformed ex-con
By Conor Humphries, Agence France Presse (AFP)
Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, 26 September, 2007

7UKRAINE’S “ORANGE REVOLUTION” DUO FIGHT DISILLUSION
By Ron Popeski, Reuters, Ternopil, Ukraine, Mon 24 Sep 2007

8NEWBORN CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT
Yulia Tymoshenko has reached out to the middle-right with her political
platform. Her chances in the Ukrainian parliamentary elections are good.
By Konrad Schuller, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, September 23, 2007 (In German)
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #872, Article 8
Washington, D.C., Thursday, September 27, 2007 (In English)

9UKRAINE AND POLAND: SPITTING IMAGE
Commentary: By Adrian Karatnycky, The Wall Street Journal

 New York, New York, Thursday, September 27, 2007

10UKRAINE POLITICAL MACHINE REGIONS AIMS TO

FLATTEN OPPONENTS IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), Kiev, Ukraine, Wed, 26 Sep 2007

11EAST-WEST TUG-OF-WAR DIVIDES VOTERS IN UKRAINE POLLS
By Conor Humphries, Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Savastopol, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

12PARTY OF REGIONS SACKS PAUL MANAFORT
By Oleksy Pedosenko and Olha Kuryshko
The Ekonomicheskie izvestia, No. 165 (698) in Russian
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #872, Article 12, in English
Washington, D.C., Thursday, September 27, 2007

13UKRAINE CAMPAIGN HEATS UP WITH FIGHTS, TYPOS
Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Kiev, Ukraine, Wed, Sep 26, 2007

14UKRAINE POLL COULD END ORANGE REVOLUTION
By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow, Telegraph
London, United Kingdom, Tue, Sep 25, 2007

15.  DIVISIVE UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS MAY

SEE RE-EMERGENCE OF ‘ORANGE’ COALITION
By Daniel McLaughlin in Kiev, Irish Times
Dublin, Ireland, Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

16UKRAINE DEMOCRACY NEEDS U.S. HELP
Commentary: By Joseph Tydings
The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, MD, Wed, September 26, 2007

17VOTE FRAUD FEARS SPREAD AHEAD OF POLL
By John Marone, Staff Writer, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sep 26 2007

18DIRTY TRICKS: USEFUL ELECTION TOOL IN MODERN

UKRAINIAN DEMOCRACY
Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), Kiev, Ukraine, Wed, 26 Sep 2007

19UKRAINE’S ELECTION WATCHDOG NOTES BAD

QUALITY OF VOTER ROLLS
UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian gmt 21 Sep 07
ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 21 Sep 07
Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 21 Sep 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Friday, Sep 21, 2007

20ELECTION OBSERVERS DESCEND ON UKRAINE
Tammy Lynch, Business Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Sep 24, 2007

 
21 THE LIFE OF YUSHCHENKO
Analysis & Commentary: By John Marone
Kyiv Post Staff Journalist, Kyiv, Ukraine
Eurasian Home, Moscow, Russia, Monday, September 24, 2007
 
CLOSER TO POLITICS
By Natalya Shapovalova, ICPS Political Analyst
International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS) Newsletter #375
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, September 3, 2007
 
POWER VERSUS DEMOCRATIC PERSPECTIVES
By Svitlana Kononchuk, Political Program Head, UCIPR
Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, September 25, 2007
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1
 UKRAINIANS: MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT

EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Sep 27 2007

Building democracy has been a messy, dangerous and sometimes deadly
process in Ukraine since the collapse of the Soviet Union. But the roots
have sprouted.

Looking back, it can be said that for the country’s leadership, democracy
has often been no more than a declaration, a pledge to Western partners
left on paper alone.

This pleased Kyiv’s off-and-on again allies to the north, whose relations
thrive with authoritarian regimes that abuse and oppress their citizens.

Much of the progress made in the building of a true democracy in Ukraine
is the work of the Ukrainian people themselves.

They have overwhelmingly gone to the polls election after election,
regardless of the poor choices for presidential and parliamentary candidates
they had, and regardless of the public cynicism engendered by the broken
promises of those candidates after they were voted into office.

Ukrainians once and for all sealed Ukraine’s fate as a democracy with the
Orange Revolution of 2004, after hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians hit
the capital’s central square to peacefully protest a massively fraud-marred
presidential vote. Kudos!

And while the post-revolutionary period of unfulfilled promises of the last
two years has seen great disillusion arise in the hearts and minds of those
who took a stand for a new era of democracy, freedom and economic
prosperity, the Post urges those Ukrainians who are eligible to vote to
remember one thing.

Through voting, and protest, and more voting, they have started to break the
levers of their own manipulation from above and have laid the foundation for
the universal understanding that this country, its leaders, officials and
politicians, will eventually run this country in the people’s best
interests, and not their own (a government of the people, by the people and
for the people – US President Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address).

That’s why, on the eve of the Sept. 30 parliamentary elections, the Post
strongly urges Ukrainians to get out and vote, because your vote counts. Not
voting is not an answer, but a step backward toward your manipulation by the
powers that be.
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LINK:
http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/editorial/27438/

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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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2.  AND GET MORE INVOLVED

EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, Sep 27, 2007

The Kyiv-based think tank, the International Center for Policy Studies
(ICPS), advised in a recent newsletter this month that instituting primaries
in Ukraine’s evolving political landscape would be a good way to galvanize
the country’s developing political parties into meeting the public’s growing
demand for democracy and democratization.

Primaries, or preliminary elections, would also be a good way to bring more
voters into the political processes and electoral life of this country,
which is something that it still desperately needs, despite the progress
that has been made in building democracy here over the last several years.

“Since Ukraine switched to a parliamentary-presidential form of government
and proportional election system, political parties have become key players
in formulating and implementing government and local policies.

But, to cope with this level of responsibility and power, they need to be
more effective and democratic, which means getting closer to voters at all
levels and gaining their trust.

Here, Ukraine can make use of the experience of Western countries that have
long resolved similar problems by forming party lists on the basis of
primaries,” ICPS wrote.

The Kyiv Post strongly agrees.

The main reasons for instituting primaries would be to strengthen party
lists, increase party membership and voter support, make the election
process more democratic, and strengthen the link between a party and civil
society.

Today, Ukrainians play too little of a role in the area of internal party
politics. And too few citizens are members of parties. It is not enough to
vote every year or so.

Citizens must play more of a role in shaping the parties they support, and
their leaders. One way of doing this is to introduce real primaries, letting
the people choose the party platforms and leaders.

There is no ideal model for primaries, but one that fits Ukraine can surely
be found. The long-standing experiences of the US can be looked to, as
well as the experiences of the UK, Spain, Israel, Italy and France.

The status quo of staged party primaries is a sham that benefits the
personal ambitions of leading politicians, and not the people.

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NOTE: The ICPS report mentioned in the editorial above can
be found in article twenty-two below.
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LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/editorial/27437/
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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3.  Q&A: UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

BBC Monitoring research in English 25 Sep 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Sep 26, 2007

Ukrainians are going to the polls on 30 September in an early parliamentary
election after President Viktor Yushchenko dissolved the previous
parliament.

Elected in March 2006, it was controlled by a hostile majority coalition
which formed a government headed by Yushchenko’s rival in the 2004
presidential election, Viktor Yanukovych.

Q: Why is the early election being held?
A: Yushchenko dissolved parliament on 2 April on the grounds that the ruling
coalition was subverting the will of voters and trying to usurp power by
accepting defectors from opposition and propresidential forces.

Yushchenko initially called the snap election for 27 May and in a subsequent
decree postponed it till mid-June. The government and its supporters in
parliament refused to comply with Yushchenko’s dissolution decree, which
they insisted was unconstitutional.

After an increasingly tense two month stand-off, Yushchenko, Yanukovych and
parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz finally agreed in late May that the
election would be held on 30 September, provided that at least 150
opposition and propresidential MPs formally gave up their seats, thereby
creating the legal grounds for dissolving parliament.

Q: What are the leading forces?
A: A total of 20 parties and blocs are running in the election. Recent
opinion polls indicate that only seven stand any chance of overcoming the
3-per-cent barrier, while most of the others will receive less than 1 per
cent.

The main players are largely unchanged since the 2006 election:

[1] The Party of Regions, led by Yanukovych, which is likely to gain the
most votes as it did in 2006;
[2] The opposition bloc of former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, an
uneasy ally of the president and uncompromising critic of the Yanukovych
government;
[3] The Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence bloc, an alliance of
propresidential forces led by Yuriy Lutsenko, a popular former interior
minister;
[4] The Socialist Party, led by Moroz, which backed Yushchenko during the
2004 Orange Revolution but joined Yanukovych’s coalition in August 2006;
[5] The Communist Party, the third member of the Yanukovych-led coalition;
[6] The centrist bloc of former speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn and the radical
leftist Progressive Socialist Party of Nataliya Vitrenko, both of which
narrowly failed to overcome the 3-per-cent barrier last time.

Q: What is the likely outcome?
A: In 2006, the forces that supported the Orange Revolution – the
propresidential Our Ukraine, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialists –
together gained an overall majority. But after months of haggling over the
distribution of portfolios, the Socialists formed a coalition with the Party
of Regions and Communists.

The election result is likely to be little different from that in March
2006, though a sharp decline in support for the Socialists may mean they
will not be represented in the new parliament.

There are several possible outcomes to the process of forming a coalition,
none of which is likely to produce much stability:

[1] A repeat or near repeat of the present coalition of the Party of Regions
with left-wing allies;
[2] A restored Orange coalition of the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence and
Tymoshenko blocs (which the leaders of both blocs say is their favoured
outcome);
[3] A grand coalition between Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence and the
Party of Regions (which the leaders of the former have explicitly ruled
out);
[4] A hung parliament, the consequences of which are unclear since the
constitution forbids the dissolution of parliament for a year after an early
election.

Q: What are parliament’s powers?
A: Under the current constitution, which came into force in 2006, the
president shares power with a parliamentary coalition which forms much of
the government. The coalition nominates the prime minister and most of the
cabinet ministers.

The president nominates the foreign minister and defence minister, as well
as the prosecutor-general and the head of the Security Service, but
parliament has to approve the appointments, as well as dismissals from these
posts.

Q: Will the vote be free and fair?
A: All sides have pointed to problems with the voter rolls as a possible
means for rigging the election result. The progovernment camp has expressed
concern about the large number of voters on the rolls in western Ukraine who
are working abroad, but whose votes may be used to boost the opposition’s
tally.

Meanwhile, Yushchenko and the opposition have complained about deceased
people and duplications on the voter rolls in eastern Ukraine, where support
for Party of Regions is strong.

Yanukovych has accused his opponents of planning to invalidate the election
in southern and eastern regions by using their representatives on local
electoral commissions to block their work. He suggested that his supporters
would organize mass protests if they judge the election to be rigged.

Yanukovych has also criticized Yushchenko for campaigning in favour of Our
Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence. However, Yushchenko dismissed a warning on
this issue from the Central Electoral Commission, in which the coalition has
a majority.

It has also been suggested that the president’s appeals to the
Constitutional Court over some aspects of the amendments to the election law
adopted to enable the early election to be held may be used to
retrospectively invalidate the election if the result is unfavourable.

Q: What are the main campaign issues?
A: In contrast to recent election campaigns in which conflicting pro-Russian
and pro-Western agendas were highlighted, the leading forces initially
appeared to have heeded a call by President Yushchenko not to focus on
divisive foreign policy issues.

But as the campaign gathered pace, the Party of Regions called for a
referendum to be held on giving the Russian language official status and on
the possibility of Ukraine’s NATO membership.

The other election frontrunners are mainly focusing on domestic issues –
social standards for ordinary Ukrainians and the fight against corruption.

The Party of Regions, Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence and Yuliya
Tymoshenko Bloc parties have all proposed to increase lump-sum payments

to families for the birth of children and monthly child support.

Yushchenko has said that cancellation of MPs’ immunity from prosecution is
essential to overcoming corruption – a demand that became one of the
cornerstones of the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence campaign.

However, this effort was undercut when Yanukovych called for abolition of
immunity not just for MPs, but for the president and other officials.

Yuliya Tymoshenko has spoken of the need for a new constitution, and
initially proposed putting the main aspects of state governance – including
the distribution of power between the presidency and parliament – to a
national referendum to be held simultaneously with the election.

Propresidential forces agreed with Tymoshenko on the need to rewrite the
constitution, but ruled out holding a referendum on polling day.

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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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4.  PBN UKRAINE ELECTION UPDATE

PBN Ukraine Election Update, Issue 2
The PBN Company, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Sep 25, 2007

This publication intends to inform readers about the pre-term parliamentary
election in Ukraine scheduled for September 30, 2007.

It reflects the views and opinions of The PBN Company’s professional staff
on issues of concern to voters, business and the international community. It
is not a partisan publication and is not funded by any campaign, government
or donor organization.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM UKRAINE’S COMING ELECTION?
More than two-thirds of Ukrainian voters will cast ballots in this Sunday’s
parliamentary election.

Opinion polls show overwhelmingly that they will choose from among one
of three pro-market political forces that represent a conglomeration of
regional business and political interests, namely the Party of Regions
(blue), Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (orange) and Our Ukraine-National Self-
Defense Bloc (orange).

With so much power and patronage at stake, these so-called mega-blocs have
campaigned hard to ensure their Election Day gains do not become hostage to
narrow small party interests when the time comes to form a governing
coalition.

Their political rhetoric during the campaign has gone beyond their
traditional voter bases in hopes of convincing undecided voters not to cast
ballots for parties with little chance of winning seats in Parliament.

Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s surge in opinion polls during the
campaign’s final weeks may not be enough for her to dislodge incumbent Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s party from capturing the plurality of Election
Day votes.

However, her closing the gap on Yanukovych, coupled with a respectable
showing by the pro-presidential Our Ukraine-National Self-Defense Bloc, may
be enough for Tymoshenko to form an orange majority in the next Rada and
retake the government.

Parties representing communist, socialist and agrarian interests could
become kingmakers if they pass the 3% threshold to qualify for seats in the
new Rada.

However, reliable polls taken at the beginning of the month show all minor
parties hovering around the 3% mark. Moreover, party clones setup by the
mega-blocs to split voting extremes on the right and left are expected to
ensure that none of the smaller parties gains enough votes to make it into
Parliament.
EAST VS WEST
After a hot summer of dull campaign ads, politicians began using emotionally
charged issues in September to sway undecided voters. With socioeconomic
differences between the pro-market parties so minor, geopolitical views
became important tools for rallying voters.

Russia, like no other issue in Ukraine, resurfaced in the campaign as a
fault line over which Ukrainians are divided into either sympathizers or
opponents.

Western and central Ukrainian voters with their eyes on Europe and Western
integration were also given hopeful assurances from EU leaders and the
United States Senate. PBN’s Ukraine Election Update takes a look at the
way geopolitics is used as a campaign tool for moving voters into action.
THE RUSSIAN CARD
The Party of Regions announced three referendum initiatives: on giving the
Russian language official state status; ensuring Ukraine remains a neutral
power and does not join NATO; and, empowering local government
by transferring more state power from the center to the regions.

The move was designed to shoreup support among soft Party of Regions
voters who may consider voting for either communist or more radical leftist
parties.

Thereafter, an interview between Russian President Vladimir Putin and
Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych appeared in the press alleging
the two leaders agreed on Ukraine entering a Slavic Union with Russia and
Belarus.

While Yanukovych’s press service denied the allegations, appropriate signals
were sent to both pro-Russian sympathizers and pro-Western opponents.

In a counteroffensive, President Viktor Yushchenko announced to reporters
that an investigation into his poisoning during the 2004 presidential
campaign cannot be concluded because Russia has so far refused to provide
Ukraine with samples of dioxin from its labs.

He also noted that Russia is hiding three Ukrainian citizen-suspects alleged
to have committed the poisoning. Both US and UK labs that manufacture
dioxin, it should be pointed out, claim their poison was not found in
Yushchenko’s blood samples.

Russian Ambassador Viktor Chernomyrdin, always ready for a good media
sound bite, vehemently denied Russia’s connection to Yushchenko’s poisoning.

Chernomyrdin’s unexpected berating of Ukraine’s leadership, during an
emotional television interview carried widely in the media, did not sit well
with independent minded Ukrainians not always fond of Russian opinion.

And while the Kremlin later announced it would cooperate with the
investigation, Chernomyrdin’s statement was taken by orange political forces
and used to rally anti-Russian sentiments among pro-orange sympathizers.
THE EUROPEAN CARD
The European Union’s top leadership made a mid-September trip to Kyiv to
meet Ukraine’s President, Prime Minister and opposition leaders.

The EU-Ukraine Summit, planned as part of a Partnership and Cooperation
Agreement between the two sides, was also used by orange parties to rally
pro-European voters and migrant workers voting abroad.

“The fact that we are here is real proof of our relationship, our trust in
the development of your country, in the future of your country, in free and
fair elections, and the possibility of having a government as soon as
possible,” Javier Solana, High Representative of the EU Commission, said.

“Our European and democratic choice is obvious and unbreakable,” President
Viktor Yushchenko said.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, External Relations and
European Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and
Solana urged Kyiv to quickly form a government after the September 30
election and focus on economic and political reforms needed to bolster
cooperation with the 27-nation Western bloc.

Yushchenko told his European interlocutors a new government would be formed
quickly. The head of his presidential secretariat went even further,
predicting a new government would be formed hours after election results are
publicized and show orange forces winning a majority of the votes.

Prime Minister Yanukovych, speaking to Ukraine’s European skeptics, used the
EU summit to highlight how visa and trade relations between the EU and
Ukraine are worsening. A tough visa regime continues to force Ukrainians to
stand in long queues at embassies.

Yanukovych said EU embassies had unfairly high refusal rates for Ukrainian
citizens, with Germany and Italy cited as the worst offenders.

Furthermore, Yanukovych pointed out that new anti-dumping cases are being
opened and tariffs are increasing for Ukrainian producers and exporters.

During a weekend campaign visit to Odessa, Yanukovych also lashed out at the
United States Senate for passing a resolution that he claims unfortunately
“supports Ukraine’s orange political forces.”

Last week the U.S. Senate passed a resolution urging that Ukraine’s
government hold free and fair  elections in keeping with the standards of
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to which
both the U.S. and Ukraine are signatories.
LATEST POLLING
Reliable opinion polls at the beginning of September showed the following
range of voter support for parties most likely to qualify for seats in parliament.

Party of Regions                                        34-38%
Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc                           23-28%
Our Ukraine-National Self-Defense Bloc     11-15%
Communist Party of Ukraine                         3-5%
Socialist Party of Ukraine                              2-3%
Voldymyr Lytvyn Bloc                                  2-3%
POLITICAL PARTIES AT THE THRESHOLD
Polls show the communists, socialists and the Volodymyr Lytvyn Bloc
hovering around the 3% threshold to qualify for seats in parliament.
Four other minor parties, known as clones set-up by the mega-blocs,
will divide undecided voters and could severely hurt their chances.
Much depends on voter turnout.

[1] Volodymyr Lytvyn Bloc
Leader: Volodymyr Lytvyn, Latest Polling 3%
[2] Progressive Socialists Party of Ukraine (PSPU)
Leader: Nataliya Vitrenko Latest Polling 1.5%
[3] Bloc KUCHMA
Leader: Olexander Volkov, Latest Polling 0.3%
[4] Liudmila Suprun Bloc – Ukrainian Regional Activists
Leader: Liudmila Suprun, Latest Polling 0.3%
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NOTE: The see the PBN Report with all the graphs and charts click on:
http://www.pbnco.com/eng/files/Ukraine_Election_Update_Issue_2.pdf
Also: http://www.pbnco.com/eng/news/
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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5.  UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO SAYS ONE
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE KEY TO NATIONAL UNITY

5 Kanal TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1600 gmt 26 Sep 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed Sep 26, 2007

President Viktor Yushchenko has said that the Ukrainian language has to
remain the only official language because national unity is based on this.

Yushchenko was speaking live during a regional TV link-up in a studio in the
western city of Lviv on 26 September. The link-up was carried by the
Kiev-based private television 5 Kanal.

“Task number one is to unite around national priorities,” Yushchenko said.
“I am confident that it is our native language that identifies us as
Ukrainians.

“So how should we defend those provisions in the constitution that speak
about the status of the Ukrainian language as the only state language? I am
confident that this should consolidate all sound democratic politicians.
This means national unity.”

Yushchenko’s political opponents, the Party of Regions, earlier in September
2007 proposed a referendum to make Russians the second official language in
Ukraine.
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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6.  STAR POWER DRIVES UKRAINE’S POLITICS
The pretty blonde, the pockmarked financier, the reformed ex-con

By Conor Humphries, Agence France Presse (AFP)
Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, 26 September, 2007

KIEV – The pretty blonde, the pockmarked financier and the reformed ex-con:
they may sound like the cast of a Hollywood caper, but they’re the stars of
a fierce political drama gripping Ukraine.

The charismatic trio has monopolised politics in this ex-Soviet state since
the 2004 “Orange Revolution” caught the world’s attention, and they return
to the stage to do battle in Sunday’s parliamentary vote.

Western-leaning Viktor Yushchenko with Yulia Tymoshenko by his side, won the
2004 fight, seizing the presidency from the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich in
mass street protests against a rigged presidential poll.

Yushchenko then dumped Tymoshenko as prime minister, leading both to brief
flirtations with their “Orange Revolution” rival.

“Politics in Ukraine has everything, part detective story, part thriller,
part crime,” said Andrei Kurkov, one of Ukraine’s leading authors. “It has a
failed love story … between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko.”

While the “Orange Revolution” left the country with what many see as the
most vibrant democracy in the former Soviet Union, the subsequent squabbles
and political chaos have frustrated many voters.

“They don’t reflect anything except dislike for their opponents,” said Yulia
Mostova, a commentator with the weekly Dzerkalo Tyzhnya. “Their
personalities are trumping ideology.”

During the revolution Yushchenko, a smart, Western-leaning former central
banker and prime minister, won the support of western and central regions by
promising to bring Ukraine closer to Europe.

Alongside him throughout the protests was Tymoshenko, the former head of a
major energy firm and the most photogenic of the three. With her traditional
blonde braids she became an icon of the revolution.

Their rival was the rough-hewn industrial boss Yanukovich, who served two
prison terms for robbery in his youth before coming to personify the country’s
east and the pro-Russian sentiment dominant there.

Battles among the three haven’t all been political: Yushchenko accuses
allies of Yanukovich of attempting to kill him in a poisoning that severely
disfigured his face – a crime that has never been solved.

Campaigning for Sunday’s parliamentary polls has once again led to the trio
peering down from lampposts and billboards across the country. Their
respective parties are expected to take most, if not all, seats in
parliament.

The winner on the day is expected to be Yanukovich, who has transformed his
gruff image since 2004, hiring a team of Western PR agents and brushing up
on his Ukrainian in a bid to expand his appeal.

He had some accidental help from Yushchenko, who frustrated and split the
Orange electorate when he broke with the fiery Tymoshenko due to personal
rivalries.

The split paved the way for Yanukovich’s spectacular comeback from his
revolutionary failure. His party won most seats in parliamentary elections
in 2006 and he became prime minister.

The president, 53, struck back by dissolving parliament this year after
accusing Yanukovich, 57, of an illegal power grab. The crisis culminated in
the declaration of Sunday’s snap elections.

The latest cliffhanger for the troika’s vast audience is whether Yushchenko
will cut a deal with Yanukovich to stop Tymoshenko, 56, from retaking the
prime minister’s office.

He is reportedly jealous of Tymoshenko’s presidential ambitions in the drama’s
next act: presidential polls expected in 2010.
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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7.  UKRAINE’S “ORANGE REVOLUTION” DUO FIGHT DISILLUSION

By Ron Popeski, Reuters, Ternopil, Ukraine, Mon 24 Sep 2007

TERNOPIL, Ukraine  – The leaders of Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution” have

set aside their differences but face a battle to win back voters disenchanted
with progress since the mass protests of 2004.

President Viktor Yushchenko and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko

have been touring strongholds in western Ukraine urging voters to forget the
disunity that toppled their first government and back their parties in
Sunday’s parliamentary election.

“Some of you may have given up the fight or have come with heads bowed,
weary of quarrels. I understand how you feel,” Yushchenko told 20,000
supporters at a weekend music festival in the tidy provincial town of
Ternopil.

“Mistakes were made, humiliating, immoral actions committed. But our time
has come. If we want the Ukrainian nation to win here we must overcome our
own egoism. We must be united.”

The pro-Western Yushchenko defeated his rival Viktor Yanukovich in the rerun
of a rigged 2004 election after weeks of mass protests against vote rigging.

Tymoshenko, whose fiery speeches roused crowds during the “orange” protests,
became prime minister. But infighting led to her dismissal and undermined
plans to move Ukraine closer to the West and eventually join NATO and the
European Union.

Defections among “orange” allies torpedoed a bid to form another liberal
government after a parliamentary poll last year, allowing a resurgent
Yanukovich to become prime minister.

Yushchenko blamed Tymoshenko for the debacle, but the two have since formed
a tactical alliance. Both urge voters to elect enough “orange” members to
enable them to form a government.

Yanukovich, backed by Moscow in 2004, now describes himself as pro-

European and his Regions Party tops polls.

But the combined tally of the president’s Our Ukraine party and Tymoshenko’s
bloc is close behind and tough post-election talks to form a coalition are
certain.

Both back liberal ideals and market economics and promotion of Ukraine’s
language and national identity, though the campaign is dominated by talk of
better living standards and benefits.
GOING TO RALLIES
Residents of the region – dotted by imposing eastern-rite Catholic
churches – spent much of the weekend harvesting potatoes, many using a horse
and plough. But hundreds boarded convoys of buses to attend the rallies in
provincial towns.

Tymoshenko was more forthright in urging voters, who earn considerably less
than the national average monthly pay of $250, to head to polling stations.

“No one who has Ukraine’s interests at heart has the right to be
disillusioned. We were simply too naive after the Orange Revolution,”
Tymoshenko, impeccably dressed and sporting her trademark braid, said

in the brightly painted town of Kolomyia.
“Could we truly have expected to see results and a different country the
morning after the revolution?” Of course not!”

Unlike Yanukovich, who uses blunt, homespun language in short addresses in
his Russian-speaking industrial eastern strongholds, both “orange” leaders
speak in Ukrainian for 40 minutes and more, referring frequently to
Ukraine’s history.

Crowds received them warmly, but without much of the fire of the 2004
rallies. And friction between the two leaders has yet to abate completely.

Yushchenko rarely refers to Tymoshenko by name and refuses to rule out a
post-election “grand coalition” between his party and Yanukovich’s Regions
Party — said by some to be a way of bridging the traditional gap between
Ukraine’s east and west.

Tymoshenko said she was disturbed by any notion that the president might
agree to a deal with the man he beat in the turbulent 2004 presidential
poll.

“You must never think that a broad coalition will unite east and west,” she
told supporters. “It is a betrayal of east and west. When you enter such a
coalition the compromises imposed on you are incompatible with change.”
————————————————————————————————

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========================================================
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========================================================
8.  NEWBORN CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT
Yulia Tymoshenko has reached out to the middle-right with her political
platform. Her chances in the Ukrainian parliamentary elections are good.

By Konrad Schuller, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
Frankfurt, Germany, Sunday, September 23, 2007 (In German)
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #872, Article 8
Washington, D.C., Thursday, September 27, 2007 (In English)

Bila Tserkva. The fact that her voice has become raw over the past few days
only enhances its impact.  It is election season once again in Ukraine, and
Yulia Tymoshenko, who two years ago was the Joan of Arc of the “Orange
Revolution,” is doing what she does best:  she is fighting.

Under her gold-blonde wreath of hair, half crown, half halo, her ivory
white, fitted dress shines against the steel gray of the housing complexes.

Nobody can understand how someone can look so immaculate after an
eighteen-hour day on the campaign trail.  But this is Yulia Tymoshenko: part
blushing bride of the fatherland, part queenly Morgan le Fay.

Bila Tserkva is typical post-Soviet industrial town, nothing more than a big
factory on the steppe surrounded by a couple of dilapidated apartment
buildings.

 The Fighter attracted five thousand people to the marketplace here:  young
activists are there in their white campaign t-shirts with a red heart on the
breast, workers from the tire factory in worn-out caps, sturdy women in
scarves adorned with flowers.

For “Yulia,” they are willing to stand for two hours in the rain.  The fact
that the heroine on the stage is audibly torturing herself with her sore
threat enriches the scene by providing a hint of her true suffering for
justice.

This woman wants to make it to the top.  In 2005, after the “Orange
Revolution” swept the Moscow-backed clan of President Kuchma from office
after a clumsily-falsified election, she was well on her way.  Her partner
in the revolution, current President Victor Yushchenko, made her Prime
Minister.

For over half a year she fought a turbulent struggle against the industrial
barons of the old regime.  Because she earned the wrath of economic experts
in this battle, with her mandated price controls and threats of
expropriation, and perhaps also because she dealt all too frivolously with
some of Yushchenko’s rich patrons, she was dismissed in September 2005
following a dramatic struggle with the president.

The revolutionary alliance shattered.  Yushchenko looked to the former team,
and today a foster-child of the steel barons is sitting in the Prime
Minister’s palace:  Viktor Yanukovych of the Russian-influenced East.

The president’s efforts to work with the old clans threw the country into an
unbroken cycle of crises – to the point where Yushchenko saw no other choice
but to dissolve parliament in a constitutionally-disputed attack and call
for new elections.

Yulia Tymoshenko now senses her second chance.  “We are the only force in
Ukraine that has not broken its promises,” she says in an interview with
this newspaper.  “My government was the first and the last that tried to
roll back corruption and the shadow economy.”  Her chances are not bad. 

The “orange camp” is back together.

There is a clear coalition alliance between the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko
(BYuT) and Yushchenko’s party, “Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense Bloc”
(OU-PSD).

Moreover, the president has disassociated himself from his old financier,
the opaque chocolate manufacturer Petro Poroshenko, with whom Julia
Tymoshenko was in conflict.

Arrangements have already been made that, in the event of a victory, the
stronger of the two “orange” parties should choose the Prime Minister.  In
the current state of affairs, that choice can only be “Yulia.”

Yushchenko has lost significant face through his failed pact with the
election-counterfeiting party of Yanukovych and, in current polls, is only
placing between ten and 15 percent.  Tymoshenko’s BYuT, on the other

hand, appears to be a solid 10 percentage points stronger.

Together they have a good chance to outdo Yanukovych’s “Party of Regions,”
which, because of its support in the Russian-influenced East, stands at 30
to 35 percent, as long as no minor parties leap across the three-percent
threshold and confuse the calculations.

For her comeback, Yulia Tymoshenko has resolved to avoid old mistakes. 

As Prime Minister, she earned a reputation for harming the economy in her
battle against the old clans.

Her campaign for renationalization scared honest investors along with
deceitful private firms, and when she sensed Moscow’s manipulation behind a
sudden increase in gasoline prices, she reacted by decreeing price controls
until the market collapsed and the lines at gas stations reached Soviet-era
lengths.

In order to cast off her reputation for amateurish interventionism, Yulia
Tymoshenko decreed a breathtaking transformation to her party.  Within a

few months, it left behind its previous “social-democratic” profile and now
propagates a political program of the middle-right.

With the help of the “European Business Association,” one of the business
alliances supported by the EU Commission, the American Chamber of

Commerce and the Rand Corporation, she tailored a political platform in
the style of the European Christian Democrats.

When Edmund Stoiber visited recently and talked about “laptops and
lederhosen,” she listened attentively, and European parliamentarian Elmar
Brok (CDU) gave her a CD entitled “Women Rule the World.”

Finally, her party applied, with good chances for success, for observer
status in the “European People’s Party,” which also includes members of the
Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Socialist Union.

Apart from this swing to the middle-right, the most noticeable reform in
Tymoshenko’s campaign is the opening of her previously radical “Western”
party to the Russian-dominated eastern regions of Ukraine.

Her strategists assume that, even in Yanukovych’s eastern strongholds, there
is enough frustration over the continuous “government corruption” that many
are beginning to feel a Soviet-type nostalgia to search for greener
pastures.

So as not to scare these voters, Yulia Tymoshenko has strictly restrained
herself regarding those points to which the East is most sensitive – for
example, accession to NATO, which many in the “Western” camp truly want,

but which many in the East would perceive as treason against their Russian
brothers.

“Presently,” she says, this step should be “neither the first item on
Ukraine’s agenda, nor the second, nor even the fifth.”  National unity is
more important than membership in any club.

When those in the Russian-speaking East speak of their longing for a return
to “morals” and “effectiveness,” which was always a promise of Soviet-era
propaganda, Yulia Tymoshenko plows forward, making it clear that, despite
its ties to Moscow, Yanukovych’s party has no such Soviet virtues, but
instead is a breeding ground for corruption.

“They are demanding that we make Russian an official language, but they
would also demand the same for Mongolian if it would keep their party
coffers full.”

Evening has come to Bila Tserkva.  Amidst the tattered wallpaper of the
local television studio, Yulia Tymoshenko has endured an interview that ran
long, where she further strained her throat by giggling now and then, adding
just a touch of flirtatiousness to her multi-faceted visage.

She managed not to allow a visit the rather revolting restrooms darken her
mood; now she is stepping out into the rain.  A collective scream breaks out
from the waiting crowds standing in front of the transmission tower.

Fathers of families, children and grandmothers rush forth to grab her hand.
Her bodyguards, colossuses in snow-white with hearts on their breasts, close
ranks.  One more autograph, one more kiss on a child’s cheek, then the door
to the limousine closes.  The motor roars and the taillights fade.  Morgan
le Fey disappears into the night.
———————————————————————————————-
Frankfurther Allgemeine Sunday Edition, September 23, 2007, no. 38, p. 12.

———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
9.  UKRAINE AND POLAND: SPITTING IMAGE

COMMENTARY: By Adrian Karatnycky
The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, Thu, September 27, 2007

Poland and Ukraine are partners in hosting Europe’s 2012 soccer
championships, and Poland is Ukraine’s staunchest advocate in the
European Union. It turns out the two states have another important
similarity as well.

With parliamentary elections looming in Ukraine on Sunday and in Poland
next month, the political campaigns in these countries are remarkably alike.

Both races are making it clear that such issues as corruption and morality
have become the prism through which many voters are judging the dynamic
post-communist world of rapid, market-driven growth.

In each country, the legacies of recent history bitterly divide the
political elites and, to a lesser degree, the public. In Ukraine, a
political morality play surrounds the rapid accumulation of wealth by a
handful of allegedly corrupt oligarchs since the fall of communism.

In Poland, the political schism isn’t over how to handle the post-communist
era but the predations of the communist past. The central question there is
whether citizens and politicians who may have collaborated with the old
security services should be exposed.

Poland’s political divide occurs along sociological lines. The
better-educated middle-class voters prefer to move forward, while the
lower-middle classes and rural voters are more inclined to support a full
accounting.

The latter group are drawn to moral arguments because they tend to be more
religiously conservative than their urban counterparts, and because they
harbor resentments that many who “made it” in democratic Poland had links
to communism.

Ukraine’s fault lines have a more geographic cast, with voters in the
Ukrainian-speaking west and center inclined to back those seeking to settle
scores with oligarchs, while voters in the Russian-speaking east support
their rich native sons who made good by turning around formerly decrepit
enterprises, even if these were ill-gotten.

In both countries, the leading anti-establishment parties are paradoxically
headed by consummate political insiders. Poland’s Law and Justice party is
led by combative Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, whose more moderate
twin brother Lech is Poland’s president.

In Ukraine, the insurgent anti-establishment tone is set by the eponymous
bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, herself a former energy oligarch and ex-premier.

The center-right, populist and “anti-oligarch” campaigns of Prime Minister
Kaczynski and Ms. Tymoshenko may not be successful in the end, but they
are setting the terms of political debate. They also have contributed to the
near-total disappearance of the traditional communist and socialist left in
each country.

Poland’s ex-communists have vanished as an independent force. They have
been replaced by the Left and Democrats bloc, a social-liberal coalition
that has shed politicians with odious links to the communist era and includes
budget-balancing economists and anticommunist activists from the Solidarity
underground of the 1980s.

That bloc, along with the conservative Law and Justice party and the Civic
Platform — the major centrist, liberal party, led by the bland but
reassuring Donald Tusk — will most likely dominate the Oct. 21 election.

In Ukraine, the hardline Communist party looks set to get no more than 5%
of the vote. The Socialist party, which betrayed its coalition partners from
the 2004 Orange Revolution and backed the ruling Party of Regions last year,
won’t even get the modest 3% needed to enter parliament.

As a result, Ukraine’s voters will choose among three major parties, two of
which are Europe-oriented forces with roots in the Orange Revolution: the
centrist, free-market Our Ukraine/National Self-Defense grouping of
President Viktor Yushchenko, and the more populist Tymoshenko bloc.

Their common opponent is the ruling Party of Regions, whose billionaire
business leaders say they favor a liberal agenda of tax cuts, deregulation
and membership in the EU.

Still, the Party of Regions has numerous politicians who support a
state-directed economy, are linked to the voter fraud that sparked the
Orange Revolution, and seek economic integration with Russia rather than
the West.

Led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, the Party of the Regions was
comfortably ahead in mid-summer public opinion polls. But with recent
surveys indicating that he has lost ground, Mr. Yanukovych has lost his
nerve and adopted a shrill and bitter tone that castigates the “Orange
plague.”

Why has all this happened? And why are Ukraine’s and Poland’s politics
dominated by culture and values as opposed to policy prescriptions?

First, both countries experienced major revolutions in the last
quarter-century. In Poland, Lech Walesa’s Solidarity was a civic and labor
movement that marshaled high moral principles and achieved unity through
nonviolent tactics that led to the defeat of communism in 1989. The effects
are still reverberating, as Polish society continues to reshape itself.

In Ukraine, the Orange Revolution of 2004 was similarly driven by lofty
ideals and a commitment to rigorous nonviolent civic resistance. These
principles and commitment have been tested in the last three years as the
“Orange” coalition splintered.

It was perhaps inevitable that, once in power, personal political ambitions
and political differences that were suppressed in the struggle against
authoritarianism would divide these broad-based movements and impede
their agendas.

Still, the inability of both Solidarity and the Orange forces to meet
excessively high public expectations for rapid change created a residue of
deep bitterness that influences the political culture of both countries.

A second reason why questions of morality and identity are dominating
politics in Ukraine and Poland is the strong state of their economies.

Both countries are in the midst of longstanding economic booms with rising
living standards. Poland’s GDP grew by more than 6% in 2006, and has
achieved an annual growth rate of over 7% in the first half of this year.

In Ukraine, the GDP has expanded by an average of more than 7% per year
since 2000. As a result, all major parties in both countries reject dramatic
shifts in economic policy and, electoral promises notwithstanding, are
likely to pursue centrist, business-friendly policies.

Politics and political campaigning in Poland and Ukraine today suggest a
bitter twilight struggle and are filled with dramatic charges of “crisis,”
“corruption,” “immorality” and “criminality.”

But after the dust settles in both countries and the votes are counted, the
influence of free media, civil society, a growing middle class and a
powerful business elite will constitute a moderating force on politicians.

So, too, will the steadying influences of Ukraine’s centrist President
Viktor Yushchenko and Poland’s moderate President Lech Kaczynski.

For the moment, politics in Warsaw and Kiev make for fascinating theater.
But in reality, it is the storm before the calm.
——————————————————————————————–
Mr. Karatnycky is a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council of the U.S. and
president of the Orange Circle, a nongovernmental group working to build
support for reform in Ukraine.
——————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119084391383540470.html

———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10.  UKRAINE POLITICAL MACHINE REGIONS AIMS TO
FLATTEN OPPONENTS IN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

FEATURE ARTICLE: Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)
Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, 26 September 2007

KIEV – Ukraine’s top political party, Regions Ukraine, intends to be even
bigger after the Soviet republic’s next parliamentary election on Sunday.
That’s the plan, anyway.

Party strategists predict Regions will grab between 37 and 40 per cent of
the popular vote on September 30, placing them in the driver’s seat during
horse-trading to create the next ruling coalition.

Regions’ home turf is in the country’s Russian-speaking South and East,
particularly towns and cities. Party discipline is strict, and officials in
those districts are willing to put town hall, including at times police and
courts, squarely behind Regions candidates.

Regions’ platform calls for closer relations with Russia, rejecting NATO
outright, government support to big business, making Russian a state
language, and food and public transportation prices kept low through
government subsidies.

Just as important, control of Ukraine’s key industrial regions means cash.
Of Ukraine’s 24 dollar billionaires, Korrespondent magazine estimated, at
least half are on the Regions’ party slate.

More than any other party or indeed Ukraine’s government itself, Regions
buys the most political advertising, controls the most television channels
and newspapers, and has at its call the right financial stuff to change
other people’s minds – before, after, and possibly even during a vote.

An MP switching parties in exchange for cash is an open secret in Ukraine,
and in the last 18 months dozens of MPs joined Regions, for a single vote,
or as a card-carrying party member.

Regions leadership credit those changes-of-heart to ideological solidarity;
Regions’ opponents say briefcases of cash dollars were routinely handed over
within the parliament building.

Regions rank-and-file during previous polls has showed few scruples, and
impressive enthusiasm, in fudging the provincial vote. Their most impressive
achievement came arguably in the October 2004 Presidential election when
districts in the extreme East of the country tallied as much as 103 per cent
votes cast for the Regions candidate.

But this time, with party leaders expecting around 40 per cent popularity,
chances of pro-Regions fraud are substantially lower than in the past, say
party insiders and independent observers alike.

Regions’ bosses are frankly confident they will win big, ticking off as
grounds Ukraine’s sustained 7 per cent annual GDP growth, peaceful relations
with Russia meaning stable supplies of imported energy, rising personal
incomes, and even Ukraine’s selection by UEFA as a co-host for the 2012
European football championship.

“No Ukrainian government, ever, has had a record this positive,” argued
Mykola Azarov, Vice Prime Minister. “I think it will be inevitable that the
voters will make the obvious choice.”

Of course, what is a foregone conclusion to senior Regions functionaries, is
not necessarily what’s obvious to Ukrainian voters.

A serious party liability could well remain Prime Minister Viktor
Yanukovich, the Regions party leader and notorious among his countrymen as
an ex-convict who did time in a penitentiary for assault and armed robbery.

Yanukovich’s handlers, to be sure, have in recent months been buffing
Yanukovich’s image, making him smile more, getting his picture taken in
public transport or visiting a Mom and Pop grocery stores, flying aboard an
impressive blue helicopter from campaign stop to campaign stop.

But even a short conversation with average Ukrainians makes clear, the
Regions spin goes so far with a jaded electorate fed up with filthy rich
industrial tycoons, endemic government corruption, and routine official
nepotism.

Even in Ukraine’s smallest villages, voters gripe to foreign visitors that
Regions’ party list includes, for instance, the country’s richest oligarch,
a steel pipe baron that just happens to be the son-in-law of the last
President, and Yanukovich’s son.

Ukrainian law bans publishing election survey numbers in the last month
prior to the vote.

But in recent weeks Regions opponents have claimed the party’s numbers are
stalled at around 30 per cent, asserting that the Regions’ party platform,
and the sometimes unsavoury individuals on its list, tend to turn off
undecided voters outside the party strongholds in the East and the South.

Regions spokesmen confidently say they are on track for a big win.
———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================

11.  EAST-WEST TUG-OF-WAR DIVIDES VOTERS IN UKRAINE POLLS

By Conor Humphries, Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Savastopol, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine – In this fiercely proud port city, once at the heart of
the Soviet Navy, talk of NATO ships filling the docks is a sacrilege — one
that will help drive voters to the polls in national elections on Sunday.

Like Ukraine’s massive gas pipelines, this Black Sea port is caught in a
tug-of-war between Moscow and the West, both keenly aware of the importance
of this huge country of 47 million lodged between Russia and the European
Union.

Fears that pro-Russian politicians could sell the pipes to Moscow, or that
Western-leaning parties could let NATO sail in, have helped fuel three years
of political chaos, with each side desperate to protect the country’s
geopolitical jewels.

While parties have avoided talk of the split between east and west in the
latest campaign, it remains the central fault line of politics in the
country, analysts said.

“It is not an issue that’s being voiced in this election campaign, but its
the underlying pattern,” said Nico Lange, an analyst at the Konrad Adenauer
Foundation in Kiev.

At the heart of the dispute is the question NATO membership, the enemy for
much of Sevastopol’s recent history as a proud Soviet port.

“My grandfather died in the barricades defending Sevastopol in World War
II,” said Volodymyr Beletsky, 49, as he put his signature to a petition for
a referendum that would block NATO membership.

“Who would NATO defend us against? We don’t need to be defended from
Russia.”

With Russia’s Black Sea fleet leasing the historic deep-water port through
2017, many locals fear NATO membership would destroy ties with Moscow,
provoking the kind of economic sanctions it has imposed on NATO aspirant
Georgia.

The election campaign has focused mostly on domestic issues thus far, though
foreign policy and NATO will feature in post-election horse-trading to form
a coalition government, said Volodymyr Fesenko, an analyst with the Penta
institute in Kiev.

Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko has made joining NATO a
priority, while analysts say pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych
would likely block membership if he retains his post.

Another touchy issue is the fate of the country’s natural gas pipelines,
which transport some 80 percent of the gas Russia sells to Europe.

“Ukraine is a transit state and it is important who will control the pipes:
the producers or the consumers,” said Vadim Karasyov, head of the Institute
for Global Strategies in Kiev.

Russia flexed its muscles as a supplier last year when it cut off gas to
Ukraine — and indirectly to Europe — in a pricing dispute.

The episode shook the nerves of Europe, which has been looking to diversify
its suppliers even as Russia looks for alternative routes to send its gas
west.

Russia’s political influence in Ukraine has appeared to wane since the
failure of Yanukovych, its chosen candidate, to win 2004 presidential
elections, but its leverage remains vast, said Lilia Shevtsova, senior
associate at the Carnegie Centre in Moscow.

“Ukraine’s energy security is totally dependant on Russia, so there are a
lot of ways to affect Ukrainian politics and to affect the political
agenda,” she said.

Meanwhile, all major parties in Ukraine are sympathetic to the cause of
joining the European Union with its promise of high wages and visa-free
travel.

But the EU, still struggling to absorb eight former eastern bloc countries,
has made it clear that Ukraine is too big and too poor to be considered a
candidate in the foreseeable future.

Most analysts predict a weak coalition government competing with a weak
president, and say it’s highly unlikely that any force will gain enough
control to push through any dramatic geopolitical gesture — towards the
east or the west.

For the next few years, at least, Sevastopol’s nostalgic Russian sailors
look likely to enjoy the status quo.

“It’s the best port in the world,” said Gennady, 70, surveying the Russian
ships docked in Sevastopol from the harbour. “The Russians will never

leave here.”
———————————————————————————————-
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12.  PARTY OF REGIONS SACKS PAUL MANAFORT

By Oleksy Pedosenko and Olha Kuryshko
The Ekonomicheskie izvestia, No. 165 (698) in Russian
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #872, Article 12, in English
Washington, D.C., Thursday, September 27, 2007

Paul Manafort who has counseled the Party of Regions, PoR, on its election
campaigns since 2005, has been fired from the campaign staff. The reason is
dwindling PoR ratings.

Now PoR are working on two scenarios of disrupting the span parliamentary
elections due on Sept. 30. Our source in the PoR staff says the decision to
fire the US spin doctor was taken on Sept. 25.

The source indicated that the 5-7 percent drop in PoR approval ratings
became obvious to the party leaders some 10 days ago. It was then that PoR
came up with its old slogans to give Russian a state language status and to
prevent Ukraine’s accession to NATO.

On Sept. 19 PoR declared it may think twice about taking part in the
elections. A couple of days ago the party began to pitch tents and install a
platform on Kyiv’s central Independence square.

Besides, on Sept. 21 the US Senate passed a resolution in support of the
Orange revolution achievements in Ukraine. One of the resolution co-authors
is Sen. Richard Lugar. Recall that Paul Manafort is the Republican party
insider.

“Manafort’s dismissal was written on the wall,” Viktor Ukolov, BYUT’s spin
doctor and number 147 on the BYUT roster told the Ekonomicheskie Izvestia.
According to Ukolov, PoR ratings in the east have dwindled substantially in
the past 3-5 weeks.

“In the last two weeks PoR has been looking for a scapegoat and Manafort
came to be the one,” Ukolov says. “I was sure Yanukovych chief-of-staff
Borys Kolesnykov or any of his deputies will be the scapegoat because Paul
Manafort is a highly professional spin doctor. But PoR refused to heed his
advice.

“It could be seen on the example of the refusal by the PoR-dominated Central
Election Commission to register BYUT on a minor technical excuse. Manafort
was against this, but nobody listened to him.”

According to Taras Berezovets, chief editor of the Political Spindoctoring
project, the decision to sack Manafort was taken before last week’s weekend.

“It is easier to point the finger at a foreigner than at Borys Kolesnykov [a
Donbas tycoon] who is Rinat Akhmetov’s buddy,” the expert believes.
[Akhmetov is head of one of the two major camps that make up PoR].

He says PoR is currently working on two scenarios for their further actions:
protest vote results in some western precincts allegedly due to massive
fraud and rock the boat more by starting talk about the autonomy for Ukraine’s
eastern and southern oblasts, the party’s power base.

Vasyl Khara, #28 on the PoR roster, says, “Originally, I was against hiring
American spin doctors. I even resigned as chief-of-staff because of that in
2005.

“They do not know the specifics of Ukraine, and we are not sure whom they
are siding with, us or our adversaries. You can hardly expect the US experts
to be loyal  and committed to our victory. I wish the dismissal had come
earlier.”

Anna Herman, #48 on the PoR roster, told the EI that she had not seen
Manafort in the staff headquarters since the start of the campaign. “I am
not aware that he still works. Probably, he hasn’t worked before, but I do
not know anything about it.”

A group of US spin doctors came to work for PoR in the fall of 2005 at the
invitation of Rinat Akhmetov. Several months prior to this, Akhmetov hired
the Americans to help ensure the listing of his SKM corporation on western
stock exchanges.

Paul Manafort became know after his work in the 80s in Africa and the
Philippines. He was active counseling the Republican party in its1980-1988
campaigns, becoming presidential nominee Bob Dole’s chief political advisor.

In the wake of PoR victory in the 2006 parliamentary elections, the US
experts focused on how to enhance Premier Yanukovych image in the West.
Manafort could persuade Yanukovych to tone down his anti-EU and anti-

NATO rhetoric.
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.eizvestia.com/state/full/25682)
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13.  UKRAINE CAMPAIGN HEATS UP WITH FIGHTS, TYPOS

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Kiev, Ukraine, Wed, Sep 26, 2007

KIEV – The tense countdown to Ukraine’s parliamentary election campaign was
heating up yesterday with campaign workers slugging it out in a provincial
fistfight, and tens of thousands of non-existent citizens reported on
regional voter rolls.

The fisticuffs took place in the central city Kremenchug between volunteers
of the Regions Ukraine political party, and the Our Ukraine – National
Self-Defence (OUNSD) political party.

Regions supports government assistance to big business, and closer relations
with Russia. OUNSD supports market reforms, and closer relations with
Europe.

The brawl broke out after OUNSD activists attempted to erect five tents
flying banners criticising their opponents in Kremenchug’s town square,
prior to a scheduled Regions rally.

Usually occupied by student volunteers handing out brochures, a “protest
tent” is a common feature of Ukrainian politics, as Ukrainian criminal codes
are unclear on whether camping in a public square for political reasons is
protected by freedom of speech law or not.

Regions supporters used fists and boots to assault the outnumbered OUNSD
volunteers. Four of the tents were demolished in the attack, said Oleskander
Urin, a OUNSD spokesman.

The fracas cooled temporarily after police arrived on the scene. But once
law enforcers departed and the OUNSD volunteers tried again to put up the
tents, the Regions activists repeated their attacks.

A special forces police unit deployed to the scene and arrested three
Regions supporters, who now face public disorder charges.
The Regions rally went forward without further incident, drawing 3,000
onlookers, the Interfax news agency reported.

Volodymyr Khomenko, a senior OUNSD official heading up the party’s Crimea
organisation, at a Simferpol press conference alleged Regions allies in the
peninsula had padded voter rolls with as many as 25,000 fake registered
voters, and called for a police investigation.

Khomenko’s allegations came one day after officials at the SBU intelligence
service, Ukraine’s version of the KGB, accused Regions functionaries of
creating at least 100,000 “ghost” voters nationwide.

The voters’ roll errors were part of a concerted Regions plan to falsify
campaign results, Khomenko claimed.

Regions officials in Monday remarks admitted voter roll error existed but
only because of typographical errors, which will be put right before the
September 30 vote.

Viktor Yanukovich, leader of Region, at the Kremenchug rally claimed his
party’s opponents already were purchasing votes outright, and demanded

an investigation from Ukraine’s Central Election Commission.

Yanukovich and other Regions officials were clearly making an effort
yesterday to refute weekend media reports their party, generally
acknowledged to be the race’s leader, actually was doing poorly in the
latest polls.

“They (Regions’ critics) don’t know what they are talking about,” said
Mykola Azarov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine. “Our rating is increasing,
and we know this because we are going out to the provinces and talking to
people.”

Ukrainian election law bans publishing election polling in the last month
before a vote. Regions as of the most recent surveys was set to take 37%,
the anti-corruption Block of Yulia Tymoshenko around 30%, and OUNSD

some 18% of the popular vote, with the remaining voters undecided.
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14.  UKRAINE POLL COULD END ORANGE REVOLUTION

By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow, Telegraph
London, United Kingdom, Tue, Sep 25, 2007

It was, at least in the eyes of the Russian president, the scene of Vladimir
Putin’s greatest humiliation.

Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Ukrainians massed in central Kiev in late
2004 to protest against a presidential election victory rigged in favour of
the pro-Kremlin candidate Viktor Yanukovych.

After weeks of noisy but peaceful protest, they succeeded. Viktor
Yushchenko, the pro-Western reformer, was swept to power amid scenes
of unprecedented euphoria.

Almost three years after those heady days, Ukrainians return to the polls
next weekend to vote in a parliamentary election. At stake, their leaders
say, is a simple choice: to revive the stalled ideals of the Orange
Revolution or to kill it off altogether.

Both Moscow and Washington will be watching closely in a country that
remains an important battleground in the growing power clash between the
West and a resurgent Russia.

For Ukrainians, however, the optimism engendered by the Orange Revolution
has largely been replaced by disillusionment and indifference.

The result of Sunday’s poll is likely to be little different to the outcome
of the last parliamentary election held 18 months ago. And again the bitter
divisions of Ukraine will be on inglorious display.

Ukrainians in the Russian-speaking industrial heartlands of the east as well
as in Crimea in the south will largely vote for the pro-Kremlin Party of the
Regions headed by Mr Yanukovych.

His party is expected to become the single largest one in parliament, but
will fall short of the overall majority needed to form a government. This
means it will have to enter coalition talks with the two parties in the
Orange camp led by the president and his rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.

Mr Yushchenko will then have to appoint either Mr Yanukovych or Mrs
Tymoshenko as his prime minister.

He has tried both before. Mrs Tymoshenko served as prime minister for nine
acrimonious months in 2005 before the president sacked her amid charges of
corruption and divisions over economic policy.

After the last election he turned to his erstwhile rival Mr Yanukovych,
whose supporters were accused of slipping dioxin into the president’s soup
in 2004, leaving his face badly scarred.

Most analysts expect that the president will now turn back to Mrs
Tymoshenko, whose bloc is the only party likely to increase its
representation in parliament and who this time will be in a stronger
position to dictate terms.

She will also be able to use the premiership as a platform to challenge Mr
Yushchenko for the presidency in 2009.

Indeed, the glamorous 46-year-old already seems to have the aura of a
presidential rather than a prime-ministerial candidate – something
demonstrated when she flew to London on Friday for talks with Margaret
Thatcher.

A Tymoshenko premiership is also likely to upset Russia. She supports
Ukraine’s membership of the European Union and Nato and has also been
vitriolic in her condemnation of Moscow’s interference in Ukraine.

When Mrs Tymoshenko was prime minister in 2005, the Kremlin severed gas
supplies to Ukraine, the main energy conduit between Russia and Europe,
causing both interruptions and panic in the EU.

Relations improved when Mr Yanukovych was prime minister but some
analysts warn of a new gas dispute if Mrs Tymoshenko returns.
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/09/24/wukraine124.xml

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15.  DIVISIVE UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
MAY SEE RE-EMERGENCE OF ‘ORANGE’ COALITION

By Daniel McLaughlin in Kiev, Irish Times
Dublin, Ireland, Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

KIEV, UKRAINE – Kiev’s main squares are aflutter with flags, and
colour-coded campaign booths dot the city centre – blue for prime minister
Viktor Yanukovich, orange for President Viktor Yushchenko’s party, and

white with a red heart for the bloc led by Yulia Tymoshenko.

After the huge demonstrations of late 2004, which annulled Yanukovich’s
fraudulent election victory and swept Yushchenko to power, it is hard not to
feel like territory is being staked out ahead of this Sunday’s parliamentary
election – and the protests that might follow it.

The election has inspired a tentative rapprochement between Yushchenko and
Tymoshenko, the leaders of the so-called Orange Revolution, and polls
suggest that together they will garner something close to the 30 per cent
predicted for the Regions Party of Yanukovich.

But in a bitter battle that will go down to the wire, few people in Ukraine
expect the eventual loser to quietly accept defeat and go into opposition.

The “orange” parties have openly accused Yanukovich of trying to rig the
ballot in his stronghold of eastern Ukraine, where his party is alleged to
have produced fraudulent electoral rolls that include ineligible voters and,
in one city, the names of some 19,000 dead people.

“We have collected lots of information suggesting that the Regions Party is
losing support and is trying to employ the same techniques they used in 2004
and to some extent in the parliamentary election of 2006,” Hryhoriy Nemyria,
a senior aide to Tymoshenko, told The Irish Times.

Yanukovich, in turn, accuses his rivals of using similar tactics in central
and western Ukraine where they are strongest – creating an atmosphere of
suspicion that is likely to fuel post-election legal battles and perhaps
street protests – albeit on a smaller scale than in 2004.

“The situation we have today in Ukraine is that some people will not accept
the result of anything if it doesn’t serve their own purposes,” said
Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, foreign policy adviser to Yanukovich.

Gryshchenko blames Yushchenko for failing to stand above politics and act

as an impartial guarantor of the constitution, instead of engaging in a power
struggle with the prime minister that Sunday’s election is supposed to
resolve.

“It is difficult when the president’s decrees, which form the foundation for
holding this election, are in themselves not constitutional. They can be
challenged in the constitutional court – but then that body is also split
along party lines.”

The Regions Party appears confident of victory on Sunday, and rejects both
the popular portrayal of Yanukovich as pro-Russian and anti-EU and the
suggestion that only his allies were engaged in fraudulent practices in the
2004 presidential election. “There were quite a number of irregularities by

all participants,” Gryshchenko said.

“They were not exclusive to one party. But some parties were more PR-savvy
in presenting their views in a manner that helped them gain the respect and
support of the West.”

He also believes these elections will not spawn huge demonstrations – though
he admits to having no idea what kind of government they will produce,
either a reunited “orange” team comprising supporters of Yushchenko and
Tymoshenko, or an unlikely coalition of the president’s party with that of
his erstwhile enemy, Yanukovich.

“There will no doubt be disputes and challenges,” Gryshchenko said. “But I
do not expect major street protests – unless the results show a total
disregard for the genuine will of the people.” (http://www.ireland.com)

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16.  UKRAINE DEMOCRACY NEEDS U.S. HELP

COMMENTARY: By Joseph Tydings
The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, MD, Wed, September 26, 2007

Next Sunday, with Ukraine’s once-hopeful Orange Revolution in disarray, that
wonderful but beleaguered country will hold a national parliament election
that is shaping up to be another political storm – one where an ill wind
blows through to steal the vote.

The Bush administration, so focused on forcing change in Iraq, has turned
its back on the survival of Ukraine’s fragile new democracy.

The United States must join Europe’s leading democracies and closely watch
the parliament, or Rada, election. If we don’t, freedom-loving Ukrainians
may be robbed again.

I first met courageous refugees from Ukraine as a young soldier in Europe
after World War II. I was struck by their indomitable spirit and
appreciation of our democratic institutions. Ukrainian identity, which
predates Russia, was never successfully suppressed under the Romanov
czars or Stalin’s dictatorship.

In November 2005, while I was an election monitor in Ukraine, I witnessed a
stolen election that was later reversed by thousands of young Ukrainians,
gathered under orange flags in Kiev’s Maidan Square. They wouldn’t stand for
election fraud.

As large as Texas and with almost 50 million people, Ukraine was the cradle
of Slavic civilization. It was starved by Stalin and devastated by Hitler.

Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was ruled by Communist
successors with Soviet corruption, exploitation and incompetence.

Nevertheless, Ukraine is the most educated and enlightened of the nations
of the former Soviet Union, and is a beacon of hope for all.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukrainians have continued to aspire to a
better life, and to vote in huge numbers. Today, with Kremlin-influenced
oligarchs bankrolling two of the top three parties, Russia is trying to
bring Ukraine back into its orbit. A stolen election would be just what the
Russians ordered.

Igor Popov thinks so. The head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, he
believes Sunday’s elections will be “dirtier” than those in 2006, when the
world was watching.

“In 2006, President Viktor Yushchenko was very interested in showing the
world that we are capable of conducting honest elections,” he wrote in a
recent report. This time, he fears leading parties will again try to
manipulate the elections.

Today, our country, the world’s leading democracy, has forgotten Ukraine
and the need for effective election monitoring. In 2005, USAID funded a
monitoring mission of more than 30 former U.S. and European legislators; I
was among them.

Since then, the organizing group, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, has been
forced to completely close shop in Ukraine for lack of Bush administration
support.

In contrast, the European Parliament’s largest political group recently
urged member states to send observers to Ukraine.

Joseph Daul, leader of the European People’s Party and European Democrats,
sees the elections as a test of the country’s readiness to emerge from its
recent political turmoil. In an interview earlier this month, he said that
fair results are important for “strengthening Ukraine’s democracy” and its
“European future.”

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will observe. A
smattering of other international nonprofit groups, including a few
Americans, are signed up too.

But unless the number of registered international observers – just 400 so
far – increases drastically, a tree could fall in an empty forest and no one
will hear.

What will happen next in Ukraine if another election is stolen? Perhaps
Ukrainian poet-laureate Taras Shevchenko said it best in his poem, “My
Friendly Epistle” in 1845: [I will] grieve like one accursed, Through all
the hours both last and first, Sad at the crossroads, day and night, With no
one there to see my plight.

Across a century since his death, Shevchenko’s beloved poems evoked
heartfelt sympathy for oppressed people everywhere and evolved into an
indictment of rulers who abuse their power.

Today, it is imperative the United States heed his words and join the
international community to watch the Rada elections closely.
—————————————————————————————–
Joseph Tydings served as U.S. Senator from Maryland from 1965 to 1971.
He was co-chairman of an Election Monitor Team in Ukraine’s November
and December 2005 elections. E-mail is tydingsj@dicksteinshapiro.com.
——————————————————————————————
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.ukraine24sep24,0,3432313.story

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17.  VOTE FRAUD FEARS SPREAD AHEAD OF POLL

By John Marone, Staff Writer, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sep 26 2007

With so much at stake in terms of economic patronage and executive
privilege, Ukraine’s snap elections were expected to be fierce. The fact
that voters have more of the same to choose from has meant that the race
will be close as well.

And tensions seem to be reaching a boiling point with recently-observed
virtual acknowledgements of defeat by top contenders crying fraud before
the votes have even been counted.

The Regions Party of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, represented by the
color blue, has sent out signals as recently as this month that they might
drop out of the race if they feel it’s unfair.

More recently, the Regions have predicted massive falsification by their
opponents and are gearing up for large street-side protests to challenge
what they claim will be an attempt to rob them of their likely victory in
the decisive vote.

Orange President Viktor Yushchenko, represented by the Our Ukraine-People’s
Self-Defense Bloc, struck back in the same vein from the campaign trail on
Sept. 25.

“Why does Yanukovych speak of falsification at each of his rallies? The
reason is that he is planning falsification. It will happen. What I’m
talking about is how do we deal with this problem,” he said in Sumy Region.

But the president’s response, a warning to his nemesis from Orange
Revolution days, was equally fatalistic.

“I’d like to tell Yanukovych personally and other colleagues as well that
the government is personally responsible for holding a free, fair and
democratic election,” Yushchenko said.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which is controlled by Yushchenko,
backed the president’s claims with a report that an election council in the
eastern city of Kharkiv had registered close to 100,000 non-existent persons
on voter rolls.

The SBU has also in recent days launched probes into election fraud attempts
in other eastern cities where Regions support is high, including Mariupol.

The Regions’ propaganda machine has not been idle. The industrialist-backed
party has in recent days systematically disseminated warnings that the vote
would be rigged against their favor in a would-be effort to legitimize their
claim to victory, and trigger massive protests if votes don’t tally to their
advantage.

“For the entire campaign, the Orange have tried to mislead the people. Truth
to them is not important. Winning at any cost is all that matters,” reads a
Regions party statement dated Sept. 25.

Also from the campaign trail, Yanukovych accused his opponents of buying
votes. “We have information that they are paying for every vote,” he said in
Poltava Region.

And like the president, Yanukovych has offered voters an additional
interpretation of the alleged cheating.

“We see that the Orange team … aren’t winning and they feel it. Their
ratings are falling everywhere. They see that they are losing and therefore
preparing falsifications,” he said on Poltava TV.

Recent polls suggest both the Orange and Blue camps are in a dead heat race
where a single percentage point could claim victory.

Yanukovych’s party could garner anywhere from 30-38 percent support; 10-14
percent of voter support could go to Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s
Self-Defense, with 20-28 percent going to opposition leader Yulia
Tymoshenko.

The Communists and a few fringe parties could pass the 3 percent barrier,
inheriting a kingmaker position in coalition talks. Other smaller parties
could be key in stripping away valuable percentage points.

Despite Ukraine’s longstanding reputation as a country of dirty politics,
corrupt officialdom and a feeble court system, last year’s parliamentary
poll was dubbed the fairest ever.

This year, however, Yushchenko and Yanukovych are equally well-placed to
influence events from a position of administrative power.

The ambitious opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is also fighting hard,
but none of the leaders has full control of the situation and there is no
referee.

This leaves nobody in charge in a dangerous tug of war for power. With so
much at stake, the competing sides seem, once again as in Orange Revolution
days, eager to take extreme measures to claim victory.

To make the choice more complicated for voters, Yanukovych’s team has
learned to parrot the political program of the Orange parties.

Accused of Soviet-style authoritarianism and mass fraud during the 2004
presidential race, the premier has undergone an image makeover that attempts
to steal the democratic wind from his opponents’ sails.

Yanukovych has also campaigned vigorously beyond his home territory in
Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, where Tymoshenko continues to make
some headway.

But the real battle appears to be centered on Kyiv, where the votes will be
counted. The capital is where Yanukovych had his fraud-marred presidential
victory overturned by the country’s Supreme Court.

This time around, the premier has taken precautions, gathering his
supporters on Maidan to protest against rigged voting before it happens.

“We have the power to prevent this,” he said, “therefore, we will watch
carefully and react if necessary,” Yanukovych told voters in Poltava.

Oles Dony, a Kyiv-based political analyst who is on the party list for
Yushchenko’s bloc, said falsification in the Sept. 30 vote is likely by all
sides, and not necessarily on orders from above.

“Election officials in small towns don’t need to be prodded to produce
favorable results for their mentors in Kyiv,” he said.

Yury Yakymenko, a political analyst at Kyiv’s Razumkov Center, said all the
hoopla about falsification is partly just campaign rhetoric that Ukrainians
have become accustomed to.

But, he added, it also serves as “psychological preparation of the public to
set the stage for the mobilization of protesters in the event of an election
defeat.”

According to Yakymenko, the accusations of cheating from both sides indicate
that coalition horse trading and backroom deals are likely to stretch on for
a long time after election day, yielding the same kind of instability that
caused President Yushchenko to call the snap elections last spring in the
first place.
—————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/nation/27442/

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18.  DIRTY TRICKS: USEFUL ELECTION TOOL IN MODERN
UKRAINIAN DEMOCRACY

FEATURE ARTICLE, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)
Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, 26 Sep 2007

KIEV – Ukraine is by almost any standard a functioning democracy, and
these days opposition candidates are rarely murdered.

But that doesn’t mean anyone has sworn off the dirty tricks. Ukraine
elections are roughly comparable, in terms of transparency and fair results,
to voting days in neighbouring Poland or Hungary.

The campaigning, however, is not; and Ukrainian political strategists are
limited only by their imaginations, and certainly not by democratic
traditions, when it comes to improving their election results, while staying
within the letter of the law.

“Technological candidates” are perhaps the most expensive of Ukraine’s
dirty but legal election tricks. One registers a political party similar to
one’s opponent, ideally with a nearly identical name, so voters will mistake

it for the real thing.

Ukrainian election law mandates a political party must gain at least 3 per
cent of the popular vote to gain at least a seat in the legislature.

As the duplicate is unlikely to overcome that barrier, all votes attracted
by the dummy party, are votes lost to the targeted opponent. As a result
your party gains a relatively greater percentage of seats when the next
legislature is convened.

Currently, three parties appear certain to gain seats in Ukraine’s next
legislature, and another two or three might just squeak over the 3 per cent
barrier, according to polls.

Nonetheless, a whopping 20 parties are on the ballot – of which at least a
dozen have no other reason to exist, except to redirect votes away from one
of the three big parties, observers said.

These stalking horse parties almost without exception target special
interests: among others peasants, woman, farmers, supporters of former
President Leonid Kuchma (who has retired from politics), Christians, and
Marxists.

But perhaps the most effective “technological party” in this election will
be the Communist Party of Ukraine (New), a previously- unknown group
currently out-advertising the actual Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) which,
according to pollsters, is teetering on crashing out of parliament with
about 2.9 to 3.2 per cent popular support.

If the CPU fails to make the 3 per cent cut, because its replicate absorbed
too many of its traditional votes, all three of Ukraine’s major parties
would stand to gain.

Registering and advertising a CPU double to lead hopefully 200,000 to
400,000 Communist voters astray, costs some 1 to 3 million dollars,
Ukrainska Pravda magazine reported.

Down at the grass roots, Ukrainian campaign managers have updated the
Middle East’s television rent-a-crowd with an innovation:
rent-a-campaign-organization.

Overtly, many of the features of a proper election campaign at voter level
are present and visible in Ukraine, among them stands with volunteers
handing out campaign literature, activists knocking on doors, and private
businesses tacking up posters of the party they support.

But in Ukraine, all of this costs salary, as for practical purposes, average
Ukrainians are unwilling to donate time to someone’s political campaign.

A person standing in a booth costs a dollar an hour, while going door to
door is considered harder work, and costs a party as much as 20 dollars a
day, the Ukrainska Kriminalna said.

Staff at Ukraine’s top Shevchenko University last week complained class
attendance was abysmal, and some lectures even had to be cancelled, because
the student population by and large was out earning money for a different
political party each day of the week, the Interfax news agency reported.

Polling results are another aspect of the Ukrainian democratic process that
is susceptible to cash. As in developed countries, Ukrainian campaign
managers depend on polls conducted by survey companies to estimate things
like voter support and key issues.

The difference in Ukraine is that each of the major political parties has
its own polling company which, perhaps unsurprisingly, regularly publishes
data showing the party that bought the poll, to be substantially more
popular, than the same party in a poll the opposition came up with.

The differences can be substantial; for instance the leading Regions Ukraine
party, a pro big business group, claims it has rock-solid proof it will
obtain at least 37 and perhaps as much as 45 per cent of the popular vote.

Regions’ deadly enemy, the anti-corruption Block of Yulia Tymoshenko, begs
to differ, arguing their incontrovertible polling numbers show Regions
stagnant at 30 per cent.

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19.  UKRAINE’S ELECTION WATCHDOG NOTES BAD
QUALITY OF VOTER ROLLS

UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 0935 gmt 21 Sep 07
ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1011 gmt 21 Sep 07
Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 1129 gmt 21 Sep 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Friday, Sep 21, 2007

KIEV – The Committee of Voters of Ukraine has said that the voter rolls to
be used during the 30 September early parliamentary election are of low
quality, the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN quoted the committee’s leader,

Ihor Popov, as telling a news conference in Kiev on 21 September.

The quality of voter rolls varies across the country because they were
prepared by working groups set up by the local authorities, Popov said.
“However, their quality is generally low throughout Ukraine,” he added.

There are numerous discrepancies in the lists of students living in
dormitories and in the general voter rolls which sometimes list deceased
people, Popov said.

Meanwhile, 3m Ukrainians listed in the rolls are currently travelling abroad
and are not planning to return home any time soon, the Russian ITAR-TASS
news agency said on 21 September, quoting Ukrainian Interior Minister Vasyl
Tsushko as saying during his visit to Crimea. Most of them are registered in
the western regions of Ukraine, the agency added.

The Committee of Voters of Ukraine, however, criticized the Interior
Ministry’s initiative to expel such citizens from the voter rolls based on
the data that the ministry obtained from the State Border Service, the
Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported later on 21 September.

The agency quoted Popov as saying that the Interior Ministry obtain those
data “illegally” and thus may not use them to correct the voter rolls,
especially since the data have not been systematized.

“The Interior Ministry explained that it had collected the data to prevent
crimes. In our opinion, the police made a political step by obtaining this
information from border guards in a not always comprehensible manner. Border
guards have not been tabulating these data automatically over the last three
years,” the agency added, quoting Popov as saying.
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20.  ELECTION OBSERVERS DESCEND ON UKRAINE

Tammy Lynch, Business Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Sep 24, 2007

Ukraine will receive approximately 3,000 international election observers,
who will monitor the conduct of the poll across the country and stay on
sharp lookout for fraud

On September 30 Ukraine will call on roughly 3,000 observers representing
almost every western European country, the United States, Canada and most
countries of the former Soviet Union.

In 2006, just over 3,500 observers monitored the parliamentary poll, while
in 2004, up to 9,000 international observers monitored each separate round
of the presidential election.

The decrease in observers seems to be both a logistical issue because of the
short notice of the poll, and a result of Ukraine’s success in conducting a
free and fair election in 2006.
Unfounded falsification fears?
Despite regular accusations by one side or the other of vote rigging and a
bumpy start that included an attempt to keep the leading opposition bloc off
the ballot, most international missions cautiously suggest that this success
is continuing.

“The atmosphere is more complicated and more polarised [than 2006],” says
Peter Novotny of the European Network of Election Monitoring Organisations
(ENEMO).

However, the group has seen no sign of systematic attempts to rig the
election, and has not registered a higher level of concern than in 2006. “If
there is fraud, it will most likely be localised,” Novotny adds.

ENEMO, which fielded the most observers per round in 2004 (more than 1,000)
will bring around 450 observers to Ukraine this year from 16 countries in
the CIS and central and eastern Europe.

Novotny notes that ENEMO has enjoyed “good co-operation” from the governing
Party of Regions, which has organised a working group to liaise on
observation issues. Regions provides dossier of complaints and information
on a weekly basis, but so far, Novotny says, “the folder is smaller than in
2006.”

Novotny stresses that all parties send concerns or complaints to be examined
by ENEMO. These checks are based on accepted United Nations observation
standards documented in the Declaration on Principles of International
Election Observation.

With the exception of the For a Fair Election group, apparently comprised
primarily of Russian MPs, all international observation missions in Ukraine
have signed this declaration.

All organisations will coordinate their work in order to cover as many of
the 34,000 polling stations in Ukraine as possible. Observers estimate that
3,000 observers can realistically visit only 18,000 polling stations on
election-day, leaving a significant portion unmonitored.
New elections, old worries
Most observers’ concerns currently centre around issues lingering from
previous elections: inaccurate voter lists, questions over home voting and
proxy voting.

In its pre-election statement, the US-based National Democratic Institute
(NDI), which will field a delegation of approximately two dozen observers,
characterised as “very troubling” a decision by the CEC to remove important
safeguards related to home voting.

The home ballot in Ukraine is intended to be used by disabled voters who are
unable to travel to polling stations. In 2004, two eastern regions –
Mykolaev and Donetsk – saw up to 30% of total ballots cast at home. “The
mobile ballot box became a major instrument of fraud,” wrote the NDI.

In order to deal with this concern, in 2005 Ukraine began requiring medical
certificates for home voting but the CEC’s ruling subsequently eliminated
this safeguard.

However, the ruling was overturned by the courts, which ordered the CEC to
create uniform procedures to ensure that those who cast their ballot at home
were truly disabled. To date, the CEC has not done so. This could
theoretically “open the door to significant falsification of votes,”
according to the NDI.

Observers are however pleased with new electoral amendments that will allow
observers to compare the number of ballots inside a returned mobile (home)
ballot box with the number who officially requested a home vote.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has also
highlighted difficulties with voter lists. In its Interim Report, the
organisation noted: “Unlike in 2006, updated voter lists will be sent
directly to District Election Commissions rather than the CEC, and no
national database of voters will be compiled.

This makes it impossible to check for possible cross-region multiple entries
on a nationwide scale.” For this reason, Novotny says, observers will be
watching for the “bus caravans” seen in 2004, transporting voters from
polling station to polling station to repeatedly cast votes.

The Party of Regions also recently charged that preparations for fraud are
being conducted in Ukraine based on ‘proxy’ votes.

The Party of Regions claims that many of the estimated 3,000,000 Ukrainians
living abroad could use either relatives or party officials to vote on their
behalf for either Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence Bloc
or the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, thus conducting massive fraud. Similar
accusations were made in both 2004 and 2006.

Observation missions wonder what will happen on the day after the election.
“What will the parties do if they lose, but refuse to accept it?” asked one
observer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. For this reason, the risk of
court battles and street protests still exists, observers believe. “And
anything can happen in Ukraine,” Novotny adds.
——————————————————————————————–
The author is a Senior Research Fellow at Boston University’s Institute

for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy and a regular international
commentator on Ukrainian politics
——————————————————————————————-
http://www.businessukraine.com.ua/election-observers-descend-on 
———————————————————————————————–
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21.  THE LIFE OF YUSHCHENKO

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By John Marone
Kyiv Post Staff Journalist, Kyiv, Ukraine
Eurasian Home, Moscow, Russia, Monday, September 24, 2007

There was a time when educated Ukrainians didn’t read the latest bestseller
translated from English, or Dostoyevsky (pardon – Taras Shevchenko).

During the middle ages, the literate were versed in what are called the
Lives of Saints. The typical plot of these religious works is the struggle
of a God-fearing Christian against heathens, nature or sinners.

Times and tastes have changed, of course, but the archetype of the Orthodox
martyr remains fixed in the Ukrainian psyche.

Sometimes, the martyrs were princes, such as the 11th century sons of Grand
Prince Volodymyr: Boris and Gleb were knocked off by their older and envious
brother Svyatopolk, who wanted the throne of Kyivan Rus for himself.

Enter Viktor Yushchenko, the modern-day leader of Ukraine with a serious
succession problem of his own. Yushchenko’s father wasn’t Volodymyr the
Great, Christianizer of the East Slavs, or even a Soviet apparatchik.

Nevertheless, following his short stint as premier under President Leonid
Kuchma, Yushchenko publicly stated that Kuchma was like a father to him.

Unfortunately, Kuchma did not feel the same about Yushchenko, whom he
canned as head of government.

But that doesn’t hurt our analogy with the Boris and Gleb story, because
following his scandal ridden second-term in office, Kuchma will not go down
in history as the propagator of Christian values among Ukrainians. And by
association, Kuchma’s chosen successor, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych,
will also have a hard time making it into Orthodox hagiography.

However, Yushchenko seems to think – or thinks that his countrymen think –
that he qualifies for the position of princely martyr. It’s a soft job,
because you don’t have to achieve any policy goals. The down side is that
your enemies get to do all kinds of nasty things to you, which are actually
supposed to improve your public approval ratings.

Yushchenko began cultivating his saintly image in 2004, during his campaign
against Yanukovych for the presidency. As during the times of Boris and
Gleb, the issue of succession, or transfer of power, is an ugly affair in
Modern Ukraine.

Like anyone who challenged Kuchma’s will, Yushchenko and his supporters
were subject to ridicule and violence. The best example of this was
Yushchenko’s poisoning, which left the handsome politician disfigured and
ill in the run up to voting.

Nevertheless, just a few months later, our hagiographic hero had defeated
his foe, won the presidency and was basking in the international limelight
as a champion of democracy.

It didn’t matter that Yushchenko had once served in the system that he
overthrew, or that he’d been helped into power by real opposition
politicians like Oleksandr Moroz and Yulia Tymoshenko, who suffered
no less under Kuchma.

More importantly, change was coming anyway, as millions of Ukrainians,
including powerful businessmen, decided they’d had had enough of gangster
politics.

In short, despite showing a genuine commitment to reform as the country’s
chief banker and prime minister, and weathering a sometimes-frightening
election campaign, Yushchenko was more lamb than lion.

When push came to shove, and he was forced to confront his enemies at the
negotiation table at the peak of the Orange Revolution, he made unnecessary
and embarrassing compromises – the most fatal being his approval of a
hastily drafted set of constitutional reforms that would come back to haunt
him.

Now, three years and as many elections later, Ukraine’s struggle for
succession has not ended, but Yushchenko continues to play the princely
martyr. With snap parliamentary elections only weeks away, Yushchenko
has rekindled the memories of his poisoning.

Unfortunately, we onlookers are no closer to finding out who done it. The
president told journalists on September 11 that he had “practically all the
pieces put together” and that the attempt against his life was “not a
private action.”

After three years as head of state, having all the investigators and
laboratories in the country at his disposal, this is all he could come up
with?

The only clue the president gave us is a Russian connection – the big bad
bear. “The three people needed most for the investigation are currently in
Russia. All our requests to the prosecutor-general to have these people
appear in Ukrainian courts have gone unanswered, including one in
December that I personally handed over, requesting the help of Russian
President Vladimir Putin”, he said.

Although all this may be true, it’s not clear why Yushchenko is bringing it
up now. Maybe he wants to improve his bloc’s ratings in the more
nationalistic western Ukraine.

The president’s recent appearance at a rally in Lviv would seem to suggest
that he is concentrating all his efforts on his traditional, less
threatening base of support.

By contrast, Yanukovych’s Regions party and the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko,
the election’s two front runners, are challenging the president and each
other beyond their own backyards.

Villain or not – Yanukovych is a proven fighter, returning from the ignominy
of defeat in the 2004 presidential race to retake the government and
challenge Yushchenko for executive power.

As for Tymoshenko, her supporters have also put a halo around her head.
But Tymoshenko seems to fit more with the Western religious tradition, in
particular Joan of Arc.

Moreover, a closer look at Yushchenko’s saintly credentials reveals a
possible subject for confession. In 2004, he promised profusely to solve the
murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze and put the bandits in jail, but has
done neither.

In fact, it was Yushchenko who permitted Kuchma-era prosecutor-general
Svyatoslav Piskun to remain in office, thus ensuring that no one high up
would do time. The president also has to take responsibility for
Yanukovych’s return as premier.

Instead, the president has blamed Socialist Oleksandr Moroz, his one-time
ally in the fight for the presidency. But Moroz only decided to join a
coalition with Regions and the Communists after Yushchenko had continually
put off an agreement with Moroz and Tymoshenko.

Word has it that Yushchenko doesn’t get on with his fellow saint. Joan of
Arc probably would have ruffled the feathers of Boris and Gleb as well.

The question now becomes: how long can the president continue to play
princely martyr? If Yushchenko thinks God is on his side, he had better
check the latest polls. He’ll be lucky if his bloc gets what it got in 2006,
which was, by the way, 10 percent less votes than in 2002.

Some say the president has already started to fight back, removing the
contradictory political figures who divided his team in the past.
Businessman Petro Poroshenko, who clashed with Tymoshenko when she
served as Yushchenko’s first prime minister, has been put on the relative
sidelines of the National Bank. Running the presidential secretariat is
Viktor Baloga, who supports cooperation with BYuT.

Nevertheless, the president’s bloc has been threatened by a split between
those who support better relations with milder elements of Yanukovych’s
team and those more sympathetic to Tymoshenko’s firebrand populism.

All blocs are supported by businessmen, but Tymoshenko doesn’t have to
worry about soiling her saintly image, as she carries a sword as well as a
cross.

The more Yushchenko surrounds himself with real fighters, like Socialist
defector Yury Lutsenko whose People’s Defense Party shares a ticket with
Yuchchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc, the more his own weaknesses are
demonstrated by contrast.

Even the president’s pro-Western policies such as joining the EU and NATO
sometimes look like an attempt to have the West do his fighting for him.
Starting from the Orange Revolution, Europeans have almost continually been
called upon in one capacity or another to arbitrate in the power struggle
between Yushchenko and Yanukovych.

Interestingly, the Regions seems to enjoy Yushchenko’s saintly image as
much as he does. Rather than hitting him with the kind of heavy criticism
exchanged with Tymoshenko, Regions deputies can often be heard
suggesting that the president has been misled by his secretariat or the
opposition – i.e. Tymoshenko.

It’s better to confine a saint in monastery than attack him outright and
give him more points as a martyr. Ukrainians may revere martyr princes,
but they also like their leaders to be strong.

Judging by the way Yushchenko’s decrees to halt hurried privatization are
being ignored, and the fact that the parliament that he disbanded continues
to meet, it would be difficult to portray the president as a strong leader.

If Yushchenko’s aim is to bring ‘civilized’ European values such as the
power of judiciary to bear in Ukraine, three cheers for him.

But no one has informed Ukraine’s corrupt judges. Values and vision have
to be followed up with courage and pragmatism. Emulating saintly suffering
may get one into the kingdom of heaven, but it’s not going help him run a
country on earth.
——————————————————————————————–
http://www.eurasianhome.org/xml/t/opinion.xml?lang=en&nic=opinion&pid=861

————————————————————————————————
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
22.  UKRAINE: PRIMARIES ARE A WAY TO BRING
VOTERS CLOSER TO POLITICS

By Natalya Shapovalova, ICPS Political Analyst
International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS) Newsletter #375
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, September 3, 2007

Since Ukraine switched to a parliamentary-presidential form of government
and proportional election system, political parties have become key players
in formulating and implementing government and local policies.

But, to cope with this level of responsibility and power, they need to be
more effective and democratic, which means getting closer to voters at all
levels and gaining
their trust.

Here, Ukraine can make use of the experience of western countries that have
long resolved similar problems by forming party lists on the basis of
preliminary elections or primaries.

As part of the “Lessons in Democracy: World Practice and Ukraine” project,
the Centre’s experts analyzed the reasons for instituting primaries, the
types and models of primaries, and their impact on political parties.

As a result of political reforms adopted in 2004, Ukraine’s parties have
become the main players in political competition. They have also become the
main focus of public demand for democracy. However, there are three main
problems that prevent the country’s political parties from keeping up with
the process of democratization.
[1] Human resource shortage
The absence of large-scale parties with well-developed grassroots
organizations in Ukraine makes the process of organizing an election
campaign at the local level much more complicated.

Most often, the ensuing shortage of human resources, especially at the local
level, results in the random inclusion of people on party lists who later
discredit the party’s image.

Except for leaders and some party speakers in their circles, Ukrainian
parties have very few competent public individuals or well-known politicians
who are capable of bringing their party political dividends.
[2] Regionalized and limited
It is difficult for parties that are based on the financial and human
resources of specific regions or ideological, dissident projects to expand
their electoral base, to go beyond the boundaries of regions that are loyal
to them and become nationalparties-in short, to stop being parties that
represent only one part of the country.
[3] Undemocratic and untransparent modus operandi
With the going of the majority electoral system, the human face of
individual elected representatives has been hidden behind a party “brand.”

Faced with party lists, voters essentially choose a “package deal” and after
the election are soon disappointed with the actual candidates who end up in
the Verkhovna Rada or their local councils. The closed way in which such
lists are formed has further eroded voter trust in political parties.
Primaries can open the party “black box”
Parties face the challenge of opening themselves up to voters and
rank-andfile party members and eliminating barriers both within the party,
between its headquarters and local branches, and between the party and
voters.

International practice shows that one way to resolve these problems is to
democratize the process of nominating party candidates to elective office
and to form party lists based on preliminary elections or primaries.

Depending on the format, candidates in such primaries can be either
rank-and-file party members or anyone who wants to participate, regardless
of party affiliation.

On one hand, primaries make it possible to increase the level of voter
participation in the formation of government bodies by opening the party
“black box” to voters, bringing ordinary people closer to politics, and
generating a stronger sense of participatory democracy.

On the other, by varying the degree of openness of internal party elections
and the way they are held, a party can also resolve its internal personnel,
image, management, and even financial problems.
The history of primaries
Primaries are a unique mechanism that was first introduced in the US and had
no equal in other countries for a long time. The first law in history making
primaries mandatory was passed in 1899.

In recent decades, this process has also been used, to a greater or lesser
degree, in the UK, Spain and Israel. Italy introduced primaries in 2005 and
France in 2006.

The main reasons for instituting primaries are:
to strengthen party lists in order to win elections;
to increase party membership and voter support;
to make the election process more democratic;
to strengthen the link between a party and civil society;
the determination of party leadership to reduce the power of
mid-ranking party officials.
What kinds of primaries are there?
To understand how primaries can affect a party, its electoral base and the
political system as a whole, two basic criteria need to be considered:

who has the right to vote in a primary;
whether party leadership can affect the result.

If the vote is large-scale, that is, eligible voters include not only active
party members in regular contact with their party organizations, but also
voters who are not actively involved in party work in their everyday lives,
this is an open primary. If only party activists in regular and close
contact with the party are allowed to vote, this is a closed primary.

How a candidate behaves during a primary will also depend on how much
party leadership can influence the final result.

If the primary process is transparent, that is, clearly regulated by law or
party statutes and rules, and party leadership cannot seriously influence
the outcome once the process is started, there is no significant topdown
impact on the results of such primaries.

When party leaders can change the rules for a primary in process or just
before it starts, when they determine the list of candidates to participate
in primaries according to their own views, sifting out “undesirable”
individuals, these are “primaries under the influence of party leadership.”
No ideal model
The practice of western democracies includes three different models of
primary:
open primaries where party leadership has no impact on the results
(the US and Israel);
closed primaries where party leadership has no impact on the results
(Spain);
closed primaries where party leadership influences the results (the UK).

A fourth “model,” open primaries where party leadership influences the
results, is not very widespread, for objective reasons: if party leaders can
manipulate the results, voters will soon become disillusioned with the
primary process and stop participating. Needless to say, such models are
not long-lived.

European practice demonstrates that there is no ideal model of primary.
Although open primaries build voter trust in parties and improve the quality
of party lists, they can weaken internal party discipline and diffuse party
identity.

Closed primaries where party leadership cannot influence the results have
considerable democratic potential. However, their negative aspects include
the danger of losing the link between a party and its voters. Rank-and-file
party members are often bigger radicals and purists regarding the party line
than voters themselves.

This is why closed primaries mean that a party will often be unable to
respond appropriately to changing public opinion and its leadership will be
unable to play the role of a vanguard, offering new, even more moderate,
platforms or ideas.

Closed primaries where party leadership influences the outcome can
strengthen control over the party, but they also threaten that party’s
democratic image.
An effective political technology
Primaries are an effective political technology that parties need to know
how to use. The impact of primaries is not always obvious: everything
depends on what model is chosen, how “open” the primaries are, and how
strongly the party can influence the outcome.

Using primaries, a political organization can to achieve completely opposite
goals: to make its party more democratic or, on the contrary, to strengthen
the power of party leadership over rank-and file members; to increase the
role of ideology in the party’s identity or, to the contrary, soften its
ideological aspects.

The main point is to have a clear, proper understanding of how a particular
type of primary will affect the party and the political system as a whole,
and what limitations each model has.
————————————————————————————————
Contact ICPS political analyst Natalya Shapovalova by telephone at

(380-44) 484-4400 or via e-mail at nshapovalova@icps.kiev.ua.
LINK: http://www.icps.com.ua/doc/nl_eng_20070903_0375.pdf
————————————————————————————————
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
23. THE 2007 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS: COMING
TO POWER VERSUS DEMOCRATIC PERSPECTIVES

By Svitlana Kononchuk, Political Program Head, UCIPR
“Civic Education in the 2007 Parliamentary Elections”. “Your Vote-2007”.
Issue 8. “Ukraine: Parliamentary Elections and Democracy”
Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, September 25, 2007

For some time, it seemed that unacceptability of the election model is
recognized nation-wide.

Ukrainian politicians chose the most primitive and worst option (one
constituency for 37 million voters, strict lists, the same status and
threshold for different election subjects and many other elements) out of
numerous modifications of the proportional system alone

(nomination procedure, requirements to congresses, widening of the circle
of electoral subjects, increase of the number of constituencies, type of
electoral lists, procedure for re-distribution of votes cast for parties
that did not pass the electoral threshold etc.).

This entails political corruption, makes the democratic institutions –
parliamentary elections – senseless from the civil viewpoint and strengthens
power and advantages of people separated from the rest of society.

Electoral and extra-electoral procedures do not provide for preventive
measures against the formation of an unsound and ineffective legislature,
whose work does not satisfy either Ukraine’s needs for development or
interests of various social strata and groups.

As a matter of fact, a favorable electoral model alone is not enough for the
public participation in order to strengthen democracy.

The electoral model is a link in the chain of other necessary factors:
deconcentration of power, real self-government (vested with not only powers
but also resources), strengthening of the law and the property system etc.

However, it is the electoral model that serves as a basis for delegation of
power and determines to whom this power belongs.

Over the whole election campaign, we have observed similarity and difference
of positions of political groups on various issues of the country’s
development. And we have determined that the formation of a government is
one of those issues, about which parties are unanimous.

It happens that in the agitation passion, politicians take upon themselves
too much, promising to “eradicate” something “once and forever” or do
“something incredible”…

Though, the election campaign is nearing its end but we did not hear any
plain statements about the electoral model.

None of fervent political supporters of “common” Ukrainians, who assure us
of their loyalty singing the serenade about the “European choice”, lost their

mind and none of them failed to drop even a word of the need to make the
procedure for power legitimacy more transparent for these very “common”
Ukrainians and more effective for their real civic participation. Yet, everything
happens vice versa.

Conscience of political agitators is clear and experience “whispers” that
these “common” Ukrainians do not care about political rights and if they

choose between 8,500 and 11,000, then “we will go to you!”.

It is sad and disturbing that on the 16th year of Ukraine’s independence and
the development of democratic principles of policy-making, the Ukrainian
society faces the separation of politics and compulsory consumption of
ineffective governance.

In fact, silence of politicians about the political model is no surprise. It
is its current modification (appointment of party leaders to offices instead
of delegating representation of various social groups) that helps this model
to keep power in the best way.

It does not allow gaining absolute power but makes it possible not to spend
time for administrating changes in the country and continue changing the
system of power.

Presently, the matter does not concern political preferences of citizens
(attitude to some politicians is an important but not primary).

The question is that nowadays, politics is built on principles of separation
of citizens from the formation of power, which allows applying in politics
the Soviet tactics for winning businesses and reinforces power of a few
people (even their statements are full of poorly disguised superiority).

Hence, it is denoted not as democracy but as political oligarchy.

We, citizens, are loosing. But politicians are loosing as well. Grown on
artificial soil and rootless, they neither accumulate nor bear social energy
and do not have any prospects.

Therefore, politics is doomed to reproduction of the only really important
problem – redistribution of power inside itself.

(And in Ukraine, power is redistributed among politicians, since we witness
the rapid privatization of politics
by a few political forces. The so-called small parties patiently watch this
process.

But it is a topic of another discussion – whether it is necessary and
whether it is possible and how to gradually eliminate monopolization of
politics and its non-competitiveness.)

Given the situation, each of the above forces strives to involve the society
in power redistribution, making it flexible
but nevertheless weak argument, while discussing who will be a legitimate
master of the state and who will simply watch how spheres of influence and
resources will be redistributed.

If redistribution agreements are impeded, the political actors might
deliberately provoke political crises and politics will eat itself.

As a result, this will entail decline of Ukraine as a potentially
competitive state on the international market. It does not mean stagnation
until politics gets exhausted because decline might linger too long for
human life.

The society badly needs qualitatively new governance. Whether each of us is
ready to wait?

If we recognize that political expediency of the existing electoral system
is an intention of politicians to remove their rivals from political scene,
then to change the situation (or, at least, correct it) for the short-term
period, it is necessary to prioritize the renewal of political rights of
Ukrainians and the political elite that under any democratic system shall
represent interests and needs of not large and very large capital masked
with “charity” but various social strata and groups .

So, how can the society shake confidence of politicians, who feel at ease in
this situation, and achieve changes? Who will dare to assume the role of
“ice-breaker” of estrangement?

At the first stage, communities could lead this slow process because it is
citizens, who create a democratic state. In fact, communities are weak now,
while the territorial reform (though, like all others) is far away.

Nevertheless, using the slightest readiness of some politicians not to
change the electoral model at the local level (which has nothing in common
with allegedly attractive agitation for the election of chairmen of regional
state administrations, who do not belong to the self-government system) but,
at least, to discuss a possible new model of elections to regional, district
and city councils, we can share our vision of such model ensuring equal,
general and open community representation.

In their turn, communities together with other interested groups and their
organizations could shape and promote changes at the national level.

Needless to say, other people will dictate Ukrainians their political will
until various social groups realize and recognize their own interests as
personal (instead of being satisfied with promises) and until they form
representatives of these interests (or find them among existing political
groups).

(For the time being, experience proves that Ukrainians realize only such
simple rights as the right to preserve green parks nearby their houses.)

Presently, Ukrainian politics substituted all other social institutions (and
frequently simulates the mission of promoting labor, property, economic and
other rights of various social groups.

For instance, it is not independent trade unions but political groups that
discredit themselves competing in “humanity” of the minimum wage rate etc.)

However, politics cannot and should not substitute them.

Ukraine’s example demonstrates that the knowledge of principles and “how to
build a democracy” does not releases the society from the historical need to
strengthen some institutions, whereas wasted (even “for a reason”) decades
entail the loss of even those accomplishments, which laid the foundation for
a new state.
———————————————————————————————
This article is prepared within the framework of UCIPR project “Civic
Education in the 2007 Parliamentary Elections”. The bulletin is “Your

Vote-2007″. Issue 8. “Ukraine: Parliamentary Elections and Democracy” 
is available on the UCIPR’s site http://www.ucipr.kiev.ua.
————————————————————————————————-
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