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Ukrainian opposition tries to come to consensus on joint actions

November 12, 2012, 18:11 UTC+3

However there is no unity in the opposition. Each of the three political forces wants to play its own game

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KIEV, November 12 (Itar-Tass) — The opposition Batkivshchina party, the Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR party and the rightist party Svoboda said they would announce a joint plan of action against vote rigging in the recent parliamentary elections at a meeting in front of the Central Election Commission’s building on Monday, November 12.

However there is no unity in the opposition. Each of the three political forces wants to play its own game and join a coalition only as a senior member.

This is fraught with a multi-leader situation. Everyone understands that the head of the future coalition will automatically become a presidential candidate in the next elections in 2015. Batkivshchina leader Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klitschko and Svoboda leader Oleg Tyagnibok ran in the elections with far-going plans for the presidential campaign of 2015.

So far none of them has stated the intention to compete with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich for presidency. But Yatsenyuk and Tyagnibok ran for this post before and intend to do so again, while Klitschko is being “pushed” to compete for the presidency by political scientists who promise “good results” to him.

However the first disagreements became apparent after the parliamentary elections not only among the three political forces, but also within Batkivshchina.

Yatsenyuk liked the idea of a new election in the “problem” precincts. And his fellow party member Anatoly Gritsenko said he was tempted to “strike somebody in the face for the ‘victorious’ recognition of repeated voting in the five precincts”.

The opposition is now engaged in consultations on a possible withdrawal of the votes and nullifying the lists of candidates. This scenario means that 150 MPs elected from the opposition will withdraw their votes so that the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) could not start functioning because law requires at least 300 MPs to be elected for the legislature to become operational.

According to Gritsenko, “this option is possible only if the three political forces make such a decision”. “Then we will have 150 deputies who are ready to refuse to take the oath, which will make the Verkhovna Rada illegitimate under the Constitution,” the politician noted.

However this idea is not so easy to realise. “Party leaders are talking to every person on the electoral list. I know that there will be freaks who will take the bait of having been elected [to the parliament] and will not give up their mandates. I hope very much hope that there will be an infinitesimal number of such people and we will have 150 people who will show the real force to the authorities,” Gritsenko said.

However many experts believe that such scenarios are hopeless. Political scientist Mikhail Pogrebinsky thinks that statements about the rejection of mandates are nothing but observance of the “rules of the game” with their respective electorate. “Nobody will take these statements seriously. I think that Arseny Yatsenyuk himself does not take them not seriously. It’s just the rules of the genre. They have to insist on radical measures, they have to declare their ambitions because people voted for them. After all, they can’t say to people: ‘You voted for us voted, but we can’t do anything’,” the expert said.

Besides, majoritarian candidates have to give up their mandates too for this plan to go ahead, and this, in Pogrebinsky’s opinion, is improbable.

He Pogrebinsky believes that the opposition’s statements about the rejection of the mandates and re-election of both the parliament and the president are a way to pressure the authorities. The opposition simply ties to tell the authorities that they should “give” them the five problem precincts where repeat voting is to be held.

Experts say that the elections showed that people are disappointed by the “Orange”. The alliance of nine parties that united around Yulia Timoshenko’s Batkivshchina didn’t justify itself. Two million fewer people voted for the Timoshenko block than in 2007, with UDAR and Svoboda getting 3 and 2 million votes.

The votes lost by Batkivshcvhina went to UDAR, Klitschko said. “People are disappointed in the opposition and the authorities and they are looking for a new force,” he noted.

He is echoed by one of the Svoboda leaders, Igor Miroshnichenko, who also thinks that “people are disappointed with the ‘Orange’”. “These people rallied in Independence Square in 2004 and they believed in the ideals of the ‘orange revolution’. But they were deceived,” Miroshnichenko said.

On Sunday, November 11, the Central Election Commission announced the official results of the parliamentary elections. A total of 445 MPs were elected from parties and in majoritarian constituencies, including 185 from the Party of Regions, 101 from Batkivshchina, 40 from UDAR, 37 from Svoboda, 32 from the Communist Party, 3 from United Centre, 2 from the People’s Party, 1 from Soyuz (Union), and one from Oleg Lyashko’s Radical Party, as well as 43 self-nominated candidates.

The Central Election Commission invalidated the results of voting in five single-seat constituencies and the Verkhovna Rada recommended holding repeat voting there.


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