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Ukraine’s future president unable to represent all of country’s citizens

May 20, 2014, 19:55 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© ITAR-TASS/Nikolay Lazarenko

MOSCOW, May 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Days before Ukraine’s presidential elections due May 25 sociologists are unanimous that big business tycoon Petro Poroshenko, 49, is head and shoulders above his rivals. At the same time the experts ITAR-TASS has polled are certain that he will be unable to become a full-fledged representative of all of Ukraine’s citizens.

According to the Ukrainian Security Service, Poroshenko was the one who had financed mass rioting and extremist actions by Right Sector militants in Kiev during the Opposition’s demonstrations in support of the demand for European integration. Speaking from the rostrum in Kiev’s Independence Square on January 26 Poroshenko urged the demonstrators to thank football fans for Ukraine’s unification against what he called the “Yanukovych regime.”

Joint research carried out by Ukraine’s four largest pollsters - KMIS, SOTSIS, Rating, and Razumkov Centre - in April showed that Poroshenko’s rating in the forthcoming presidential election is 33% Yulia Timoshenko, the leader of the Batkivshchina party notorious for her anti-Russian statements, would collect 9.5% of the votes.

Self-nominee Sergei Tigipko, a former deputy prime minister, would end up third with 5.1% In his election platform he demands “and end to the harmful activities of Ukraine’s interim government, instant dissolution of any illegal armed groups, early elections of all legislative bodies of power and a special clause declaring Russian as a second state language in the Ukrainian Constitution.”

In all, 18 candidates were going to participate in the presidential election. Some have already quit the race of their own accord. Among the dropouts is the leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine Petro Simonenko, whose office in Kiev had been set on fire by radicals, and self-nominee OleghTsaiov, beaten up in Kiev by the supporters of the new authorities.

“Unequal chances of Ukraine’s presidential candidates, military operations by Kiev’s junta against its own people, the election commissions’ subordination to an illegitimate government - all this puts a big question mark over the legitimacy of the elections of a head of state due on Sunday,” the director of the Institute of Political Studies, Civic Chamber member Sergei Markov, has told ITAR-TASS.

The analyst recalled that Ukraine’s scheduled presidential election was to be held in 2015. As a result of a political standoff the Opposition forced president Yanukovych to agree to an early election of the head of state by the end of this year, after a constitutional reform. However, on February 22 the opposition ousted Yanukovych from power and the national parliament voted for holding an early election on May 25.

The parliament-appointed authorities in Kiev acknowledge that a full-fledged presidential election in the country’s protests-swept south-eastern regions cannot take place. The round-table conferences by politicians representing Kiev and delegates from the bodies of power representing defiant regions that have been held over the past few days will hardly change the situation.

“Poroshenko’s election program is unlikely to satisfy the electorate of the southeast, because the presidential candidate is promising decentralization of power, and not Ukraine’s federalization. According to the leader candidate’s election program Ukrainian would remain the sole official language, while certain rights of other languages will be preserved, which would certainly trigger protests by Ukraine’s Russian-speaking residents, who account for 65% of the population,” Markov said.

“It is beyond all doubt that the government coup in Ukraine was US-orchestrated. Washington is now demanding Moscow should recognize the results of the May 25 presidential election in Ukraine as legitimate. Moreover, the White House has been actively pressing for holding a single-round election. This is being done to ensure Poroshenko would be able to emerge in the first round leaving no chances for Yulia Timoshenko to contest the results of the voting and mobilize her followers for a new revolution. The West is against Timoshenko,” the analyst says.

“The current authorities in Kiev have been doing their utmost to ensure a high voter turnout in Ukraine’s western and central areas. They have been doing everything possible and impossible in order to scare the people on the Odessa Region and other troubled areas into letting an election be held and declared valid,” the director of the CIS Studies Institute, Konstantin Zatulin, has told ITAR-TASS.

“But in the course of such outrageous campaigns, with presidential candidates being scared and beaten up and their homes and offices set on fire, the winner cannot be regarded as a full-fledged representative of the whole of Ukraine, and Russia is not obliged to recognize him or her. Otherwise Russia will recognize the right of a doubtful winner to command the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and also the Crimea,” Zatulin said.

“The presidential election will not put an end to the crisis in Ukraine. It can be terminated only by holding a genuine (not farce-like) dialogue with all of the country’s regions. There is no reason why Russia should change its stance, its convictions and principles regarding the need for a constitutional reform in Ukraine,” Zatulin said.

“Russia is not interfering in elections in Ukraine, but we have the right to say what we really think about an election campaign being held at gunpoint. The West is critical of Moscow for letting Crimea join the Russian Federation. But in the course of the March 16 referendum on the status of the peninsula and the presence of the military in Crimea no one was hurt. In contrast to this the election campaign in Ukraine has already left hundreds killed,” the deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee, Andrei Klimov, has told ITAR-TASS.

“The West has put its stake on Poroshenko. Yula Timoshenko is spent material. She has been ditched. The other presidential candidates’ ratings are meagre, close to the statistical error margin. But if Poroshenko wins against a backdrop of a 50-percent turnout, his current rating indicates that he will hardly represent one fifth of the country’s residents,” Klimov said.

He believes that the Western demands Moscow should recognize the May 25 election as legitimate is laughable.

“How can one recognize something that has not happened yet? Or threaten Russia with sanctions, although the probe into whether the elections were rigged or not is still head,” Klimov said.

“On the other hand, there is the political reality, and Russia will have to work with the actual leaders of Ukraine. Even the question of journalists seized by secret services cannot be resolved without contacts with the Kiev authorities. Also, there is the gas contract and many other things. That does not mean, though, that Moscow will quietly recognize the results of the forthcoming elections. Moscow will maintain a relationship with Kiev, but the level and quality of these relations will depend not on declarations by a future president, but on the specific steps to conduct a constitutional reform,” Klimov said.

“Russia will agree to do business only with the Ukrainian leader that has denounced the use of force against the country’s people, who will be defending the rights of all of Ukraine’s peoples, and who is ready to contribute to the creation of a united federative state,” a member of the presidential council for human rights, Maksim Shevchenko, told ITAR-TASS.

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