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Ukraine’s future parliament to be revolutionary and populist

September 16, 2014, 15:04 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, September 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s yet-to-be-elected parliament will be revolutionary-minded and populist, judging from the outcome of the candidates’ nomination campaign among political parties, drawing to an end on Monday, Russian Civic Chamber member and Political Studies Institute director Sergey Markov, told ITAR-TASS.

Taking part in Ukraine’s October 26 parliamentary elections from political parties there will be mostly public activists, journalists and representatives of armed groups of volunteers involved in what Kiev authorities say is an anti-terrorist operation in the east of the country. In the majoritarian constituencies, nomination of candidates will last until September 25.

The pro-presidential party, Solidarity, has changed its name to register under a brand much clearer to the average voter - the Petro Poroshenko Bloc. It has incorporated the party UDAR (literally translating as Punch) under Kiev’s mayor, former boxer Vitali Klitschko, leading the party’s election ticket.

Batkivschchina, the party under former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, has put on top of its candidates list the name of woman pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, currently facing trial in Russia on charges of complicity in the death of Russian journalists in Ukraine.

Batkivschchina’s breakaway group, including Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchynov and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, has founded a new party calling itself Popular Front and proposed a list of candidates it presents as “revolutionaries” - those who at the beginning of this year spearheaded the street demonstrations in Kiev in support of euro-integration and toppled former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Candidates from the Radical Party of Oleg Lyashko, a legislator notorious for his ultra-nationalist escapades and rowdy manners such as manhandling journalists, are assorted and controversial - there are those who participated in the crackdown on defiant southeastern regions, volunteers from military hospitals, former political prisoners and high-profile athletes.

The former ruling party - the Party of Regions - has decided against participation in the election. This piece of news was a bolt from the blue for the electorate.

“The Party of Regions does not have the right to participate in the October 26 elections at a time when nearly seven million voters in the southeast of the country are unable to exercise their will,” a senior party functionary said.

The election campaign began with Yulia Timoshenko’s declaration that she was going into opposition to President Poroshenko over possible ways of settling the situation in the Donbass area. Under the presidential plan already submitted to parliament, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the country’s east may enjoy special status for a period of three years during which time the local authorities would enjoy wider powers including self-government and the right to conclude agreements with Russia’s neighbouring regions. Timoshenko is emphatically against: “We shall not cede Donbass!”

“At a time when the Party of Regions has refused to participate and the Communists are being persecuted, the revolutionaries, radicals and nationalists have the biggest chances of getting into Ukraine’s new Verkhovna Rada. Permission to participate in the election has been granted mostly to those parties which approved of the military operation in the southeast of the country,” says Russian observer Sergey Markov.

“Quite obviously, in Ukraine’s new legislature two coalitions will promptly take shape - a coalition of peace and a coalition of war. President Poroshenko, who has approved cessation of hostilities in the east of the country and offered special status to Donbass and the moderate legislators, will be confronting the war-mongers - Batkivschchina, the Popular Front and the Radical Party. Central to the future parliament’s agenda will be debates over the situation in the east of Ukraine because truce is not peace yet, but just another form of civil war.

“As Russia, Ukraine and the European Union have agreed to postpone enforcement of 27 items of the agreement on Ukraine’s association with the European Union until 2016, the newly-elected legislators will have to get down to earth and dedicate themselves to routine affairs - mostly to preventing Ukraine from sliding into the economic abyss,” Markov said.

“Now that 600 industries in the Donbass area have been badly damaged or razed to the ground, the legislators will face a daunting task of identifying sources to finance efforts to breathe new life into the economy and infrastructures of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and to purchase energy resources that would help the country make it through the winter - while trying to outdo each other in anti-Russian nationalist and populist rhetoric. In the meantime, no constructive agenda is anywhere near in sight,” he added.

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