22 October 2012, 20:01

Ukrainian parliamentary elections: Poll of the tired

Ukrainian parliamentary elections: Poll of the tired

Ukraine’s parliamentary election campaign has entered its final straight. Winners and losers will be known on Sunday. This election campaign has not become significant for either politicians or admass and moreover, it has become the most predictable and boring election in Ukraine. Such was the conclusion made by respondents of the Voice of Russia, experts and observers.

The basic reason for such an apathy, according to them, is the voters’ tiredness, as well as the country’s political drama has nothing to do with the day-to-day life in Ukraine. The problems of medical insurance, corruption and doing business and tax rises worry ordinary people. All these problems have not been solved in the years of frequent elections and an unending “Orange Revolution”.

This tiredness has seriously lowered the country’s protesting potential. Sentiment in the society is far from revolutionary, says Ukrainian political scientist Vladimir Fesenko.

“The opposition may accuse the government of falsification and even storm the Central Electoral Commission. However, no one should expect an “Orange Revolution”. At present, sentiment across the country is entirely different,” Vladimir Fesenko said.

Virtually, the current infantilism of voters is a serious and even dangerous symptom. Unlike four years ago, people have ceased to show a keen interest in elections owing to the fact that a change in the government will hardly have any favourable impact on living standards. According to director of the Global Strategy Institute Vadim Karasev, overall dissatisfaction over the situation in the country has ripened.

“Living standards are falling. Salaries and pensions are very low. Cost of living is very high. Housing stock that was built during Soviet times and has not been repaired is becoming dilapidated,” Vadim Karasev said.

According to political scientists, election campaign and the second wave of economic crisis have worsened the problems that troubled the society earlier. Expert at the Centre for Political Studies and Conflictology in Kiev Denis Kiryukhin believes that these problems are related to ineffective performance of the government’s functions and fight against corruption and bureaucratic hurdles to the development of medium-sized and small-sized business.

Vice-President of the Centre for Corporative Relations Studies Rostislav Ischenko points to another important aspect. “A conflict between the rich and the rest and an ethnic conflict between the west and the east tear the country apart. Political confrontation is being significantly shifted to ethnic plane from social one. Voters support their candidates in each of these regions on the basis of their relation to Ukrainization and friendship with Russia. The economic platform of both regions is almost the same”.

The fact that integration of Ukraine into NATO topic has gone out of the election campaign witnesses that voters are focusing on social issues. For some voters the issue of Russian language has lost its actuality. At present, it is raised by those who see the prospect for developing the Ukrainian language at the cost of suppressing the Russian.

The isolation of politicians from the problems of voters and their tiredness caused by the failure of politicians to stick to their promises have provided bitter fruits. At present, the retired are the only active class of voter in Ukraine.

Ukrainian parliamentary elections fact sheet

October 28, Ukrainian voters will head to the polls to elect a new parliament.

Half of the 450 seats in the parliament will be distributed through a proportional system among parties (225 seats), and the other half among individual candidates in single-seat constituencies.

This time, only political parties can run compared to previous years when political blocs were allowed in the race. The minimum threshold is 5%.

The elections will be closely followed by international observers, mainly the EU.

Ukraine’s relationships with the West soured and the EU almost froze ties with Ukraineafter the arrest of ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko who is now is jail for disputed gas deals with Russia and Yuriy Lutsenko - the ex-interior minister, who is also behind bars.

The EU considers the race to be a “test of maturity” for Ukraine saying that the election’s conduct and transparency will greatly affect Ukraine's future relations with the West.

According to Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, a total of 87 parties are running, 21 of them on party lists and others nominating candidates in single-seat constituencies.

There is no turnout threshold so the elections will be declared valid anyway. The ruling Party of Regions is now leading the polls. Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland and the Front for Change by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former parliament speaker, are running through a common front – United Opposition Fatherland.

The Front ranked second in the polls while Udar (Punch) led by boxing champion Vitali Klitschko was placed third. However, a month before the elections Udar moved to the second place with 17.9 of voters supporting it. Some 16.5 % go for the united opposition, 11% for the Communists and 4.7 for Svoboda (Freedom) far right party.

Natalia Korolevska and her Ukraine - Forward! used to score some 4-5% in September but slumped to 2% on the eve of the elections and will hardly make it to the parliament.

Though the opposition’s overall rating is higher than one of the Party of Regions, experts claim that the ruling party will have more seats due tosingle constituency candidates.

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