In his op-ed piece in today's 'FT' [Ukraine's democracy must rest on the rule of law], Viktor Yanukovych declares: "Mr Yushchenko's allegations that democracy in Ukraine is in danger are simply not true. Democracy is thriving."
He "invites interested readers to request a reference about the state of democracy in Ukraine from any independent and authoritative source such as the Council of Europe, which monitors our democratic progress."
The following quotes from "The Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe Information note of the co-rapporteurs following their fact-finding visit to Ukraine (9-12 October 2006)", may be helpful.
The note, released several weeks ago, concludes:
paragraph #22 " The political reality in today's Ukraine shows that, apart from the conduct of free and transparent elections in March 2006, the promises of the Maidan to introduce clean, honest and competent governance and promote the rule of law and transparency at all levels have not been met. The new Cabinet is top-heavy with officials who personified the corrupt fusion of business interests with the government and the manipulation of elections before the Orange Revolution period. The non-transparent way in which the coalition negotiations were conducted over half a year, the mismatch of the political 'colours' of the so-called coalition partners and the murky deals that the short-lived 'grand coalition' stemmed from means that people do not finally know who they voted for..."
paragraph #23 "Ukraine's unpredictable political system without fixed rules, moral umpires or political traditions, where agreements between political forces are signed only to be broken on the following day, coupled with the lack of strategy and transparency, disinterest in reforms and the return of discredited personnel from the Kuchma era to the state apparatus cast doubt on the irreversibility of the spirit of the Universal, augment the gap between the state and society in Ukraine and seriously undermine Ukraine's international reputation as a reliable partner..."
paragraph #24 "A huge gap exists between the rhetoric and reality, promises and performance, intentions and action, which in turn have contributed to a loss in public confidence in state institutions, and to the rise of political apathy, corruption, and fears of eventual return of undemocratic practices."