Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Big beasts await Yanuk in the shadows
In my Monday blog I posted a photo from Party of Regions' swanky central Kyiv hotel press centre and said the party were in a state of shock immediately after polling stations closed and exit poll results declared.
The performances of their representatives on that evening's television programmes were far from those of a party who, as most western media reported: "were closing in on victory". In fact it was never in doubt that the ruling authorities would retain control in the new parliament because of the recent amendments to voting rules. Had the voting system remained "100% by party lists", PoR's deputies would be in opposition right now.
In Ukraine the power of the president is now almost absolute. He has a firm grip on the power structures such as the police and prosecutors' office, security services, constitutional court, the judiciary, customs and border control agencies, tax administration, state bank etc. etc. Only a parliament with 2/3 opposition constitutional majority can hurt him, and this is unlikely to ever be assembled.
Despite all of the money spent by PoR on advertising and bribes, despite control of vast portion of the media which churned out heavily biassed or 'purchased' reports, despite heavy pressure on minority independent media sources, despite locking away leaders of the opposition, despite fixing the composition of local election committees, despite suspect counting in dozens of simple-majority constituencies, despite widespread 'buying' of votes, despite pressure on workers in the public sector, despite a lacklustre and fractured opposition performance, despite generously funded and promoted 'planted' and now disgraced parties like those of Nataliya Korolevska, despite late generous social spending programmes, despite the afterglow and feel-good factor following the Euro 2012 soccer competition, despite all of this, Party of Regions have barely scraped together 30% of votes cast.
What awaits in the months to come is almost certainly a worsening economic situation.
Industrial production has declined around 7% this year. Gas and utility prices will increase soon, as will the price of foodstuffs resulting from poor global harvests. Unemployment on the up...pressure from Russia..pressure from the EU...
The so-called independents entering parliament by winning electoral constituencies will have much to ponder when they take up their seats and as the next presidential elections draws closer....they will still be parliament after the next presidential elections have taken place..
Yanukovych's big hope was the creation of a constitutional majority in the new parliament under his control - this has not happened. In months to come Yanukovych will be facing a stark choice: become a Lukashenko clone, or face the electorate, and likely demise in the next presidential election... The handful of immensely powerful oligarchs in Ukraine will already be looking at the results of Sunday's voting...and weighing up their options for the future...