Friday, August 30, 2013

Kyiv elections should be made 'sine qua non' for signing of AA

Today president Yanukovych announced in a recorded interview to be broadcast tomorrow, that "Ukraine will fulfil all of the conditions required for the successful signing of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement."

Last December, the Council of the EU made it clear: "Ukraine’s performance will determine the pace of engagement [with the EU], and will be assessed on the basis of progress in three areas: the compliance of the 2012 parliamentary elections’ with international standards and follow-up actions, as well as Ukraine’s progress in addressing the issue of selective justice and preventing its recurrence, and in implementing the reforms defined in the jointly agreed Association Agenda. "
[Official document here]

In the nine months since this document was published, apart from the release of Yuriy Lutsenko, to date there has been no progress in 'the three areas' at all. On the contrary, opposition parliamentary deputies have been expelled from parliament on the most dubious of reasons. Opposition rallies and meetings have been disrupted. Parliamentary sittings have taken place with opposition deputies physically excluded. Journalists threatened and harried by thugs who co-operate with law officers. The list goes on and on...

Now everything has now been left until the last moment before November's Vilnius summit. EU leaders should therefore treat Yanukovych's words with scepticism.

The current situation in the Kyiv city hall should add to this scepticism, particularly as one of the conditions set before Ukraine concerned shortcomings in the 2012 parliamentary elections.

According to Article 141 of the Ukrainian constitution:  "Village, settlement, city, rayon, oblast radas shall comprise deputies elected by the residents of village, settlement, city, rayon, oblasts on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot. 

The term of powers of the village, settlement, city, rayon, oblasts radas, deputies of which are elected at regular elections, shall be five years. The termination of powers of the village, settlement, city, rayon, oblasts radas shall result in termination of the powers of the deputies of the respective rada."

The residents of Kyiv are being denied their constitutional right to elect their city council deputies at least once every five years. By remaining in office beyond a five year period the current city authorities have brazenly usurped power in the city - the city council rulings have no legitimacy.

The reason for this is that the results of last Autumn's parliamentary election strongly indicated  Yanukovych's friends in the Kyiv city council would be wiped out in any fresh local election. Control of the city will be essential if he were to try to 'fiddle' the results of the 2015 presidential elections.

Even though the EU seem to be going soft on other issues, they should not remain silent. Now is the time for max pressure to be applied on Yanukovych, not for backing off - he cannot be allowed to get away with this. It should be made clear: if a date is not set imminently for fresh mayoral and city council elections in the capital, then no AA.

As for Ukraine's opposition parties', they have not responded resolutely  on this issue. They seem happier just 'swanning about' in Brussels..

There are credible reports that Arseniy Yatseniuk's cousin Voldymyr is co-operating in tendering 'stitch-ups' via shady off-shore companies together with businesses close to 'The Family' in order to secure 1 Bn Hryvnya hospital-building contracts in Kyiv at the Amosov Cardiovascular Institute.

'Svoboda' are also allegedly involved in property machinations in Kyiv running into many millions of dollars...and are actively co-operating with the Communists....

Virtual politics or what?

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