Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The amendments

A lot of people are putting a lot of stock into whether the election reform amendments get passed or not. It would be a good thing if they were. But this is not risk free. My problem with it is that you can have laws on the books but if no one is going to enforce them it’s as if they didn’t exist in the first place. So you could end up with a lot of effort and political capital expended, running the very real risk of splitting the opposition that comes from these negotiations, and a number of laws on the books no one in the east has any intention of enforcing anyway.

I could see that changing the Central Election Commission would have an effect so long as people willing to do their job and protect the vote were found. Maybe that’s possible to do and should be done.

But a law passed does not a clean election make. Yanukovych still has power in the east, though that power is not like it was, and he can still have his thugs crawl out from under the rocks where they live and work their magic on the backs and heads of Yuschenko supporters. A little bit of that broadcast to the people can still go a long way toward depressing the Yuschenko turnout. And I have no doubt that they will try to find other ways to violate the law because they haven’t had any problems doing it before.

Nothing changes the fact that the Yuschenko people must get out the vote. They would have to do this if the amendments didn’t pass and they would have to do this if they did. That central fact doesn’t change at all. Whether the amendments are passed or not people will still have to come out and vote. To get more of them than Yanukovych is still the point.

And relying on the law might make people too complacent. Or people might end up thinking that it will solve more than it in fact will. Either of these might spell defeat if they end up taking hold. The vote must be gotten out regardless of anything. It is on those efforts that the revolution may ultimately hang.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so absolutely right. People in E. Ukraine have voiced despair over a re-run in terms of - how will it help us? what good will it do?
The 'criminals' responsible for election rigging in two elections would have no qualms in rigging a third.