Tuesday, February 28, 2006

BYuT 'on a roll'?

Today [Monday] Yulia Tymoshenko was campaigning in Yanukovych's heartland - in Donetsk. She attended a press conference followed by a live TV appearance on a local station, and then held a rally attended, according to her own website by up to 10,000 people. The visit seems to have been a success in what was, until recently been very hostile territory for any member of the Orange camp. As she criss-crosses the country there is no doubt that her rallies and public meetings are well attended - photographs on the 'Batkivschyna' website attest to this.

So far, the NSNU campaign strikes me as being half-hearted and inept. Their problem is that unlike BYuT, they don't have a prominent leader now that Yuschenko, probably wisely, has distanced himself from the VR elections. Yekhanurov is not particularly popular and gives the impression that despite being a competent TV performer, he prefers to remain a 'behind the scenes' operator.

Yanukovych, by repeating memorized platitudes at a few safe venues, has not made any serious blunders in his campaign, apart from mixing up names of the odd candidate. Even some of his own supporters see him as rather a buffoon, and know in their hearts that the real power in PR lies elsewhere, although, like Tymoshenko, he enjoys campaigning and 'pressing the flesh'.

One OP indicates that 33% of the electorate want to see Yanukovych as PM, 29% support Tymoshenko, with Yekhanurov is at just 6%. This surely is bad news for NSNU.

Interfax reports: Kyiv, February 27 (Interfax-Ukraine) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko said that on March 26, voters will elect a new parliamentary majority, rather than a premier. "On March 26, Ukrainians will not elect a premier or a chancellor, but a new parliamentary majority," the president said in his weekly radio address on Saturday. "I believe this will be a democratic majority which will honestly represent millions of people, and which will defend the interests of Ukrainians and Ukraine, but not those of other countries," he said.

How little Yushchenko knows about politics..People need to know who the leader is to be, the person they entrust to lead the team who run the government on their behalf.

The electorate then, have a choice between the two most prominent leaders - Tymoshenko or Yanukovych.

Yanukovych himself confirms this, constantly directing fire at the Orange forces but rarely mentioning Yekhanurov, maybe because he is a stop-gap PM only. I doubt whether Yanukovych's minders would risk putting him 'head to head' against the quick-witted Tymoshenko on any live TV debate.

Tymoshenko is by far the most popular political figure amongst the Kyiv region electorate, which has often been the trendsetter in Ukrainian national politics. NSNU's most prominent members spend too much time and effort talking of coalitions, and Yekhanurov does not seen to have any stomach for political campaigning. All this adds to speculation that PR and NSNU have already cooked up a coalition deal that will be activated after the election.

So my hunch is that as the elections draw nearer, only 27 days to go now, there will be some drift back to BYuT by NSNU supporters, and maybe even an increase in support for BYuT in eastern, mainly pro-PR regions.


Anonymous said...

Great Post

LEvko said...

Hi - Thanks for the kind comment to my piece on Yulia's VR election campaign, the most likely result of which will be an [unstable] coalition with Akhmetov and other oligarchs pulling the strings. NSNU and Yushchenko have made it too easy for PR

An illuminating article by Markian Bilynskyj [AUR 23rd Feb] http://action-ukraine-report.blogspot.com/2006_02_23_action-ukraine-report_archive.html exposes the VR for what it really is, and will be, after 26th Feb. I'm afraid there is no happy ending to this..At least Yulia is making some effort..