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Focus on Ukraine, February 1-7, 2010

February 8, 2010

Overview of political events of the week

 February 1

ThePartyofRegionsannouncedthatshouldViktorYanukovychwinthepresidentialelection the parliament will begin discussing the formation of a new format of a coalition majority. Viktor Yanukovych said the same in an interview on the 1+1 TV channel.  

Yanukovych also said the deputies that voted in favor of the dismissal of Yuriy Lutsenko as Minister of Internal Affairs took the right stance.

ViktorYanukovychfailed to show up for the television debates with Yulia Tymoshenko planned by the Central Election Commission on the first national TV channel UT-1.

Yulia Tymoshenko was given an additional 50 minutes of air time. Meanwhile, Yanukovychwas on the air on a different TV channel at the same time. Prior to the debates the headquarters of the Party of Regions stressed a number of times that Yanukovych would not participate in “a championship of lies orchestrated by Yulia Tymoshenko”.Аtthesametime, TymoshenkosaidliveontheairitisveryunfortunatethatheropponentdidnotshowupfortheTVdebateandcalledhim “anemptyspace” and “acoward”.

February 2

The members of parliament opened the 6th Convocation of the Verkhovna Rada and immediately appointed Oleksandr Osadchuk of the Lytvyn Bloc as a member of the Central Election Commission to replace the retired Anatoliy Pysarenko, who represented the interests of the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense (OUPSD) bloc.

The BYuT considers this an attempt of the Party of Regions to usurp power and make the CEC its hostage.ThePoRcollected 166 signatures for tomorrow’s emergency meeting of the parliament. The BYuT says the PoR intends to make amendments to the Law on the Presidential Elections.

HeadoftheStateSecurityServiceofUkraine (SBU) ValentynNalyvaichenkosaidfield operatives of the SBU will trace the course of the second round of the presidential elections.

Operative investigative groups of the SBU will monitor how voting ballots are handed out, how members of the CEC work and how they count the votes.

Nalyvaichenko said only the Prosecutor General’s Office will know at which polling stations SBU officers will be present and will immediately initiate criminal cases.

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Inna Kysil informed that Yuriy Lutsenko continues to head the country’s main police force.

As a reminder, the Kyiv District Administrative Court suspended the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers on appointing Lutsenko the first deputy chief and acting internal affairs minister.

At least 13 million Ukrainians watched the TV debates between Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovych at which the latter was a no-show. “ThefirstnationalTVchannelregisteredrecordviewingindicatorsofthepresidentialelectiondebates. Before the debates 25% of voters announced their intentions of making their final decision on which candidate they would vote for based on the live one-on-one debates between them. 

The presidential elections in Ukraine will have an impact on the situation in the entire post-Soviet region. This opinion was voiced by former U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine during a TV teleconference “American Expectations from the Ukrainian Elections”.

The American diplomats also expressed their hopes that the results of the elections will affirm Ukraine’s aspirations to European institutions.

February 3

The Verkhovna Radaadopted amendments to the Law on the Presidential Elections. Specifically, theVRexcluded from the law the norm according to which the assembly of the election commission has authority if no less than 2/3 of its members participate.

From now own the election commission will have the right to hold meetings and adopt decisions in the absence of a quorum. 233 deputies, among whom are the initiators of this decision, voted in favor of this proposal submitted by the Party of Regions four days prior to the second round of the presidential elections.

VR Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn signed the law and submitted it to the Presidential Secretariat for approval.

Deputies of the BYuT are categorically against the amendments to the Law on the Presidential Elections submitted by the Party of Regions, which it believes creates preconditions for widespread rigging of the election results.

Besides that, members of BYuT say putting these amendments to vote is illegal as the documents did not go through the review process in a specialized committee. The Party of Regions says now election commissions will not be hostage to a situation where the approval of a decision requires the presence of a majority of its members.

Spokesperson of Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili Manana Mandzhgaladze announced that observers from Georgia will not be present during the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine.

She informed that the president of Georgia wishes the Ukrainian people success during the election of their new leader and is not about to interfere in the election process. She added that Tbilisi will collaborate with whichever president the Ukrainian people vote for.

As a reminder, prior to the first round of the presidential elections in Ukraine the CEC refused to register 2,000 observers from Georgia. The Party of Regions said they are all employees of law enforcement bodies and plan to monitor the elections as journalists.

Member of theCabinetofMinistersofUkrainePetro Krupko informed that the Cabinet receivedcourtapprovalregarding the suspension of the effect of the resolution of the government appointing Yuriy Lutsenko First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Acting Minister of Internal Affairs. Krupko said the Cabinet is currently drafting an appeal of the court’s ruling.

February 4

Yulia Tymoshenko stated at a press conference that she is calling on President Viktor Yushchenko to not sign the Law on the Presidential Elections.

Appealing to the head of state she reminded him that in 2004 they together fought for vote rigging technologies to be stricken from the Law on the Presidential Elections.

The presidential press service informed that President ViktorYushchenkosignedthelawonamendmentstotheLawonthePresidentialElections.

Presidential Press Secretary Iryna Vannikova said today the presidential elections are under threat. This is why the president signed the amendments to the Law on Presidential Elections adopted by the parliament, understanding that he cannot guarantee the right of every citizen to express their position on the day of the elections in accordance with the Constitution.

Speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Renata Wolwend on Ukraine meeting its obligations to PACE told Deutsche Welle that the amendments to the Law on the Presidential Elections in Ukraine submitted prior to the elections cannot be applied in practice.

She stated the proper explanatory work for all rank-and-file employees of elections committees cannot be done a few days before the elections.

Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation Ilko Kucheriv informed that the National Exit Poll 2010 will survey 17,000 Ukrainians at 300 polling stations during the second round of the elections.

Besides the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, two sociological organizations belong to the National Exit Poll 2010 Consortium – the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) and the Razumkov Centre, which are conducting polling of voters upon their exit from polling stations. The sampling error does not exceed 2.5%.

February 5

The press service of Yulia Tymoshenko informed that members of the BYuT faction appealed to the Constitutional Court demanding it deem the law on amendments to the Law On the Presidential Elections unconstitutional.Themembersfeelthislawviolatesthe constitutional principles of equality of citizens in being elected.

The press service of the OSCE informed that the organization gave a critical assessment of the submission of amendments to the Law on the Presidential Elections four days prior to the elections.

As President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Joao Soares noted, if there are significant changes in the composite of all commissions in Ukraine in the last two days prior to the second round of the elections, this will send out “a very strong signal”.

PresidentViktorYushchenkoinstructedthecountry’sinternalmilitaryforcesduring a meeting on ensuring law and order during the second round of the presidential elections toensurethesecurity oftheCEC.

The president also instructed the SBU and the Special Communications Service to protect state information resources so that “parallel servers are not booted up”.

Yushchenko emphasized that holding the elections in compliance with the law will preclude social unrest.

February 7

Deputy Chairman of the Central Election Commission Andriy Mahera announced that the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine has taken place.

In the eastern part of the country the most active voting was in the Donetsk (77%) and Luhansk (74%) oblasts. In the western regions of the country the turnout was as follows – Ternopil –78%, Rivne, Lviv and Volyn – 75% and Ivano-Frankivsk – 74%.

According to the data of the National Exit Poll 2010 organized by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and the Razumkov Centre, Viktor Yanukovych garnered 48.5% of the votes, while his opponent Yulia Tymoshenko took 45.7%.

5.6% of the electorate voted against all candidates. The National Exit Poll Consortium polled 16,332 respondents at 300 voting stations. The sampling error should not exceed 2.5%.




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