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Focus on Ukraine, January 4-10, 2010

January 11, 2010

Overview of political events of the week

 
January 4
 

The Central Election Commission approved the decision that envisages the possibility of voting from home without providing any documented proof of a voter’s inability to move about independently. 8 members of the CEC voted in favor of this decision, 4 voted against and 2 abstained.

 

Nearly 50% of the circulating capital of private enterprises is “in the grey zone”. In the majority of small enterprises “grey” capital is as high as 90% in some places. Scholars of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine made these figures public. Among the most widespread forms of grey activity are illegal VAT refunds, optimization of taxes and paying wages “in envelopes” (i.e. under the table).

 
January 5
 

Yulia Tymoshenko will demand the annulment of the decision of the CEC according to which voters will be allowed to vote from home without documented proof of such a necessity. The premier said in this way the members of the CEC appointed on the quota of the Party of Regions create additional possibilities for rigging of votes.

Initiators of the National Exit Poll 2010 during the presidential elections in Ukraine informed that there are insufficient funds to finance the conducting of top quality polling of voters upon exiting voting booths.

The initiators appealed to presidential candidates, representatives of business and the average citizen to help finance the conducting of the exit poll. Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation Ilko Kucheriv said Anatoliy Hrytsenko already transferred UAH 50,000, three of the 18 presidential candidates declined to allocate funds and the remainder are still undecided. A total of UAH 57,000 has been transferred to the exit poll charity account.

 

The Kyiv local organization of the Party of Regions submitted a statement to the Kyiv City State Administration about holding mass demonstrations from January 17 to February 20 aimed at “safeguarding election results”.

 
January 6
 

The CEC submitted more than 414,000 ballots to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for voting stations of electoral districts abroad. A total of 113 foreign electoral districts will operate. The ballots must be delivered to them no later than 3 days prior to the elections, meaning by January 14.

 

The Party of Regions informed it had planned mass demonstrations in Kyiv from January 17 to February 20 well ahead of time and that this action is a part of the party’s overall program. Representatives of the PoR headquarters said different measures will be taken, including legal and organizational measures, to safeguard the results of the elections and prevent the rigging of votes.

 
January 7
 

Germany, France and Great Britain do not support any of the candidates in the presidential elections in Ukraine. France Presse reported that a corresponding statement was made at a meeting of state secretaries of the foreign ministries of the three countries in Paris.

In addition, Berlin, Paris and London expressed their desire that Ukraine be an economically strong and democratic state that supports “amicable relations with Russia”.

 

All candidates for the office of president representing democratic forces should support the candidacy of Yulia Tymoshenko in the second round of the elections. Vice Premier Oleksandr Turchynov said such an appeal is being prepared by the headquarters of the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT). Turchynov in particular stated that the BYuT is prepared to “come to an agreement with all those that will work for the country and will support and plan joint efforts.”

 

Yulia Tymoshenko assured Heidi Tagliavini, Head of the OSCE Mission for observing the presidential elections in Ukraine, that she will do everything necessary to ensure that the presidential elections are fair and transparent in accordance with European standards. At her meeting with the head of the OSCE mission the premier stated that she as the head of the government appealed to the OSCE and other international organizations to send observers to prevent a repeat of the falsification of votes (vote rigging) that was observed during the elections in 2004.

 
January 8

A controlling share package of one of Ukraine’s largest companies – the metallurgical corporation Donbas Industrial Union – has been sold to the Russians.
According to information of the Interfax-Ukraine agency, a few individuals together with the founder and former co-owner of the Russian company Yevraz-holding Oleksandr Katunin acquired a 50%+2 share in the Ukrainian corporation. The rest of the shares remain with the former DIU owners Serhiy Taruta and Oleh Mkrtchan. The company’s main shareholder, former deputy minister of fuel and energy and today an advisor to the premier Vitaliy Haiduk sold his shares in DIU.

January 9
 

CEC member Mykhailo Okhendovskiy informed that the Kyiv Appellate Administrative Court threw out the appeal of Yulia Tymoshenko and confirmed the legitimacy of the decision of the CEC regarding the procedure for voting at home and entering voters onto voting lists on the day of the election.

 

The OSCE Observer Mission publicized a routine report on the course of the presidential elections in Ukraine. Observers of the mission pointed to such violations as voters being paid off over the course of the election campaign, lack of balance in the information of presidential candidates on Ukraine’s main television channels, attempts of candidates to influence editorial policy on coverage of the elections, etc. The report also underscored that funds for preparations for the elections executed in 2009 were allocated two months late.         

   
  


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