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Focus on Ukraine, December 28, 2009-January 3, 2010

January 4, 2010

Overview of political events of the week

 
December 28
 

Nearly 1 million people will be engaged to work on district election commissions during the elections. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will train members of district election commissions. The OSCE will spend EUR 1.5 mn on training sessions.

 
December 29
 

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko stated that as of January 2, 2010 the prices of gas for households and industry will be preserved at their 2009 level.

The premier said in 2009 Naftogaz Ukrainy pumped 26.5 bn cubic meters of gas from its reservoir, while according to expert forecasts the consumption of gas in Ukraine in 2010 will be around 55 bn cu. m.

 

Based on 2009 results, the national debt of Ukraine was 42% of GDP. Premier Tymoshenko said in 2010 the debt could grow to 48.5% of GDP or UAH 485 bn if it is based on a forecast of nominal GDP in 2009 of nearly UAH 1 trillion factored into the national budget.

According to data of the State Treasury, UAH 37.5 bn were spent on servicing the national budget in 2009. Of them, UAH 28.7 bn went to clearing the main debt and UAH 8.7 bn on interest payments. At that, the government borrowed UAH 83.5 bn over the year.

 

President Viktor Yushchenko vetoed the law on extending the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land until 2012. The head of state feels this law violates the constitutional rights of Ukrainian citizens to dispose of their personal property.

As a reminder, in accordance with the Land Code of Ukraine, the ban on the sale of such land remains in effect until the law on the land cadastre and the land market is passed.

The government forecasts that this law may be adopted in 2010.

 

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko forecast that according to final results of 2009 inflation will be no higher than 12.3%.

According to the results over 11 months of 2009, the consumer price index (CPI) grew by 11.3%. As a reminder, inflation factored into the budget of 2009 was 9.5%. The inflation indicator factored into the government’s 2010 draft budget is 9.7%.

 

First Assistant Chief-of-Staff Oleksandr Shlapak is convinced that consumer prices in Ukraine grew by 13-14% in 2009. The Presidential Secretariat assures that the situation will not change in 2010 and this indicator will be around 15%.

 

If the presidential elections Ukraine were held in the last week of December 33.6% of respondents surveyed that plan to vote said they would support Viktor Yanukovych, while 19.2% would support Yulia Tymoshenko.

By the number of votes they are followed by Serhiy Tihipko (9.23%), Arseniy Yatsenyuk (6.1%), Viktor Yushchenko (3.7%), Petro Symonenko (3.4%), Volodymyr Lytvyn (2.6%), Oleh Tyahnybok (1.6%), Inna Bohoslovska and Anatoliy Hrytsenko (1.3%). The rest of the candidates will garner no more than 1%.

Such data based on surveys conducted from December 12-26, 2009 was published by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF) and the Ukrainian Sociology Service (USS).

 

Director of the Ukrainian Sociology Service Oleksandr Vyshnyak is convinced that Viktor Yanukovych will by 10-12% of the votes in the second round of the presidential elections.

At the same time, DIF Scientific Director Iryna Bekeshkina feels there is an approximately 20% probability that Yulia Tymoshenko will win in the elections because in the western and central regions of Ukraine where the current premier enjoys the most electoral support the largest number of people that have not decided whom to vote for or do not plan to vote at all (up to 20%) has been registered.

 
December 30
 

Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Petro Poroshenko stated that the visa regime between Ukraine and the European Union may be cancelled in 2012.

The minister said in 2010 the majority of Ukrainians can be issued a free visa to a number of European countries. In particular, organized tourism groups will be granted such a right.

 

Foreign Minister Petro Poroshenko said there are hopes that demarcation of the Ukrainian-Russian border may begin in 2010. He said demarcation will apply to national land borders and the water territories of the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.

In addition to that, the minister reminded that the issue of demarcation of the border with Belarus will soon be resolved. The parliament of Belarus should ratify a corresponding agreement with Ukraine.

 

Naftogaz Ukrainy informed that in Q1 2010 Ukraine will purchase gas at a price of US $305.20 per 1,000 cu. m. The discount that Ukraine enjoyed in 2009 will be cancelled.

As a reminder, in Q4 2009 Ukraine paid US $209/cu. m.  

 
December 31
 

Member of the Central Election Commission Mykhailo Okhendovskiy informed that the commission has already received 73% of the funds needed for holding the elections.

This money has already been used to pay for the printing of ballots, other documents, ballot boxes, etc. The CEC is short of funds to pay members of separate district electoral commissions.

 

The public campaign “Support the National Exit Poll 2010” organized by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation continues.

Over a period of five days UAH 57,000 were collected for conducting the exit poll. A total of US $220,000 is needed to cover the costs of conducting polling over two rounds of the presidential elections.

As a reminder, nine candidates for the presidential office agreed to support the national exit poll. Anatoliy Hrytsenko was the first of them to transfer funds in the amount of UAH 50,000.

 
January 1, 2010
 

President Viktor Yushchenko gave a summary of 2009 and his tenure in office in his televised New Year’s greetings to the Ukrainian people.

He listed the achievements of last year. Among them were freedom of speech, freedom of choice and freedom to engage in business.

The president underscored that he is also proud of many economic indicators, the fact that the government turned its attention to the social security of the people and the support of mothers, children, orphans and the disabled.

Among other achievements the president noted were earning the right to host Euro 2012 in four Ukrainian cities, harmonization with the European Union, signing of the Agreement on Association with the EU and the rising birth rate in Ukraine.    

In closing, the president underscored that Ukraine will not return to the past on its path of democratic development.

 

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko greeted her compatriots on the occasion of the New Year from the central stage on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv.

The premier voiced her conviction that despite the global financial crisis, Ukraine had “great achievements” in 2009. She called on people to make the right choice at the presidential elections and expressed her confidence that the good sign “whom you meet on the New Year on Maidan you will stay together with for five years” is justified.

 

Legislative acts of Ukraine that simplify the procedure for acquiring rights to land will take legal effect starting January 1, 2010.

By virtue of these acts the following principles are established: a “single window” for physical persons and legal entities, a 3-week term of review of documents submitted and equal rules in the waiver of rights to the ownership of land.

 

The Agreement on Readmission that Ukraine signed with the European Union two years ago will take effect on January 1, 2010.

According to the agreement, Ukraine obligated to accept all illegal migrants that crossed the Ukrainian border en route to the European Union. This applies not only to Ukrainians, but also citizens of third countries that exploited Ukraine as a transit zone.

In exchange for signing the agreement the EU promised to introduce a simplified visa regime for Ukrainian citizens.

 

The Nationwide Program on Decommissioning of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station takes effect from January 1, 2010.

The program calls for transition of the Shelter to operating on an environmentally safe system. Specifically, by the year 2013 nuclear fuel must be removed from the object and transported to a storage facility. Approximate plans call for closure and conservation of reactor units by 2022. In the last stage the nuclear installations must be dismantled by 2065.

 
January 2
 

As of January 2, meaning 15 days prior to Election Day, mass media of all forms of ownership operating in Ukraine must cease the dissemination of information about the results of public opinion polls regarding the candidates for president.

This is alluded to on the official site of Yulia Tymoshenko. Pre-election canvassing “for” or “against” a candidate ends on January 15 at 24:00 hours.



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