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Focus on Ukraine, September 28 – October 4, 2009

October 5, 2009

Overview of political events of the week

September 28

Assistant Chair of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine Andriy Magera announced that the registration of candidates running for president will last from October 19 to November 13. He stated that the election process will begin on October 19, 2009 and voting will take place starting January 17, 2010. The CVU has confirmed 225 electoral districts in all oblasts of the country. At present there are 36 million voters in Ukraine.    

The Communist Party of Russia promised it will support the Communist Party of Ukraine during the presidential elections.

Leader of the Communist Party of Russia Gennadiy Zyuganov said he will send observers representing his party to Ukraine to enlighten their counterparts about the notion of honest elections. Zyuganov said Russian communists will actively ensure that no new Yushchenko’s will become the next president of Ukraine.

September 29

A new coalition has been formed around the speaker of the Crimean parliament Anatoliy Hrytsenko. The opposition tried to dismiss him two weeks ago.

September 30

President Viktor Yushchenko called upon Ukrainians to hold public debates on amendments to the Constitution. He said that if the people lose this debate they will lose “their prospects for a democratic future.”

As a reminder, the president of Ukraine submitted to the Verkhovna Rada his version of amendments to the Constitution, though the deputies have yet to review them. This is why Yushchenko signed a decree on holding a nationwide debate of the draft law that should end by December 1, 2009. The National Institute of Strategic Studies has been assigned to draft general proposals based on the results of these nationwide debates by December 15.

John Tefft was appointed the new U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine after having served as ambassador to Georgia. U.S. President Barack Obama announced his intention of appointing Tefft to his new position. The Oval Office hopes the new ambassador will arrive in Kyiv in a couple of weeks. The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has been without a leader for four months now.

Experts rated the performance of the Verkhovna Rada from January 1 to June 20, 2009 at 1.5. The Cabinet of Ministers and the premier of Ukraine received 2.5 points, the president – 2.25, the party system – 2.0, civil society – 3.25 and the media – 3.0. These are the results of the expert opinion poll Ukraine in Focus: Ukrainian Democratic Barometer developed by the Democratic Initiatives Foundations on a 5-point scale.

September 1

President Viktor Yushchenko announced at the 9th Lviv International Economic Forum that the hard currency market in Ukraine has stabilized.

The president called upon foreign investors to invest money into the Ukrainian economy. He believes that Ukraine has unique potential and good prospects of becoming part of Europe, two factors that should attract investments.

September 2

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko said at the 9th Lviv International Forum that the new Budget Code offers the regions an opportunity for constant development backed by the planned budgets. She said this will allow for reforming the economy and infrastructure in the regions.       

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko says she will establish a dictatorship of laws if she wins in the presidential elections. She said the opposition party must, first and foremost, be given real levers of influence on the ruling government. Tymoshenko feels the judicial system should be the first to undergo reform. 

The government may fall short by UAH 30 billion in the national budget. Documents of the Ministry of Finance and Naftogaz Ukrainy on the restructuring of the company’s debts support such a conclusion. Up until now government officials had refused to admit the problems with filling the national budget that expert economists had emphasized.

September 3

Leader of the Front of Changes Arseniy Yatsenyuk promises that after he wins the elections he will launch an investigation into currency speculation. He said businessmen representing different parties began speculating on the currency market and made fortunes on the misfortunes of the people. Yatsenyuk says many “interesting surnames” will be brought to the surface.

First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine Petro Symonenko was nominated by the party’s members at its recent congress as its candidate to run in the presidential elections next year. Earlier, the Spravedlyvist, Union of Leftist Forces and the Social-Democratic Party of Ukraine (u) were united in the Bloc of Leftist and Centrist Forces.         


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