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Krzysztof Nieczypor

The Post-Election Ukraine

Regardless of the assessment of the election in Ukraine that was held on December 17, the newly chosen representatives of the Ukrainian people will start their work in the Verkhovna Rada. After some hesitation, the opposition decided to appear in the new parliament. It seems that the election frauds are a problem only for the international public opinion. The authorities in Kiev have already taken action to deal with this situation.

Plac Sofijski w Kijowie. Autor Krzysztof Nieczypor.

Sofia's Square in Kiev, by Krzysztof Nieczypor

The Central Election Commission delayed the announcement of the election results for almost two weeks and even then, on 11 November when the elections results finally became public, they were still incomplete. In five single-member districts –  due to the “impossibility of determining the voting results” – the Commission recognized the need for reelection. This decision is also supported by the outgoing Ukrainian Parliament, also recommending a reapeat of voting in the disputed constituencies. Unfortunately, the electoral law does not define how much time authorities have to organise a relection.

Elections: rigged one or the best in the history of Ukraine

The opposition forces – consisting of the party “Batkivshchyna” (Fatherland) a.k.a the United Opposition, the nationalists’ party “Svoboda” (Freedom) and UDAR headed by Vitali Klitschko – accused the government of rigging votes. Nevertheless, the idea of supporting protests by not accepting deputies’ mandates was denied at once. The representatives of the opposition officially claimed that in the new parliament they would struggle with those who perpetrated the election fraud. That intimidated the people protesting in front of the building of the Central Commission and the opposition leader herself – Yulia Tymoshenko. Former prime minister after the elections went on a hunger strike despite numerous appeals of her supporters to stop it.

The authorities recognized the elections as model: “It was the best-organized elections in the history of independent Ukraine. So what claims to the authorities are you talking about? There is none! I assert it officially and categorically” – said Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. President Yanukovych was also enthusiastic: “Our country has reaffirmed its commitment to the democratic standards of development!

Watch President Viktor Yanukovych’s post-election appeal:

International criticism

The mood of the authorities could be spoilt only by the reports of foreign observer missions, which did not leave any illusions about the compliance of the elections with European standards. “Elections in Ukraine did not meet democratic standards“, – said Walburga Habsburg Douglas, the co-ordinator of the short-term OSCE observer mission and Head of the OSCE PA delegation, adding that Ukraine took a step back in the democratization process. According to representatives of the OSCE, the competition among parties was not wholly free, due to “the abuse of administrative resources”. Furthermore, the election did not meet the criteria regarding transparency of party campaign financing and balanced media coverage (more details you can find here).

Friendship, holidays, birthdays

Regarding the not so favorable reviews on the Ukrainian existing standards, the Ukrainian authorities have decided to ask for help from their trusted advocate. “We see in Poland a devoted friend and an advocate of European integration of Ukraine“, – President Viktor Yanukovych wrote in the letter to President Bronislaw Komorowski on the occasion of Independence Day of Poland on November 11. “We appreciate the active development of the Ukrainian-Polish strategic partnership, which can serve as an example of successful cooperation between the two kindred European peoples“, – is said in the Ukrainian leader’s letter.

Then Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Andriy Klyuyev said that European integration remains a high priority agenda in the Ukrainian foreign policy. Of course, in this context Klyuyev was not grudge addressing with warm words to his western neighbor: “The Ukrainian-Polish relations are the most effective example of “corrections of mistakes” in international relations. Although the history of our two nations has been difficult and got even tragic moments, the current partnership between Kiev and Warsaw is an example of effective cooperation between European states. Our two countries are not only reach an understanding on key issues, but also provide stability in Central and Eastern Europe“.

Aleksander Kwaśniewski i WIktor Janukowycz. Źródło: prezydent.pl

Aleksander Kwasniewski and Viktor Yanukovych, the source: prezydent.pl

Besides Polish public celebrations, President Yanukovych remembers also about the private parties of influential politicians over the Vistula. For example, he called a former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski “the faithful friend of Ukraine“, contacting him several days ago, on the occasion of his 58th birthday. “For many years, you have been actively contributing into leading our country closer to the European Union“, – Yanukovych said to Kwasniewski. “I am confident that with your support, Ukraine will successfully integrate with the European Union, and take its rightful place in the family of European nations“, – the Ukrainian president made even more effusive compliments.

Polish problem

Kiev’s flirtation with Warsaw is easy to understand, since the Polish government is one of the few among the European states which still maintains relations with the President of Ukraine. This fact is strictly criticised in Western media, which do not understand why, in a situation of civil rights violations and progressive authoritarianism in Ukraine, Poland does not join the boycott of the Ukrainian authorities. And the question whether Poland’s support of Ukrainian integration with Europe does legitimize undemocratic actions of the Ukrainian authorities, is today perhaps the trickiest snag of the Polish diplomacy.

Watch sizing up the elections on Eastbook TV:

Translated by MA

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Krzysztof Nieczypor
Editor at Eastbook.eu

Absolwent stosunków międzynarodowych na Wydziale Politologii UMCS w Lublinie, Międzywydziałowych Studiów Wschodniosłowiańskich UW oraz podyplomowych Studiów Wschodnich w Studium Europy Wschodniej.

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