Disunited we stand - currently at least!


In the first real test of cohesiveness after the voting on 28th October, the opposition parties are doing their very best within a week of proving my previous statements about their (in)ability to work together correct - in the fastest time possible.

Sometimes I write something in the hope of being proved absolutely and decisively wrong, despite all evidence both historical and current being to the contrary.

When writing from February as sparingly as possible, but as repeatedly as to make the point that the opposition parties simply would not and could not remain united should they win or lose the elections, I had hoped that would not be the case - and yet in their first real test of unity over whether to recognise the elections - or not - there seems to be disunity already!

Over the past week, Anatoliy Grytsenko, leader of one of the parties that makes up the United Opposition has twice called for the opposition en masse to surrender their mandates thus denying the legally required 300 RADA MPs required for a parliament to work.

I have always liked Grytsenko as he has always been a reasonable debater, held strong policy positions and come across and a principled man far more often than not.  However to hold new elections is simply not that easy.

Yuri Kluchkovsky, an opposition MP who should know a thing or two about the election process, considering he heads the Committee for State Building and Local Government stated in relation to new elections and the proportional representation (party) list “Achieving this would be quite difficult.  Everybody on the party list, right down to the last person on this list, must personally refuse to take up his or her seat.  But this will not solve the question because this represents only half the parliament.”

There is then the other half of parliamentary seats won by way of some much disputed constituency seats to consider.  Who may - or may not - decide to personally relinquish their seats?

If all that were to happen then new elections must, by law, occur within 60 days and until those new elections have taken place and the results recognised, the current results from 28th October cannot legally be deemed invalid.  In the meantime the current parliament would continue to sit unchanged as prior to the voting of 28th October.

The as ever non-committal Viacheslav Kyrylenko, who has to be one of the meekest and weakest political party leaders in the history of Ukrainian politics - ever - has said nothing of substance unsurprisingly.

UDAR stated it wanted to hold half the election again.  The proportional representation half, which by and large was far, far cleaner than the very much disputed constituency seat results.

Batkivshchyna has no issues over the proportional representation vote but has serious issues in some 13 constituencies which are still being contested and 5 of which (at least) may ultimately require new elections for those particular seats.

New elections for those seats I would guess will have to be in about a month given the preparatory administration involved such as new voting forms, if new elections are to happen at all.

However, considering Grytsenko’s repeated call, Arseniy Yatseniuk on 5th November stated the United Opposition won’t support the cancellations of elections in constituencies seats where they won.  That same day, UDAR stated it was prepared to give up its mandates if that was necessary to insure the removal of voter fraud - somewhat contrary to what Yatseniuk had just said, but in line with Grytsenko’s original demands.

Ms Tymoshenko, naturally, falls into the Grytsenko camp and thus quite obviously will be ignored by Yatseniuk as whilst what is on paper may say United Opposition, Tymoshenko and Yatseniuk are far from united.

Fortunately for the opposition, they did a deal with Svoboda pre-elections, and as most nationalist parties have, they possess a solid visible protester/rallying base who come out in any weather for any cause Svoboda summon them out for - otherwise the protests called on 5th November by the opposition parties may well have fielded far less than the estimated 1000 people who turned up - which would have been somewhat embarrassing - if indeed 1000 isn’t an embarrassing enough number to begin with.

Quite why there has been such a lack of discipline within the opposition leadership when it comes to public statements over the opposition position on such a fundamental issue will be down to the fact there is really very little unity between them - and far too many egos, all with an eye on the presidential elections in 2015.

Regardless of whether they eventually reach a consensus or not over this issue, and under the law Ukraine has until 12th November to formally announce preliminary results and until 17th November to announce binding results - thus they have a few days yet to reach a consensus - it seems the writing of their continued disunity is on the wall (and sadly as predicted in this blog).  I feel I will lament being right, but hope that this is simply “teething problems” rather than a DNA ingrained Pushme-Pullyou issue.

Not a convincing start nevertheless!