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Local elections: sooner than expected

24 June, 00:00

As recently enacted by the Constitutional Court, conducting local elections on March 27, 2011, is unconstitutional.

Hence there are no doubts that local elections will take place in fall this year. On October 31, to be precise. The Party of Regions already selected this date. On Monday in Sumy, Viktor Yanukovych stated that the elections should be held using a mixed system. That is fiftyfifty – based on proportional and majoritarian systems. Now parliamentarians quickly have to amend the legislation. They have time till the end of this session.

One more novelty the Party of Regions wants to introduce is refusal from blocs. The member of the Party of Regions Mykhailo Chechetov stated that deputies to local councils would be elected according to the mixed system, and only parties would be able to nominate them. Thus, if a party participates in the elections, it becomes responsible for itself.

“Look at ‘Our Ukraine – People’s SelfDefense’ party,” argues the deputy, “it was a blanket sewn of nine pieces, and as soon as they reach parliament, the thread rots and the pieces fall apart in different directions: one under the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, another one somewhere else. And who will be responsible? Nobody, everyone’s blameless. Lutsenko is on one side, Kyrylenko – another, Matviienko – a third one.”

Cancellation of electoral blocs is, of course, a strong blow for the opposition. If this regulation is adopted, most likely the opposition will have to gather under the flag of Batkivshchyna. For allies of Tymoshenko (the Party for Reforms and Order, the People’s Movement of Ukraine, the European Party of Katerynchuk and others) this will mean the end of existence.

“They will have to either ask to include them in the list of Batkivshchyna or compete with each other and the Party of Regions,” supposes political expert Volodymyr Fesenko. “Locally, leaders of regional, city and district organizations of Batkivshchyna will not be happy about the prospect of including allies from other parties in their lists. Therefore the procedure of uniting under the flag of Batkivshchyna and coordinating interests regarding the lists composition and candidates’ nomination in majority constituencies will only be possible under the personal control of Tymoshenko.”

On the other hand, local elections can be a boon for extreme parties. In western and even central Ukraine one can foresee the appearance of Svoboda. There are regions where Serhii Tihipko can establish his base, for example, the Dnipropetrovsk region. These elections will also be a rather serious trial for Arsenii Yatseniuk. So far he doesn’t have any power bases and these elections may give a chance to establish them. Whether it is for good or for ill, no political force can rely on a big areal. Everyone will have their own fortress.

Will the Party of Regions use administrative resources? It seems inevitable. But again, the administrative resources can’t guarantee “correct” results for Yanukovych in all regions. And the southeast will vote strongly in favor of the current government anyway.

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