Week’s milestones. Significant anniversaries, revival of Central Election Commission, and updates from political parties
Ukraine marked the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of independence and the 99th anniversary of the Unification Act. Popular ratings don’t let any contestants in the upcoming presidential race relax. The president suggested that the composition of the Central Election Commission be renewed, forcing Yulia Tymoshenko to cut her winter vacation. The Yanukovych treason trial continues. Reshuffles stroke several parties at a time.
Not only regular Ukrainian citizens, but also the country’s politicians should find it useful to recall that 100 years ago the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR) proclaimed independence (albeit under the pressure of certain circumstances), while the next year its leadership along with that of the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR) gathered at the Sophia Square in Kyiv to create a unified state. And although this struggle ended in defeat, its lessons are needed today, when Ukraine is facing major challenges. It is actually possible to learn how to formulate national interests without flying to Davos and to promote our state not only in the framework of the "Ukraine House" set up in the Alpine resort but also by passing long-sought decisions by representatives of the legislative and executive bodies.
Petro Poroshenko during the World Economic Forum in Davos stressed that he has political will to create the High Anti-Corruption Court, which is needed not so much by our Western partners, but above all, by Ukraine itself. The president is optimistic about the new IMF tranche, and confident that the upcoming elections will not hinder reform. Besides, he promised to hold in the coming days an auction for a 4G mobile communication license.
Frankly, it is worth acknowledging that on the eve of the dual election campaign, its potential participants have no clear confidence in their own success. The most serious crisis in the country’s recent history drags on, and this is why many of our fellow citizens are ready to vote "for another" candidate, while many remain undecided or seek to leave the country to wait out hard times. Ukraine has found itself amidst the pan-European trend of high demand for populist appeals and is now facing irresponsible attitude and reluctance of political elite to take necessary but unpopular steps.
The president suggested that the Verkhovna Rada finally change the composition of the Central Election Commission, which has long been overdue (since June 2014). Apparently, parliamentary factions and groups found some consensus on the issue with the head of state, while among the 14 candidates there are no current CEC members, no nominees from the Opposition Bloc and the Batkivshchyna Party, which forced Yulia Tymoshenko to break down her silence which lasted since late December. She categorically demanded that her party’s nomination be taken into account, and in early February we will already have a chance to find out whether the president and MPs have heard her desperate appeal.
The Obolonsky District Court of Kyiv continues hearings of the Viktor Yanukovych treason case. Of particular interest are testimonies of the former president’s secret service who decided to stay in Ukraine and provide to the court details of how their boss was fleeing from country and what was the role of Russian special services in the process. While speaking in a courtroom, Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy publicly came to a conclusion that the Kremlin had been plotting to take control over Ukraine for several years, which is generally a truthful claim.
The capital's court of appeals imposed a night house arrest for Mikheil Saakashvili, which enraged the latter, who promised to respond by resuming mass protests of his supporters. Roman Bezsmertnyi quit the leadership of the Agrarian Party, explaining his decision with "unwillingness to bring ammo to those who don’t know how to shoot." The Socialist Party expelled from its ranks Ilya Kiva, whose adherence to leftist ideas was becoming too extravagant. However, given the party affiliation of the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, it's too early to bury his career.