Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Orange Revolution in the Ukraine

Sources: "Orange Revolution Back On Track After Ukraine Election"

Ukraine’ s Orange forces experienced a resurgence in Ukraine’s September 30 parliamentary elections. The Orange forces include the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) and Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense (NUNS). The two combined for 45% of the votes. President Viktor Yushchenko, member of NUNS, has called for a broad coalition of BYuT, NUNS, and the Party of Regions. Democratic and orange political forces have now won four elections since the 2000. BYut’s 31% share is up from a 8% result in 2002 with large gains in Russian-speaking eastern and southern Ukraine. Further, BYuT’s territorial-based form of nationalism attracted many Russian-speaking voters

Western governments have declared the 2006 and 2007 elections to have been “free and fair.” The Russian government has also recognized this year’s elections. This is in contrast to the election fraud in the 2002 and 2004 elections. The most recent election was not perfectly clean as the Party of Regions has resumed some of its 2004 tactics with inflated voter turnouts and stuffed ballots in its Donbas stronghold

The new Ukrainian parliament will consist of five political forces, but with two changes. First, the SPU has been replaced by former parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc. Second, the Party of Regions and Communist Party both will have about the same number of seats that it had in the outgoing parliament, while BYuT will have an additional 30 seats. The election has a number of implications for the prime minister given the new political landscape and the reformed constitution.

The holding of Ukraine’s second free elections and the fourth victory in five years of pro-Western democratic forces gives the Orange Revolution and Yushchenko a second chance. Whether the opportunity will be used this time still remains an open question.

Question for Discussion:
What are the potential implications of BYuT’s rise?

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