Ukraine: Different Country, Different People

The re-run of the Ukrainian presidential election takes place in a changed atmosphere to the last two. Constitutional amendments and sudden media freedom should ensure a voting experience further from the Stalinist model of the first two rounds.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Iain Elliot

Director of consultancy East-West Insight

Ukrainian democrats claimed victory weeks before the rerun of the rigged presidential elections took place. And indeed the ‘Orange Revolution’ gave them good grounds for celebration. On December 8 parliament adopted legislation described by presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko as a historic compromise that would prepare the way for a democratic vote on December 26.

The package included new electoral laws which reduced the risk of abuse of absentee ballots, the replacement of some members of the disgraced Central Electoral Commission, and the dismissal of the Prosecutor General. Yet Yushchenko recognised constitutional reform would shift power from the president to the prime minister and parliament, packed with cronies of the outgoing President, Leonid Kuchma.

The president, however, will have the right to propose for parliamentary approval, the premier, defence minister and foreign minister.

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