CVU: Too many corrupt deeds to lose power lightly
CVU: In an interview for Ukrainska Moloda, the head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU], Oleksandr Chernenko was asked whether the Presidential elections might be postponed; about the likely role played by Yulia Tymoshenko and other questions.
He was asked about the assertions made by the opposition that after the controversial Constitutional Court judgment regarding the Kyiv Mayor and Council elections (see Constitution to Order) , we can expect the Presidential elections to also be postponed.
“On the one hand it’s hard to compare the Presidential and the Kyiv elections over which there were certain different interpretations of the Constitution and discrepancies due to the changes which came into force in 2005. However as far as Kyiv is concerned it’s clear that even if the regular elections cannot be held due to failings in legislation, the term in office of the Kyiv authorities has expired, and therefore extraordinary elections need to be held. There are thousands of reasons for this and there are political motives behind the reluctance to hold them, using the relevant Constitutional Court judgment as excuse.
There are no different interpretations regarding the Presidential elections. At the present time there are no grounds for doubting that the Presidential elections will take place at the proper time. On the other hand, who just a year ago could have said that it would be so easy and simple to postpone the Kyiv elections? That seemed unreal, so even if today we see no grounds for putting off the Presidential elections and the Party of the Regions is stating that they are not planning to postpone them, that’s today. Here political expediency first appears, and then they pull out ideal or questionable legal grounds. And that could be for anything you like: dissolution of parliament; a referendum; change in the Constitution; even election of the President by parliament. Or even without postponing the elections they’ll change the law on the elections, holding only one round and that will also influence the result.
That’s why for the moment talk about postponement of the Presidential elections seems like fantasy, Ukrainian experience shows that in our politics such unreal things can eventuate.
Should we expect a repetition of Maidan 2004 [the Orange Revolution] in 2015? If so, is it possible that the authorities would introduce a state of emergency or use another scenario involving force?
In Ukraine you can expect anything. At present several things are beyond any doubt: the regime is presently doing such corrupt things that it will be very hard for them to lose power. They have a natural fear of that.
Mr Chernenko goes on to stress that there are a number of imponderables and points out that in 2004 nobody could predict that such crowds would come out onto the streets (in protest at the rigged elections). “Revolutions are not planned”.
It is clear he says that if the opposition loses the 2015 elections, whether honestly or through infringements, they will try to get people onto the streets in protest;. The authorities’ response will depend on how large-scale the protests are, how actively people support the opposition. Lutsenko is right, he says, that if 100 thousand come out on the streets, then it’s hard to disperse them whereas 10 thousand can easily be “cleared”.
“Therefore I would refrain from any prognoses at the present time. I think that those in power will resolve their issues – either with respect to self-preservation, or regarding their exodus, or in any more or less civilized way under such kind of guarantees. If that doesn’t work, then any scenarios are possible.
The mood of protest is very strong at present yet surveys show that the emotions are boiling up inside. People are disgruntled but not ready to go out on the street. Many feel inertia from the disillusionment of 2004. However, unlike those events when people came out in defence of civil rights and freedoms, from now on the protests will be of a more social or economic nature – what hits people hard, for their everyday life. And we know that social revolt is more radical, aggressive, without the singing and dancing we saw on Maidan 2004.
In the rest of the interview Mr Chernenko speaks of Yulia Tymoshenko’s likely influence if she is released, when she will not be allowed to take part in the elections, but will have influence, and if she is not in which case her impact will be reduced.
He says that if Tymoshenko is one way or another allowed to get treatment abroad, the issue of whether or not the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is signed will be resolved.
At present he believes that Yanukovych has not decided, that he is torn between the desire to “end up in Europe since most of the elite in power have business there” and fear that even abroad Tymoshenko will begin having a much greater impact on political processes in Ukraine.
The Central Election Commission
Mr Chernenko says that he cannot understand why everybody is so concerned over the appointment of Mykhailo Okhendovsky (who is seen as Yanukovych’s man). The real issue is that 11 out of the 15 members of the CEC voted for him.