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Change to political map not expected from the local elections

16.08.2010    source:

The new electoral law will prevent significant changes in the spread of political forces at the local elections, experts believe. This will also not be helped by a low level of voter activity, as well as the interference of administrative resources in the electoral process.

Oleksandr Chernenko, Head of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] says that the make up of local councils as a result of the 31 October elections may be no more than 20% different. He believes that any real renewal of the councils is being obstructed by the electoral law which restricts participation in the elections of political forces which do not have local branches which have been there at least a year. Even VO “Svoboda” [the right-wing party which gained a large number of votes for the first time in a by-election in March 2009 – translator), which has previously had success in western regions, in Chernenko’s opinion, does not have sufficient regional branches to make a real showing.

Use of administrative resources

Political analyst from the PR firm Politech, Yaroslav Makitra, expects that an increase in the number of communists in eastern region local councils and pro-Russian parties in the Crimea and the South, will be blocked by the Party of the Regions administrative resources. He believes an intensification of this way of influencing the results of the elections will be attributable not only to the efforts of those in power, but as a result of an expected low turn out.

The Director of the International Institute for Democracy Serhiy Taran is convinced that administrative resources will not only be used during the elections. “To a large extent the Party of the Regions will concentrate on using administrative resources with respect to deputies of local councils after the elections”.

Non-transparent relations between the authorities and business

Taran does not anticipate changes to the political map as a result of the elections for another reason as well. He says that a fundamental problem is not the influence per se of business on the authorities which is seen throughout the world, but the fact that it is not transparent unlike countries of Europe where there is state funding of parties or the USA where the law on lobbying functions in a transparent manner.

Oleksandr Savytsky

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