US Groups To Censure Ukraine’s Yanukovich

KIEV, Ukraine -- Viktor Yanukovich, the Ukraine’s president, will be criticised by two pro-democracy institutes for backtracking on democratic gains made since the Orange Revolution in 2004.

Viktor Yanukovych

A joint statement will be made public in coming days by the institutes representing the top political parties from the US.

Written by the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, the statement – obtained by the Financial Times – focuses on recently adopted election legislation that unfairly undermines the chances of opposition parties in a forthcoming October 31 election to regional legislatures.

Marking the sharpest international criticism of Mr Yanukovich’s democratic credentials yet, the statement follows rising complaints by domestic opposition parties and media.

Both have accused Kiev’s Moscow-friendly leader and loyal coalition of waging a Kremlin-styled crackdown on democracy and press freedoms since taking over as president.

Referring to the election law that was adopted by pro-presidential allies in parliament on June 29 and signed by Mr Yanukovich on July 27, the statement attacks the law for “limiting electoral potential” of opposition parties by banning participation of election blocs and parties registered less than one year ago.

“Restrictions on new parties and independent candidates appear to be unreasonable in light of principles established by the Ukrainian constitution, as well as international obligations and commitments that Ukraine has undertaken,” the statement reads.

Pro-democracy activists have praised the progress Ukraine has made since the Orange Revolution. Back then, a rigged presidential vote favoring Mr Yanukovich was overturned leading to a five-year presidential term by his pro-western rival, Viktor Yushchenko.

Ukraine was seen as a rare beacon of democracy in Russia’s backyard and activists hoped the trend would continue despite Mr Yanukovich’s remarkable political comeback in winning the presidency this February.

But IRI and NDI point to the recent developments as big risks for democracy in Ukraine, saying: “These developments could be characterised as changing the legal framework to create restrictions on political competition and … unreasonable denial of citizens’ rights to legitimate choices.”

Mr Yanukovich’s majority coalition in parliament was also criticised for adopting the new rules too close to the election “in a non-transparent manner with virtually no public debate”.

Opposition parties claim that their leaders and associates have faced increasing political persecution. Three high-level officials that served last year in the government of Yulia Tymoshenko, now an opposition leader, have been jailed on corruption charges.

On Wednesday, Ms Tymoshenko’s party headquarters on the Crimean peninsula was raided by secret service agents.

Mr Yanukovich has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

But in an open letter this week, the International Press Institute urged Mr Yanukovich to put an end to a “disturbing deterioration in press freedom over the last six months”.

“There are fears that since then the clock has been rolled back on recent press freedom gains in Ukraine,” the Vienna-based institute added.

Source: The Financial Times


jacob p said…
finally, I was waiting for this like ever and now the west sees what he's doing to ukraine I am now happy I wonder how he's going to react because his goons can't do anything to america i'm going to wait to see!!!
Richard said…
Do I see signs of corruption and nepotism in Ukraine? All too well documented over the years seems like little has changed in Stalinist tactics and may be nothing will unless we have a second coming of an orange revolution or whatever colour which I doubt.
Let's face it the West had a marvellous opportunity to do something which they did nothing keeping the regime in check does not mean democracy for Ukraine.
jacob p said…
Richard in a way is right i the fact that the west is doing that doesn't mean democracy for ukraine america won't stop his campain for power unless it sends its army in here which won't happen even if he makes a full breed dictatorship out of ukraine so all hope is on the people, so they woun't stand and watch like people from other countries but they won't, for they think that ukraine is better like that, they think that its gonna be like when soviet union was in power, but the fact is, is that ukraine won't be like the soviet union at all for the soviet union had discipline but there is no discipline in a dictatorship, there is only power and fear it is time for people to get that!