On Oct. 8, president Victor Yushchenko announced the dissolution of the Ukrainian parliament. The snap election – the third parliamentary vote in Ukraine since the 2004 Orange Revolution – has been scheduled for Dec. 7.
Here is what some Ukrainian bloggers think of the political situation in their country.
LJ user logvynenko wrote this (UKR) about the general incompetence of the main political players represented in the Ukrainian parliament – Yulia Tymoshenko's Bloc (BYuT), Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense Bloc (NUNS) and the Party of Regions (PR):
[…] We've already seen the collaboration of all possible configurations of the political forces that are present in the parliament. BYuT+PR, NUNS+PR, BYuT+NUNS. None of these collaborations resulted in getting the following issues resolved:
- [Lawmakers’ immunity from prosecution] has not been lifted – a promise made by practically [every political force]
- Tax cuts haven't been introduced, even though they were promising to do it at least regarding the [value-added tax]
And so on. I can name dozens of these [unresolved] issues. But these [two] are the most popular.
So, I don't see a point in [re-electing] the lawmakers who worked in [the parliament of this convocation]. Because it'll change nothing. When it is necessary to decide on important issues, they are fighting for power and everything else – and this is all they are doing.
I am electing them so that they worked, and instead they are wasting their time on [popular political TV talk shows].
I AM NOT VOTING FOR ANY OF THE PARTIES THAT ARE NOW PRESENT IN THE PARLIAMENT
And don't try to scare me that this will help [Victor Yanukovych of the Party of Regions] – just don't.
Do you want a new life? Let's elect different people.
There were some among LJ user logvynenko‘s readers who were not aware of any new political forces that could be considered a good alternative to the already established ones:
Do you have info on whether someone new is going to appear (someone truly new)?
There were those who favored being as careful about the “new” forces as about the “old” ones:
I agree with the idea and the slogan, but most likely I won't vote for the parties that are not in the parliament now but have “familiar faces” [among their candidates].
Voting for new [party] names isn't the same as voting for new people. But the idea is good. […]
There were some who planned to simply skip the vote:
I haven't been voting at all since 2003. And I don't regret it – it's a waste of time, and I'm just too lazy to go there to check the ‘against all’ [square on the ballot].
And there were those who were going to vote against all candidates, an option available to Ukrainian voters:
I am for voting against all! The new ones do not have enough time [to gain impact], while the old ones should be in jail… Skipping the vote means showing [that you don't care], and then you don't have the right to be critical of those in power. But ‘against all’ – that's a stance!
There is even an LJ community for Ukrainian ‘against all’ voters – proty_vsih. LJ user chapeye asked this question (UKR) there on Oct. 9:
What's the difference?
Mathematically, politically, morally, etc.:
- to vote against all;
– to [skip the vote];
– to [leave with your ballot];
– to spoil the ballot with obscenities.
I'm serious. Is there a difference? […]
Here is one of the responses:
It's necessary to go for the sake of the turnout. Then it would be more difficult to falsify the vote, fewer chances for the radical marginals, more chances that the election would be valid.
‘Against all’ – a way to declare your position. Basically, this wouldn't harm anyone, but it's one of the ways to express your protest.
Spoiling the ballot – the protest wouldn't be heard, because in the overall statistics it would be registered as nothing but spoiled and there'd be no way to tell if it happened accidentally or not. With the ‘against all’ vote, it is definitely not accidental.
As for the third item, as far as I understand it, it's the same as not showing up for the vote. The only difference is that the commission members would have to fill out a missing ballot form, and it'd take them longer to do the count […].
In another post (UKR, RUS) in the proty_vsih LJ community, LJ user alex_rubanov wrote that he couldn't find the ‘against all’ voting results from the previous election and asked whether these votes were being counted at all. LJ user dr_dick replied:
They count them :)))) They do count them :))) But they publicize [these results] somewhat reluctantly. And they are really not into commenting them :))))
It's growing by approximately one percent with each new vote since 2004.
I guess it was 1.7 [percent] in 2006, and 2.63 [percent] in 2007. I may be wrong about the fractions, can't say exactly from the top of my head. Let's overcome the [3-percent] voting barrier, while [we still can, while the ‘against all’ option is still there].
I know the exact figure for the ‘against all’ vote in Kyiv in 2007 – 4.44 percent. Nationwide, it was less.
The CEC did publish the data the number of voters that voted “none of the above” in 2007 was 2.8%
More or equally alarming is that 8.7% of voters supported minor parties, who failed to reach the 3% representation threshold, as a result of the system they were disenfranchised and had no say in who should represent them.
Whilst voting for “none of the above” may appear to be a popular means of protest it has a serious impact on the distribution of the number of seats each party receives.
Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko and Our Ukraine – Peoples’ Self Defence alliance represented 45% of the overall vote in 2007 and managed to secure a majority of the seats in the parliament.
A better alternative would be for Ukraine to adopt a preferential “Single Transferable Voting” system where voters number in order of preference their choice of candidates/parties. If their first preference is unable to win representation then their votes are redistributed according to the voters second nominated preference thus ensuring they are represented by someone of their choice.