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Vote Watching: Ukraine and Poland

  • August 15th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

tymoshenko-yulia.jpgThe unsteady building of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe takes
another step with elections being held to try to settle crises in relations between parties – in the Ukraine and now Poland.

TENSE TIME IN UKRAINE

The Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko (picture)has said she will go to court to get members of her party on the ballot for elections next month, following their rejection by electoral officials.

The premise for the refusals is said to be that the candidates’ nomination forms were not filled out properly.

Tymoshenko is well-recognised everywhere as the brainded blond figure prominent in her country’s “Orange Revolution”; the image of folk goddess cum village folk-dancer matched the mood of the moment as popular protests in the Ukraine over-turned a regime still very close to Russia.

Prime Minister for a time, she then broke with the reform President Viktor Yushchenko, a democrat seen as strongly aligned towards Western Europe.

Following that split, a Russian-orientated party under the current Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych, won control of the parliament at elections, and has been involved in a drawn-out contest of wills with the President.

Observers in Ukraine think that the Tymoshenko bloc, if it is on the ballot, may be able to make a reconciliation with Yuschenko to give him a friendly coalition government.

POLISH TWINS DECIDE

The Polish President Lech Kaczynski has confirmed the ejection from cabinet of two small allied parties, leaving his identical twin brother, the Prime Minister Jaroslav Kaczynski, with a minority government.

Both have said early elections are likely now in the Autumn – October or November.

Jaroslav Kaczynski’s Ministry was formed after his conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) emerged as the largest in Parliament at elections in 2005.

He has pursued a nationalistic program concentrated on themes like securing Poland’s independent energy supply, putting him at odds with the European Union over aspects of environment policy, on coal; likewise Poland has been off-side with its European partners on social policy, as in the case of restrictions affecting homosexuals.

Causes of break-down within the coalition include trouble over mismanagement of a corruption inquiry into the state security service, and claims about style, that the Prime Minister is running a “personal government”.

Opinion polls indicate the PiS may be at some risk in new elections; last time it came to power in a swing to the right wing, with a low voter turn-out of 40%, lifting its vote from minority status to 27% of votes cast.

Reference:

Gazetta Wyborcza in English. http://www.gazettawyborcza.pl (15.8.07)

BBC (Home); “Anger at Ukraine poll ‘exclusions'”; “Polish dismissals ahead of poll.” www.BBC.com (12.5.07)

“Politics of Poland”, Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/politics_of_poland (15.8.07)

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