Timoshenko Bloc denied registration for poll

An application to register Yulia Timoshenko's Bloc for the next month's elections in Ukraine has been rejected. Now, apparent administrative oversight is threatening to become a major political scandal.

What could simply be an administrative oversight is threatening to become the latest major political scandal in Ukraine. An application to register Yulia Timoshenko's political bloc for next month's elections has been rejected. The official form failed to give the exact addresses of the prospective parliamentary candidates.

Without an address, it seems, you can’t run for Parliament in Ukraine. The Central Election Commission, or CEC, refused to register Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc for precisely this reason. Four hundred and fifty would-be deputies failed to say exactly where they lived in application forms. Their fiery leader accused the government of urging the CEC to disqualify her party from the election.

It's surprising considering how much time has passed since yesterday, but no top official or political party has reacted to this flagrant breach of democratic norms. Nobody has taken any measures to avoid Ukraine facing such a shameful situation.

Yulia Timoshenko
Around 300 people picketed the commission in support of Yulia Timoshenko. Yet it barely looked like a protest: most of these supporters can hardly explain what’s gone wrong in the CEC. Yet it’s been a chance for them to show off the new party slogans. Young girls have been wearing white tops that say ‘Real beauties are for Yulia’. Men have been dressed in black T-shirts saying ‘Big boys are behind Yulia, too’.

Reading the slogans, their rival deputy called the demo a PR campaign. According to him, the Commission hasn’t expelled Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc, only put their registration on hold.

“The members of Yulia Timoshenko's bloc have made the mistake in their application forms on purpose. They are putting on this show to attract more attention,” Vladislav Zabarskiy from the Party of Regions stated.

But the story with the missing address details, no matter how absurd it looked, has generated real excitement.

“We came here to show the commission that we want to be treated like normal people. It’s a political game. Someone above the CEC has ordered them to make it difficult for our party. But they won’t succeed,” Nikolai Kiyashko, one of the supporters, explained.

Yet, whoever was behind this story, under Ukrainian law Yulia Timoshenko still has a chance to stand in the coming election. But her candidates will have to remember their addresses if they want to sit in the next Parliament.

The former Prime Minister's Bloc is one of the frontrunners for the September poll.

The early election was called after a stand off between President Yuschenko and the leader of the parliamentary majority, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

The President dismissed the Rada and asked for a snap election, but it refused to disband, until a compromise date was set.