Ukraine’s election campaign: mired in scandal

Mired in litigation and scandals, the parliamentary election campaign has kicked off in Ukraine. Around 40 parties have already registered for the race.

The star of this election campaign, popular drag queen and No.2 in this year’s Eurovision song contest, Verka Serduchka, a charater created by the actor Andrei Danilko, has announced that she is to set-up a political party “For ourselves!” and will take part in next months elections. He promised not to turn up in parliament in stage costumes if successfully elected. Serduchka counts on support of those people disappointed in politics. Yet after some thinking, the man behind her character pulled out of the process.

The star of this election campaign, popular drag 
            queen Verka Serduchka
The star of this election campaign, popular drag queen Verka Serduchka

“The star should have come to distribute these badges to the would-be deputies from her party. It was meant to be a light-hearted touch to our political convention. But apparently she is not ready yet”, Igor Dushin, Verka Serduchka’s supporter, said showing a bag of badges with flag designs.

But if Verka’s party is not going to provide entertainment in parliament, there are other candidates that will.

Yulia Timoshenko has started her election crusade with a so-called “Address Scandal”. The Central Election Commission refused to register her delegates for failing to provide their full home addresses. After four days of mass protests and a court ruling, Ms Timoshenko’s Bloc was back in the race.

The Party of Regions, which is favoured to win the election, criticised the incident as a promotional stunt. Their supporters have only just left the capital after months of rallying against the dissolution of the Rada.

Mikhail Chechetov, would-be deputy from the Party of Regions, says that Ukraine doesn’t need elections at all.

“Elections destabilise the economy and slow down economic growth. They were instigated by the ‘Orange Camp’ that went bankrupt and now wants to return to power no matter what,” he thinks.

The stakes are high for the Orange Our Ukraine party which is lagging behind the Party of Regions, and former ally of Ms Timoshenko’s party. Its members are on a mission to protect the President from the Prime Minister and make Ukraine a European state.

“They want to make the office of the President a puppet position. They are interested in power so as to improve Ukraine’s economy but not to the benefit of the people but to the benefit of the major capitalist elite,” Roman Zvarych from the Our Ukraine party stated.

So, perhaps Verka Serduchka had good reasons to reject the political life. At Eurovision, she positioned herself as a new peace dove. But it seems that politics in Ukraine is more about making war than love.

Around 40 parties have registered for this election campaign but their programmes all seem to be infected with populism. They are fighting for people’s votes by offering either free payouts or better pensions. But whether they will keep their promises or return to fighting each other for power, as they were in the last two years, is a major concern for the Ukrainian people.