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9 Oct, 2008 17:19

Ukrainians to elect third parliament in three years

Ukraine will face its third general election in as many years in December as a result of Wednesday’s announcement by President Yushchenko to dissolve parliament. The decision was prompted by the failure of the warring parties to form another coalition.

Deputy Valeriy Konovaluk, from the party of regions, headed the commission, which investigated a weapons sale scandal. He was one of those who talked of impeaching Yushchenko. Even though his job is unfinished, he is confident that the president will eventually be ousted after another snap ballot.

“Inconsistency and trickery of the orange forces not only made them lose the trust of their electorate, but also led to destabilisation in the country. I believe one of the first matters, which the next parliament will deal with, will be whether we need the president at all and what changes to the constitution must be made on this matter,” said Konovaluk.

But while according to opinion polls, the Party of Regions has nothing to worry about in the upcoming early vote, it’s the pro-presidential party, Our Ukraine, which should be concerned.
Some analysts strongly doubt that the party in its present form will make it into the next Rada. Maybe that’s the reason why the first critical reactions to Yushchenko’s decree came from one of the orange deputies.

But the Rada dispersal should be blow to Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. The Iron Lady of Ukrainian politics is said to be feeling unwell and has so far abstained from making any comments.

Her party didn’t show up at the parliament’s session in the morning, expressing the view that Yushchenko’s step was unconstitutional. Experts believe that the cornerstone of the whole crisis was Yushchenko’s wish to remove his former ally as a political rival and that she should accept defeat.

“Timoshenko could have jumped straight from the prime minister’s seat to the president’s. Her strong position as prime minister could have guaranteed her a victory at the upcoming presidential race. But this early ballot cancelled this. She’s very unlikely to be re-elected again and the main intrigue now is who will replace her,” believes political analyst Vadim Karasyov.

Meanwhile, having overcome the aftershock of Yushchenko’s decision, it seems that politicians have now started preparing themselves for the early ballot – the second in less than 18 months.
And they now have quite a job to do. Amid what the media describes as election fatigue, they have to somehow persuade the electorate to come to the polling stations once again.

If voter turn-out doesn’t reach the required 50 percent barrier Yushchenko would have the right to become the sole authority in the country. And while experts believe this will not happen, nothing’s certain in the vibrant world of Ukrainian politics.