Archive for July 28th, 2012

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United Opposition welcome Svoboda to their ranks – Welcome to the far, far right!

July 28, 2012

Oh dear!  It’s a bit like a car crash in slow motion.

You know its coming and you try to prepare yourself for the impact and yet when it comes you are still not ready for it.

The United Opposition have welcomed aboard the good ship “anybody except Party of Regions”, the far, far right Svoboda Party in their coalition for the impending parliamentary elections in October 2012.

Now to be fair to Svoboda and Oleh Tyahnybok the party leader, it would have been unlikely his party would have passed the 5% threshold of popular vote to allow his party candidates to get into the RADA, should it act alone.  Having joined forces with the United Opposition, for the first time, self declared fascists and Nazis look certain to hold seats in the RADA whether or not the United Opposition win post October, as a deal has been struck whereby 35 seats will not be contested by other United Opposition parties.

As Svoboda has numerous politicians in several regional administrations and western cities of Ukraine, it seems a fair guess that in the absence of other opposition parties running in those areas for parliament, as per the agreement announced two days ago, Svoboda will win.

All jolly good if you are a supporter of Svoboda and possibly good for the United Opposition, but possibly not.

Why do I say that?  Surely if a coalition ally is all but certain to win RADA seats in western Ukraine when running only against the PoR who are much loathed there, it is a good thing?

Maybe.

However, Mr Tyahnybok has been on national television on well watched political shows such as Shuster Live and Keselov, happily confirming his fascist and Nazi credentials.  His positions are so far right of patriotism they can only be described as to the hard right of nationalism.  He is on public record numerous times relating to his anti-Semitic, anti-Russian, anti-EU stance.

Now there is nothing wrong with that.  In a democracy there is free speech, freedom of expression and as national voting shows, he does represent a very small proportion of society.

From a United Opposition point of view though, he also alienates an enormous part of society – and the United Opposition have just formally got into bed with him.

Why would any Jew now vote for Yatseniuk or Tymoshenko’s parties knowing that in doing so it helps propel an anti-Semitic number of Svoboda party people into the RADA as well?  Why would any Ukrainian, be they pro-Russia or pro-EU, vote for the United Opposition when in doing so it propels ultra-nationalists well known for their intense dislike of both Russia and the EU, into the RADA?

By formally allowing Svoboda into the ranks of the United Opposition, any thoughts of a workable, principled coalition, should they win and become the majority in parliament, becomes a nonsense.  If there are 25 – 35 Sovoboda MPs then the entire United Opposition (or then majority) can be held ransom with that number of MPs  votes.

Let us not forget, Ms Tymoshenko led a coalition government that had a majority of only 1.  There is no way a coalition government can cope with 25 – 35 unruly ultra-nationalist Svoboda MPs and so major principled and ideological positions will have to be ceded to keep them on side just to remain in power.

That is what happened last time the opposition ruled Ukraine, making it a complete farce and an abject lesson in dysfunctional government.  In short, there would be no alternative but a major slide to the far right to hold things together as a government.

You have to ask why they have done this?  Without joining the United Opposition, there was a better than good chance that Svoboda would have failed the 5% threshold and many voters knowing that would have voted for the parties of Yatseniuk or Tymoshenko instead.  At most Svoboda would have had a handful of RADA MPs from the occasional win in single seat constituencies, rather than a possible 30+ from single seat constituencies and being on the proportional list as part of the United Opposition having now been allowed to join it.

A handful of ultra-nationalist MPs from a different and quite radical party is far easier to control if you are trying to run a coalition with a small majority.

Was any thought given to the causal effects of doing this?

Then again, does it really matter?  The Ukrainian public are faced with voting for a United Opposition that was a complete failure when last in power and the names and faces simply haven’t changed.  They offer nothing and nobody new from what they offered 2 years ago when ousted from power.  (Although there is a serious rumour that Andrey Shevchenko, the iconic Ukrainian footballer will enter politics today – but for which party it is as yet unknown.  My best guess would be Klitschko’s UDAR or Korolevska as neither have the corrupt baggage of the other parties .)

The choice remains a stick or a fork in the eye for the voter.  The ultimate reality remains a very painful eye whatever they choose!

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