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Social matters – Ukraine

May 25, 2013

One of the key advantages of any political incumbent with elections on the horizon, is the ability to indirectly bribe sections of the community through social policy – slowly but surely – in the run-up to campaigning.

Now 2015 and the next presidential elections may seem far, far away – although as that is all the opposition leaders seem to talk or be bothered about, with the exception of the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU – one maybe forgiven for thinking the election is far closer than it actually is.

Thus with the opposition leadership distracted by the possibility that one day one of them may become president – it is maybe not surprising that two open goals with political points freely available seem to have passed without comment – ridiculous as that may sound to anybody expecting an opposition to hold a majority to account.

After all, they seem determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at every given opportunity, as I wrote only a few days ago.

And so it has come to pass that a truly woeful piece of legislation has been tabled in relation to a new Labour Code – so woeful that the Social Policy Minister has gone out of her way to underscore just how awful it is to journalists prior to any voting.

On the same day, the Ukrainian Ombudsman for Human Rights has just highlighted that of social cases brought before Ukrainian courts, only 30% of the nations court decisions are actually carried out – meaning that 70% of court decisions relating to social matters therefore fail to protect the human rights of individuals the judgments are there to protect – And most of these cases involve the non-payment of legally guaranteed benefits by the State as the State funds are several UAH billion underfunded.

To any opposition party leaderships that were not preoccupied with egocentric pondering of just how good they would look sat in the Presidential residence, these are golden opportunities to highlight incredibly poor performance by the current majority in the social, legislative and administrative spheres – issues that would have been pounced upon by any functioning opposition leadership immediately these statements were made – in the full knowledge that in the coming 18 months, the current incumbent will begin to use social policy to bribe voters ahead of the elections.

Seriously, if the figures the Ombudsman states are correct, 2 million judgments in 2012 alone, of which 70% go unfulfilled – that is 1,400,000 voters who have failed to get justice from the State, despite court decisions going their way.  That is about 3% of the population – and 3% is a sizable constituency in the zero sum, first past the post, presidential electoral system.

Such figures simply demanded an immediate and robust response from opposition leaders themselves –  rather than any mutterings from underlings.

Maximum opposition impact in relation to these statements with both media and society alike has now passed – another missed opportunity.

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