Archive for May 30th, 2013


European Parliament attack United Opposition composition again

May 30, 2013

Not for the first time, the European Parliament has made clear its disillusionment with the “United Opposition” of Ukraine in respect to their cooperation and coalition with the Svoboda Party.

“For me this party is the worst phenomenon, which presents an anti-Semitic position, and fights against gays and lesbians. They do this openly.

 I saw a photo of the Svoboda leader, Yatseniuk [Arseniy Yatseniuk, one of Batkivschyna leaders] and Klitschko [Vitali Klitschko, UDAR party leader] together demonstrating the unity of opposition. But I can’t imagine that people like Klitschko, who position themselves as Europeans, and Yatseniuk, would willingly shake the hand of a person who in public states that Jews are the main threat to European civilization. Sometimes, while looking for and respecting opposition, we can’t recognize it.” – Marek Siwiec MEP

This statement echoes resolutely with similar a similar statement from the Foreign Minister (in waiting) of Bulgaria, Kristian Vigenin.

However, despite the rhetoric, it is impossible to believe that the European Parliament “does not understand” why the other opposition parties are in a coalition with Svoboda – it is simply about voter numbers and defeating the Party of Regions at any elections that occur.

Nobody claims – not even the parties within the “United Opposition” – that they have any shared ideology or goal other than removing the current ruling majority and replacing it.

Quite simply it is zero sum, winner takes all, politics that is driving the “United Opposition”.  Ideology, appearances, future dynamics and functionality should it actually win – be damned.

It is of course that very mind set, should they come to power, that will lead to the collapse of such a coalition – as ideology frames policy.

Despite any secretive and grubby little deals about who will hold what political positions amongst the party leaders and their immediate entourage, Svoboda will drag both UDAR and Batkivshchyna to the right of centre politics owing to the necessity to keep power through such a coalition – and power is everything in this zero sum game.

If it were not a zero sum game, then it becomes incredibly difficult to argue (to the point where it would be hard to understand) for cooperation with Svoboda by either the “United Opposition” or UDAR based on any other premise.

Such a hard pull to the right will probably cause a winning coalition to collapse or fragment mid-term.  Alternatively such a hard pull to the right will disillusion enough voters to insure they are a single term majority if they manage to hold it together and retain power for power’s sake.

Given the history of Batkivshchyna coalitions – fragmentation and collapse seems the most likely prior to completing a full term in office.  Particularly so, when currently, the only thing united about the “United Opposition” is the use of the word “united” in the coalition title.

Nonetheless, it would be very interesting to see this unholy alliance win, and observe what sort of reception any Svoboda member would get when visiting the European Parliament.

The open hostility towards hard right nationalism within the EU political elites should not be underestimated – after all nationalism sits poles apart from the strange place the EU resides between confederation and federation as well as the core principles upon which the EU is founded – and thus Svoboda, already openly condemned twice by the European Parliament, are unlikely to get anything but a very cold reception at best – and at worst it would get no reception at all.

Knowing that to be the case, how would UDAR and Batkivshchyna deal with EU relations if in power when reliant upon Svoboda to remain so?

What cost to goodwill by retaining Svoboda as a coalition partner with the EU?

Will Svoboda be jettisoned as a partner by Batkivshchyna and UDAR if, in the unlikely event, their voting numbers are enough between them to create a majority?

For certain this is not a coalition set in stone for the coming eons.  Sooner or later it will break – and probably sooner rather than later if it comes to power – or later rather than sooner if it remains in opposition.

More immediately, how will Messrs Yatseniuk and Klitschko respond to yet another, public, European chiding over their association with Svoboda?

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