By Oleksandr Moroz, Leader, Socialist Party of Ukraine
Silski Visti, Kiev, Ukraine, in Ukrainian, 17 Feb 04; p 2
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Feb 27, 2004
The opposition newspaper Silski Visti has published a political forecast by
Socialist Party of Ukraine leader Oleksandr Moroz, in which he considers
possible scenarios of political developments in the run-up to the
presidential election. The only hope for the incumbent authorities to cling
onto power is to resort to vote-rigging, Moroz said. They can also raise
their chances by holding an early election if President Leonid Kuchma
Moroz looked at two possible courses of events: when political reform is
carried out and when it is not. He also proposed ways in which the
opposition should respond to various possibilities in order to thwart the
presidential administration's plans.
(Click on image to enlarge it)
The following is the text of the article by Oleksandr Moroz, entitled
"Neutralize intentions to rig the presidential election!" and published in
Silski Visti on 17 February; subheadings inserted editorially:
In analysing the political situation that has to do with the presidential
elections and all the previous practices of power formation, one can reach
a conclusion that the regime's main tool to achieve its aim can only be
falsification. In this connection there are so many arguments that this
premise can be taken for granted.
Let us forecast possible actions by the regime's supporters, meaning the
best conditions for using the criminal tool. Our experience makes it
possible to conclude that practically the only scenario for successful
vote-rigging (successful for the regime) is to hold a presidential election
in August this year. Let us examine reasons for such a forecast.
EARLY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Reasons. It is easier to falsify things by taking advantage of large masses
of those who do not want to or cannot take part in elections. Then, there is
a lot of room for manipulation. By-elections and other campaigns, general
statistics on the movement of people on holidays reduce the electoral
turnout rate by approximately 20 per cent. So, the regime's spin doctors
could count on elections in August when holidays are at their height.
Ways to legitimize early elections. The only way is to have an early
election of the president. The key to this is Leonid Kuchma's voluntary
resignation. Such an assumption might seem illogical, for the motives he
voiced for political reforms throughout one and half years have demonstrated
a strengthening of the dictatorship, not his concern for the democratization
of state governance. Has his interest changed now? Certainly not. Yet he
will not be able to carry out his intention on his own. The risks are too
high because even the universal use of government machinery cannot be a
Besides, he does not need power in itself; he needs it as a condition of
security (in a broad sense of these words). Voluntary resignation, to some
extent, improves the president's image: look, kind people, I truly want
change, do not want to hinder it, you should somehow manage on your own...
[newspaper ellipsis] Soft-hearted ordinary people love things like these.
Yet not everything is so simple because the content of political reform is
not clear. So, two scenarios seem likely. Either of them can be implemented.
The first scenario. Reform is not carried out. Power should be transferred
to that person who will guarantee the president's security either personally
(having such authority) or by ensuring him [Kuchma] respective status. As
regards status, for example, the post of prime minister (which is less
likely) or MP will be suitable. It is no problem to vacate such a position
for the president. A successor to the presidency can expect success if he a)
enjoys Kuchma's confidence, based on previous relations; b) has a sufficient
level of publicity. In other words, a person whom people know and on whose
potential they place their hopes.
[Prime Minister] Viktor Yanukovych meets these criteria more than anyone,
though the name is not that important. The current prime minister's
advantage is that, under the present constitution, presidential authority
and the ability to use government machinery would go to him if Kuchma
resigned. Yanukovych would have enough arguments for those who are in
charge of administrative resources - [regional] governors. Under the
constitution early elections should be held 90 days after the current
president leaves office. In other words, an "abdication" can be expected
in late April-early May.
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE SCENARIO
The second scenario. Reform is carried out. In this case the content and
timing of constitution changes play a great role. There are quite a few
possible sequences, and they can be analysed separately. One of them is
that reform comes into effect 15 days after it is signed into law. If this
happens in late March, in a few days power may be transferred either
according to the first scenario or, following the agreement with the prime
minister (whose authority will be augmented), to another representative of
the authorities with a more or less untarnished reputation ([National Bank
governor] Serhiy Tyhypko, etc.). Most likely, the president has not yet
chosen this scenario.
This scenario is "passable". It does not disturb society because competition
between contenders would get a bit less sharp while control over the
parliamentary majority remains in the same hands. This scenario requires
that constitutional amendments be passed not later than March. (If this is
the case, bills on elections and other bills having to do with reform will
not be much disputed by the parliamentary majority).
Back-up scenario. It seems it was not by chance that the majority, which had
various possibilities to abide by parliamentary procedure, voted [on a bill
on constitutional changes] on 24 December 2003 in an illegitimate fashion
[by a show of hands]. Neither was it accidental that it received an order to
hold an emergency session only on the latest, to some extent, ambiguous
date, on the eve of 3 February. What was this done for? So that, in response
to MPs' appeals, the Constitutional Court would rule the votes on the
aforementioned days illegitimate. The authorities will need such a ruling
after the presidential election when it becomes clear to the regime whether
the president's power should be enhanced or weakened.
Both the model of the president's election and the duration of the
presidential campaign will matter in each scenario. It is not coincidental
that the latter factor is repeatedly mentioned by the propresidential forces
which are allegedly worried that parliamentary elections are held for 90
days and presidential elections are held for 180 days, though they are not
directly interrelated. It is a different thing that worries them.
There are two reasons. First, it is intended to diminish the opposition
candidates' chances of using old methods of campaigning and canvassing
because the up-to-date methods, especially television, are in the regime's
hands. In pursuit of this aim attempts are made to close the Silski Visti
newspaper, to take Radio Liberty off the air, to bring the regional mass
media under control. Second, it is intended to create grounds for the
plausible disqualification of that candidate (candidates) whose actions
could be qualified as violation of electoral laws in terms of premature
It is for this reason that there were delays in proposing candidates for a
new make-up of the Central Electoral Commission. The candidates were
selected taking account of the second reason mentioned here, with a view
to resorting to this method. This is a general outline of conditions for
OPPOSITION CAN THWART PRESIDENT'S SCHEMES
How to neutralize these plans? The first scenario (as well as the second)
could be, to a large extent, neutralized by the quality of the law on
presidential elections which should necessarily provide that the state
administration shall be distanced from the electoral process.
The third scenario could be blocked by several measures. First of all, it is
necessary to make the Constitutional Court send its reply as to the
legitimacy of the votes on 24 December and 3 February, as well as hand
down its ruling on the law on constitution changes. It does not matter
whether its replies will be positive or negative, but their existence will
preclude manipulation or fraud, and the Constitutional Court will not be
held hostage to the regime.
Next, it is necessary to carefully think over the dates of the passage of
the bill on constitutional changes. To prevent anybody from doing stupid
things, the best of all would be to finally vote on the bill in June. The
nearest weeks will show if the political forces have mutual confidence as to
the reform of the power system. If it is sufficient, a June vote will not be
risky even provided the presidential campaign is shortened. The response of
the pro-regime structures to this circumstance will prove if the forecast
that has been made is right or wrong.
There are also other mechanisms to keep everyone within the framework of
the constitution. They are not at issue. Today the forecast I have made
suggests that leaders of groups and factions of the parliamentary majority
need to analyse their place and role in spin doctors' moves to keep the
regime in place, and consequences for themselves. The same is true for other
leaders from progovernment structures. I am certain they will not find their
interest in the developed scenario.
Leaders of the opposition factions need to act in a concerted and
coordinated fashion and to step over the differences that have recently been
accumulated, especially in view of the fact that many of the differences
have been planted. The regime can make a good job of deceiving its
opponents and intriguing.
Active elements in political parties should consider new nuances in the
development of political processes, mobilize the entire arsenal of their own
means, paying special attention to the need to explain things to people.
More than ever, citizens and each voter will be increasingly responsible for
forming the authorities, thus for the situation in the state. Many other
factors, including external factors, should also be considered.
What about the president? He can either refute what has been said above or
keep silent. In fact, this is one of the motives behind the publication of
We shall see. Then together we will make our own conclusions.
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