Global Voices Online
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Regional council election in the western Ukrainian region of Ternopil took place on March 15, following much political drama.
Ukrainian parliament set the date for the snap election on Dec. 18, 2008 (UKR). On March 3, 2009, 141 MPs from Yulia Tymoshenko's Bloc (BYuT) and 147 MPs from Victor Yanukovych's Party of Regions voted to cancel the election. One of the parties running in the election - Oleh Tyahnybok's All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda (Freedom) - appealed the parliament's decision in court, and won the appeal on March 11. The next day, BYuT appealed the pro-election ruling, but lost on March 14, and, later that day, announced that it would not take part in the election. The Ternopil regional election commission, however, refused to take BYuT off the ballots.
Tyahnybok's Svoboda won the election (34.69%, 153,038 votes, 50 seats out of 120), presidential chief of staff Victor Baloha’s United Center Party came in second (14.2%, 63,143 votes, 20 seats), followed by Yanukovych's Party of Regions (9.8%, 41,303 votes, 14 seats) - and BYuT finished fourth (8.12%, 36,056 votes, 12 seats).
In the previous Ternopil Regional Council election (UKR), held in March 2006, BYuT won 34.49% of the votes, taking 54 seats, pro-presidential People's Union "Our Ukraine" had 31.27% of the votes and 48 seats, while neither the Party of Regions, nor Svoboda were represented in the Ternopil regional council then.
In a March 16 interview (UKR) with Ukrainska Pravda, Tyahnybok announced his plans to run for president of Ukraine in 2010.
Vakhtang Kipiani - LJ user vaxo, a Ukrainian journalist of Georgian descent, who ran (UKR) unsuccessfully for Ukrainian parliament in 2006 on Vitali Klitschko's Pora-PRP ticket - wrote this (UKR) about the results of the Ternopil regional council election:
I'm not going to congratulate anyone - because 34 percent for xenophobes and ultra-patriots isn't an event that fills one with joy. Inefficiency of corrupt and dishonest politicians who call themselves democrats always produces various dragons - from the red ones to brown.
I don't see anything dangerous about it, it's nothing but the symptoms of an illness, not the illness itself. A regional council, fortunately, isn't a place where the ["Protection of Ukrainians Program" - UKR] or whatever it's called can be carried out.
If the democratic, liberal right is missing in Ternopil region - this is when Tyahnybok's guys come to that spot. This was going to happen. And it has happened.
P.S. Ten percent of the [Party of Regions people] in the [fine Ternopil region] - that's [sick], too.
Below are a few comments (UKR) to Kipiani's post:
They've voted for those who are visible locally - it's all logical.
That's true that this time local personalities have got the votes, not Yulia, or Vitya, or someone else. [...]
And here is a similar observation (UKR) from LJ user ollko:
[...] In Ternopil region, Svoboda and United Center have basically done open list voting. There were no "outsiders" who [had paid to be included on the party lists]. Their people are known in districts and villages. This is one more explanation of the result they got. People are tired of brands and want specific individuals. [...]