>After resorting to interventionist tactics, the pro-Moscow Party of Regions, led by outgoing “ex”-CPSU Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, has during a third round of voting permitted “ex”-Komsomol businesswoman Yulia Tymoshenko to become Ukraine’s next head of government. Tymoshenko previously held the post of PM in 2005. Although the Ukrainian oligarch and Orange revolutionary appears to be on a lower rung in the Soviet leadership, Tymoshenko is still beholden to Moscow, as we have documented before. On October 5 state-run Regnum News Agency reported that “A delegation of Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc [BYT] headed by tycoon Tariel Vasadze, who is one of Yulia Timoshenko’s allies and sponsors, visited Moscow on October 4, a REGNUM correspondent informs. Probably, BYT leader Yulia Timoshenko will try to obtain support of certain circles in the Russian capital on the threshold of the decisive stage of the coalition talks.”
Yanukovich conceded that his party, which actually won the most number of votes in the September election, will go into opposition. However, Moscow’s man in Kiev issued a gloomy prognosis for Ukraine: “Tymoshenko’s return as premier promises new political upheavals. The country is facing new ordeals.”
Ukrainian parliament elects Tymoshenko as prime minister
15:2518/ 12/ 2007
KIEV, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s parliament voted to approve pro-Western coalition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s return as prime minister on Tuesday.
Tymoshenko received the required minimum of 226 votes in support of her nomination from the coalition – all 156 members of her eponymous bloc and all but two of the 70 member pro-presidential Our Ukraine party.
Lawmakers voted by raising their hands after the flamboyant ‘orange revolution’ leader failed by a single vote to get backing for her appointment twice on December 11. The coalition blamed technical malfunctions.
Smiling Tymoshenko, wearing her traditional peasant plaits and a white suit, was presented with a bouquet of roses from her fellow coalition members.
President Viktor Yushchenko’s ally in the 2004 mass protests that brought him to power, Tymoshenko was sacked by the president after about eight months in the post in 2005 amid a series of scandals. The two reconciled their differences during coalition talks after early parliamentary elections in September.
The Party of Regions led by the president’s longtime rival, acting Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, its allies Communists and ex-speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc did not take part in the vote.
Yanukovych, who was defeated by Yushchenko in the presidential race but returned as premier in 2006 after a resounding victory in parliamentary polls, announced from the parliamentary rostrum after Tuesday’s vote that his party would go into opposition.
He said Tymoshenko’s return as premier promised new political upheavals in the ex-Soviet country. “The country is facing new ordeals,” Yanukovych said.
The 450-seat Supreme Rada will now approve a new Cabinet and distribute parliamentary committee portfolios, but lawmakers said the issues could be postponed until Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in the Not-So-Former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, which is part of the Moscow-controlled Commonwealth of Independent States, “ex”-CPSU President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s Ak Zhol (“Bright Path”) party has won every seat in the national legislature. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, fresh from its tussle with Russian election authorities, deployed more than 250 observers for the Kyrgyz elections. The OSCE released the following post-election statement: “The Dec. 16 parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan failed to meet a number of OSCE commitments, despite respect for some that underscore existing pluralism.” Pictured above: The “ex”-communist leaders of Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
Kyrgyz Leader’s Party Wins All Seats
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. Issue 3809. Page 4.
By Olzhas Auyezov Reuters
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s party won every available seat in the next parliament, preliminary results showed Monday, after weekend elections sharply criticized by Western monitors and the opposition.
Kyrgyzstan, home to both U.S. and Russian military bases, has been volatile since Bakiyev came to power in 2005, when a string of violent protests triggered by a disputed election toppled his long-serving predecessor, Askar Akayev.
If confirmed by final results, Bakiyev’s Ak Zhol party will dominate the 90-seat parliament in effective one-party rule — a break from Kyrgyzstan’s past as the most liberal state among more authoritarian Central Asian countries.
The election monitoring arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sent more than 250 observers for the elections, said the vote represented a “missed opportunity” to show commitment to international standards.
“The Dec. 16 parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan failed to meet a number of OSCE commitments, despite respect for some that underscore existing pluralism,” it said in a statement.
“Overall, the election represented a missed opportunity and fell short of public expectations for further consolidation of the election process,” it said.
Bakiyev has been accused at home of backtracking on his pre-election promises to bring more democracy and stability. He says stronger rule will help rebuild the economy, still in tatters after the collapse of the Soviet Union and burdened by huge debt.
Ak Zhol won 48 percent of Sunday’s vote, the Central Election Commission said Monday, citing results after 80 percent had been counted. Final results are due later this week.
“It’ll most likely be a one-party system,” said Toktogul Kakchekeyev, an independent political analyst.
The opposition Ata Meken party was the only other party to pass the threshold of 5 percent, with 9.3 percent. But it failed to meet a separate requirement of collecting 0.5 percent of the vote in each of Kyrgyzstan’s seven regions and two main cities.
The opposition condemned the elections as flawed, saying it had registered cases of forced voting and ballot stuffing. “We don’t accept this election’s result,” said Kubatbek Baibolov, a member of the Ata Meken party. “The authorities … are just cynically appointing their own people into the parliament. It will lead to trouble. People feel deceived.”
The previous parliamentary elections in 2005, also disputed by the opposition, sparked violent protests that toppled Akayev and brought Bakiyev to power.
Ak Zhol says it sees Russia — where the United Russia party controls more than two-thirds of seats in the State Duma — as a guiding model. Neighboring Kazakhstan also has a one-party parliament.
“The desire to copy Russia and Kazakhstan is priority No. 1 for the authorities,” said Kakchekeyev, the analyst.
But despite accusations of irregularities, many people said they voted of Ak Zhol, seeing it as a guarantor for stability following years of political turbulence and street protests.
Source: The Moscow Times
In addition to Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan feature parliaments totally or nearly totally dominated by one party, usually staffed by personnel from the old Communist Party of the Soviet Union, its youth league, or the Soviet security and intelligence apparatus. “The desire to copy Russia and Kazakhstan is priority No. 1 for the authorities,” observes independent political analyst Toktogul Kakchekeyev, referring to United Russia and Nur-Otan (“Fatherland’s Ray of Light”). Interestingly, now that Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are again dominant-party states, the ruling parties have assumed names reminiscent of Peru’s murderous Maoist Shining Path. In Turkmenistan the Democratic Party, which is the only legal political organization there, is the renamed Turkmen branch of the CPSU.