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Party time

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Nov. 24, 2011, 9:14 p.m. | Editorial — by Kyiv Post
Now is time for grassroots protesters to strike a deal with political parties, or start new ones. The good news is that more Ukrainians are finally starting to take to the streets. They are rightfully protesting President Viktor Yanukovych’s rollback on democratic freedoms as well as equally repressive economic policies that benefit his loyal oligarch friends while choking the rest of business, both big and small.

The bad news is that while the protesters share common values and goals, they are fragmented. Worst of all, there is a discouraging viewpoint spreading across Ukraine that political parties have no place in these peaceful protests, that civic society and grassroots organizations should lead the fight for justice and fairness.

It is understandable why most Ukrainians, including those on the streets, have lost trust in politicians. Many of Ukraine’s 192 political parties are shams.

Others are oligarch-dominated political shields. Still others are led by power-hungry populists.

However, a strong and constructive opposition represented in parliament by political parties is needed in Ukraine now more than ever before. Yet less than 5 percent of Ukrainians are members of any political party at all.

Those who criticize the status quo should ask themselves what they can do to bring about change from within. Are they members of a political party? Have they ever been members? Have they as members of a party sought to introduce U.S.-styled election primaries that could help shape parties from within?

If Ukraine’s protest movement gains momentum, isolated groups may win over a concession here and there from Ukraine’s current authoritarian leaders.

But they will fail to change the nation's overall direction.

Now is the time for grassroots protesters to strike a deal with political parties, or start new ones.

If the next parliamentary election to be held in fall 2012 is democratic, the parties that become democratic from within stand a chance to accomplish much more than take control of the Verkhovna Rada. They could help put the country back on the right path.

But to accomplish this, they will need a much stronger base of support. In functioning democracies, this comes not on the streets through revolution, but through large numbers of party members who share the same principles about how a nation should develop and act upon it.
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Anonymous Nov. 24, 2011, 11:01 p.m.    

The main root of Ukraine's problems lie in the presidential system. Ukraine must address this fundamental issue of concern. As long as Ukraine remains beholden to presidential rule it will never be a Free independent democratic state. Until the opposition wake up and realise that the presidential system is the basis of most of Ukraine's problems their is little hope for any change other then ongoing political discontent. Constitutional and judicial reform must become central to Ukraine's political agenda before any meaningful change can occur.

The choice is simple. Retain the soviet presidential system and continue to be subject to authoritarian rule or embrace a democratic European parliamentary model of governance and accept collective responsibility for Ukraine's future.

The recent forced constitutional changes and proposed electoral reforms to the parliament are a backward step. The fact that the opposition had not opposed these changes provides little comfort or confidence that there will be any meaningful change in the near future.

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Anonymous Nov. 27, 2011, 2:17 a.m.    

Time for you to get a day job.

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Anonymous Nov. 24, 2011, 11:14 p.m.    

The last thing Ukraine needs is to pursue or adopt a US model of government. let alone primaries. Ukraine MUST look to Europe, and adopt European model and European standards.

It cost 100's of millions of dollars to run a presidential system campaign. Only the rich and the powerful can afford to sustain such a campaign.

Ukraine needs to embrace representative government and develop coalitions of common interests. This is best achieved though a full parliamentary model of democracy. Estonia and Latvia correctly adopted a parliamentary model when they declared independence from the Soviet Union. Estonian and Latvia along with a host of other states have succeeded where Ukraine has not. Their success is primarily due to the stability and collective responsibility that forms a basis of a parliamentary system.

The presidential system to the contrary has divided Ukraine and concentrated power into the hand of one individual. It is the root of Ukraine's failure and ongoing political crises.

In 2004 the main achievement of the Orange revolution was the fundamental shift aware from Presidential authority.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission have both correctly called on Ukraine to adopt a full parliamentary model of reform.

If Ukraine wants to be a part of Europe then it must take its lead from Europe and its neighbouring states not the USA.

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Anonymous Nov. 25, 2011, 3:04 a.m.    

You are such a drag with all this bogus stuff about parliamentary vs presidential.

You don't have a clue as to what you're talking about, but you keep posting this same old crap post after post, even making up different names to support your ridiculousness. Haven't you got a better thing to do other than to post nonsense?

It is the rules and the rulers and as to whether they will enforce the rules that determines the type of govt you have.

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Anonymous Nov. 25, 2011, 3 a.m.    

You weren't allowed to say much in 2004 with the Kuchma regime...so...maybe this is just the way it started back then?

The scary thing is how vicious will Yanu's attack be on them?

Will there be enough in the military, police and secret service to protect them?

I fear Yanu's attack on the demonstrators, but at the very least it will show the West what he is and they will probably react against this govt.

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Anonymous Nov. 25, 2011, 8:45 a.m.    

The new election law may work in opposition's favor. Why should the 20% of the population that are authoritarian, Communist and Soviet rule over the 80% of the population that is democracy and freedom oriented? Democracy and freedom oriented parties should agree to always vote and to vote only for any democracy oriented candidate that is available if someone from their own party is unavailable and to never, never, never vote for an authoritarian, Soviet or Communist oriented candidate. It would be so simple.

Yanukovych and the Party of Regions are authoritarian, corrupt, falsely persecuting the democratic opposition, disrespect Ukrainian language, culture and history, suppressing freedom of speech and freedom of press and dividing the wealth and business opportunities in Ukraine among themselves.

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Anonymous Nov. 25, 2011, 11:13 p.m.    

Remember as Stalin said...It is not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes.

Remember also the falsified election in 2004 that was overturned.

Remember also that Yanu has far more control than in 2004.

Quote from Democratic...&quot;Democracy and freedom oriented parties should agree to always vote and to vote only for any democracy oriented candidate that is available&quot;

Thanks to Yush &amp; Yats efforts, what you wanted did not happen and now Ukraine has an authoritarian govt. To me, they are among the utmost traitors of Ukraine.

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Anonymous Nov. 25, 2011, 4:13 p.m.    

Only allow retired persons to serve in Rada.

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