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Stealing votes

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Feb. 18, 2010, 10:07 p.m. |
A solid yet squalid majority in the 450-seat national legislature this week trampled on the most cherished democratic right – the right to vote for and choose government representatives. In postponing the May 30 local elections for a second time (they were originally scheduled for this fall), 250 megalomaniac Verkhovna Rada lawmakers signaled a retreat from representative democracy. What’s next? Move to cancel the 2012 parliamentary elections, the 2015 presidential election?

Their irrational explanation for doing so was that certain people are “too emotionally unstable” to cast ballots in seeking “revenge” after the presidential election, as Our Ukraine parliament member Volodymyr Karpuk said paternalistically. But what they really fear is a backlash from voters.

Other lawmakers exposed their dilettantish knack for planning (the election was scheduled back in October 2009) by pointing to a non-existent 2010 budget for financing the election as if this was a normal day occurrence and not a violation of the Constitution, which they consistently manage to do.

But their unabashed impudence doesn’t stop there. A gander at who voted for the measure reveals who in parliament wants to cling to power the most: Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc, whose table is ready in the political oblivion room, the Communist dinosaurs whose twilight will be associated with the turn of this century, the Party of Regions who’ve peaked in voter appeal and 32 Our Ukraine group members who are in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation of their own doing.

Democracy is about healthy competition, not brazenly taking power from the people. Ukrainians are already stuck with voting for their representatives on the national and local level based on a closed-list proportional system. They vote for parties who don’t disclose who’s on their party lists. This is no way to choose representatives. Their governors get appointed by the president. And now their town heads, city mayors and local council members don’t even get voted in at all, indefinitely.

We hope that this undemocratic and plain stupid move is challenged in the Constitutional Court by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc – the only one in parliament that did not vote in its support. Or does she also fear a backlash from voters? This damn-the-nation-so-we-can-cling-to-power mentality is nauseating.
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