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You're reading: Electoral songs warming up to 2015

three weeks’ time, on the last Sunday of October, Ukrainians will elect
450 members of the new parliament, half of them from the national party
list, and half from territorial districts. Opinion polls reveal more or
less equal support for both the pro-government forces (Party of Regions
and Communists – 25 and 9 per cent respectively) and opposition (Yulia
Tymoshenko’s Motherland and Vitaliy Klychko’s Udar – 15 and 17 per cent)
This means that the remaining one third of votes will be cast for the
plethora of minor parties that have virtually no chances to surpass the 5
per cent threshold. All these votes will be distributed proportionally
among the winners. In fact, it is a gift for the incumbents since most
of the minor parties below the threshold represent the opposition.

of unity is a persistent problem of Ukrainian democrats, and is
especially harmful vis-a-vis the monolithic unity of the authoritarian
rulers. Admittedly, their unity is not based on any positive ideology
but primarily on sharing the spoils and suppressing dissent by various
means—from bribery and persuasion to media censorship and manipulation,
blackmail, intimidation, and selective application of the law. Enormous
resources extracted from budget loopholes and the shadow economy make
the Party of Regions a formidable force, quite competitive on the party
list (despite its disastrous social and economic policies) and
unbeatable in the territorial districts where vote buying reigns

make a bad situation worse, the new electoral law not only increased
the threshold from 3 to 5 per cent, targeting primarily the opposition
parties but also introduced the “first-past-the-post” system within the
majoritarian districts that require a simple plurality, rather than a
clear majority of votes to win. This system allows the incumbents not to
worry too much about their popularity—20 per cent of their core
electorate might suffice if their opponents are successfully split,
dispersed, and pitted against each other. To this end, a numerous fake
parties and “technical” candidates are registered with the goal to spoil
the electoral process in multiple ways. As many as 3,109 candidates
will compete for 225 mandates in the majoritarian districts: nearly 14
persons per seat. And, tellingly, there are only 389 women compared to
2,720 men, 67 less than five years ago when women were also badly
underrepresented. Predictably, very few candidates are economists,
lawyers, or professional policy makers. Instead, 1,082 of them are
businessmen of different calibers, which is common practice in a country
in which the only protection for businessmen is parliamentary immunity,
and where the most profitable business is looting state resources and
exploiting  legal loopholes

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