EU-Ukraine relations

Next Sunday Ukrainians will be electing new parliament – Verkhovna Rada. EU-Ukraine relations were not among most discussed issues in electoral campaign. Ukrainian politicians are traditionally stuck in the mutual accusations and shallow disputes on internal development.

But in the same time the event has huge importance for further dialog between Ukraine and Union. Free and democratic parliamentary elections would bring relations back on track and allow to advance it to the conclusion of Association agreement.

However it is difficult to be optimistic. The campaign was very far from European and international standards.

There were mass subornation of the voters and political hypocrisy; different tricks and fraud in order to confuse people; violations regarding opposition, independent candidates and journalists; all possible preferences for the ruling Party of Regions.

There were not wide direct discussions among political leaders on national TV; proper reaction of judiciary system on the facts of violations; equal access to the media for all candidates etc. Poor quality of Ukrainian electoral legislation has encouraged dishonest and undemocratic passing of the campaign. Imprisonment of opposition leaders – Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko – also put legitimacy of these elections under question.

Definitely, many in Brussels and other European capitals had hopes for at least relatively free and democratic Ukrainian elections. President Yanukovych has before repeatedly promised to ensure this. One can say it was not happen. Ukrainian leadership seems ignoring both external demands and his own declarations.

There is very slight chance for at least “half-happy end” – voting day is ahead. But most likely the EU will face with difficult choice after elections: to compromise with own principles and to resume dialog with Mr Yanikovych despite continued supression of democracy in the country – or to preserve present status quo for indefinite time.

 

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