European Forum

Ukraine

Ukraine

Political turmoil broke out in Ukraine, after the riots on Maidan Square where over 70 protesters were killed. President Yanukovych fled to Russia and was removed from power by the Parliament in Kyiv. An interim government was appointed and Presidential elections were set for 25 May. Businessman Petro Poroshenko won those elections and got installed as the new President of Ukraine.

In the wake of the ousting of President Yanukovych however, Russia took control of the autonomous region Crimea. On 16 March an overwhelming majority in this region voted to join Russia, in a referendum unrecognised by the rest of the world. On 26 October Ukrainians went to the polls, this time to elect a new Ukrainian Parliament. Pro-Western parties won an overwhelming majority during these elections. The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in Donbas however decided not to allow for these elections, but to hold their own, a week later.
Back to top

POLITICAL SITUATION

Political system
Ukraine has a parliamentary presidential system, which means that the country elects on national level a head of state, the president, and a legislature. The president is elected for a five-year term directly by the people. The president needs a majority of the votes in the first round to be elected. Otherwise a second round is held, in which only the two candidates with the highest amount of votes (in the first round) can compete.

The parliament (Verkhovna Rada) has 450 members, elected for a four-year term. Until 2005, half of the members were elected by proportional representation and the other half by single-mandate constituencies. Starting with the 2006 parliamentary election, all 450 members were elected by proportional representation, but after a change in 2011 under Yanukovich’s presidency the parallel system of proportional representation and single-member constituencies was restored. From that moment on, candidates can be elected through party lists or self-nomination.

The constitution prescribes that the governmental parties must have a majority in parliament. Thus, minority coalitions are formally no option for government coalitions. Representative bodies and heads of local government throughout Ukraine are elected simultaneously with the Verkhovna Rada.

Latest political issues
On the 21st of November 2013, a small protest broke out after President Yanukovych abandoned a trade agreement with the European Union, favouring closer ties with Russia. After the protesters were beaten at night by police, the videos of the incident put online sparked a much larger outrage throughout the country, with hundreds of thousands of people on the streets within days, dubbed as the Maidan protest. The Maidan protests resulted in pro-EU protesters occupying the Maidan square and taking control of government buildings for months. Eventually, clashes between pro-EU protesters and the police resulted in an apogee on the 18th of February 2014, when over 70 protesters were killed. In the political turmoil that followed, President Yanukovich fled the country to Russia. An interim government was appointed with Olexander Turchynov as interim president. In weeks that followed, pro-Russian protests broke out in eastern Ukraine and the southern province of Crimea. Pro-Russian- and Russian forces took control of government buildings and strategic military complexes in the Crimea on the 27th of February, increasing tensions between Ukraine and Russia. On the 16th of March, the Crimea joined Russia trough a referendum in which an overwhelmingly majority voted in favour of Russia. The West claims this to be a violation of territorial integrity and a violation of international law, whereas Russia says it had to protect its Russian citizens in Crimea.

In the months following the annexation of the Crimea by Russia, the conflict reached a climax, Malaysia Airlines plane MH17 was shot down above eastern Ukrainian territory, killing all 298 passengers on board. The event sparked international outrage and, triggered the close involvement of the international community. The European Union, the United States and other countries intensified sanctions on pro-Russian seperatists and Russia. Meanwhile, the provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk declared themselves independent from Ukraine on the 11th of September 2014. On the 6th of September 2014 both parties agreed to a ceasefire in the capital of Belarus, Minsk.  

This Minsk I ceasefire was violated continuesly, and got out of control in January 2015. In February, Ukraine, Lugansk, Donetsk and Russia agreed to the Minsk II accords, and a new ceasefire was born. However this ceasefire was violated intensively in the first week when pro-Russian separatists opened an offensive on the strategic city of Debaltseve, which eventually led to their victory when the Ukrainian army retreated from the area. After this offensive, both parties seem to abide by the Minsk II accords, although fighting remains an every-day activity.

Sanctions on eastern Ukraine and Russia remain. President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said ‘’Leaders decided to align our sanctions regime to the implementation of the Minsk agreements brokered by [German] Chancellor Merkel and [French] President Hollande. The European Council agreed that the duration of economic sanctions will be clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, bearing in mind that this is only foreseen by the end of 2015."

According to the latest report of the United Nations, a total of 5,809 deaths were documented, while another 14,740 people were wounded. The report covers the period from mid-April 2014 to the 28th of February 2015.


Back to top

ELECTIONS

Parliamentary elections 2014
After winning the presidential elections of 25 May 2014, President Poroshenko announced that he intended to hold early parliamentary elections as soon as the political chaos in the East has been resolved. On 25 August Poroshenko dissolved the Parliament and announced that early elections would be held on 26 October.  In late July Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk already announced that he wanted to resign, after two parties left the coalition government. However, Parliament voted against this, forcing him to remain Prime Minister until the early elections. These elections on 26 October were won, by an overwhelming majority, by pro-Western parties. Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front in the end became the single largest party. Preliminary single-mandate districts results so, however, that Poroshenko’s Bloc will likely have the most MPs overall.

Campaign
Despite all the changes in the country, “attempts to bribe voters in this election were probably as common as under President Viktor Yanukovych”, said a local observer from the Ukrainian OPORA election watchdog. The police has opened several criminal cases regarding voter bribing. In their preliminary findings and conclusions on the parliamentary elections, the OSCE stated that “there were a number of credible allegations of vote buying, many of which are being investigated by the authorities”. But in general candidates were free to campaign, and the election campaign was competitive and visible. Misuse of administrative resources was not named as an issue of major concern, unlike in previous elections. Overall, the OSCE’s preliminary findings showed that democratic principles were generally respected.

Results
With all votes counted, the Central Election Commission (CEC) showed six parties passing the 5% electoral threshold and thus entering Ukrainian Parliament. Far right-wing party Svoboda seems not to have made it into parliament, with 4.71% of the votes.

Elections results 2014

Party

Seats proportional lists

Seats single-mandate constituencies

Total seats

% votes

People's Front

64

18

82

22.14

Petro Poroshenko Bloc 63 69 132 21.82
Self Reliance Party 32 1 33 10.97

Opposition Bloc

27

2

29

9.43

Radical Party of Oley Lyashko

22

0

22

7.44

Batkivishina

17

2

19

5.68

All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda"

-

6

6

4.71

Strong Ukraine

-

1

1

3.10

Zastup

-

1

1

2.65

Right Sector

-

1

1

1.81

Volia

-

1

1

-

Independent single constituencies

-

96

96

-


Voter turnout 52.4%

Also interesting is that 64 MPs have been re-elected to Parliament who had voted for the highly controversial laws of 16 January, which then President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions pushed through Parliament amid the Maidan movement, severely limiting certain rights, including the freedom to association.


Aftermath

Opposition reaction
Three days after the elections, the far-right wing party Svoboda released a statement claiming ‘mass falsifications’ based on the difference between the exit polls (which gave Svoboda 6.3% of the votes) and the actual results. The party believes that it has in fact passed the 5% threshold, and that the alleged falsifications are the result of efforts by Russian President Putin and his ‘agents’’ in Ukraine. CEC Chair Mikhail Ohendovski promised the party to check the ballot protocols of the districts where Svoboda believes falsifications took place.

'Elections' in Donetsk and Luhansk
In the East, polling stations did not open in the areas controlled by separatists, designated as the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics”. These two breakaway regions held their own elections on 2

November. They have insisted they will never again be part of Ukraine. During the regular parliamentary elections on 26 October only 42% of people in the Donetsk region and 26% in Luhansk were able to vote. As a result, 27 out of the 450 parliamentary seats (also included the seats representing the annexed Crimea region) will be left vacant.

The EU has not recognized the elections of 2 November in the Donbas and stated that they are illegal. Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament has said that: “The EU will not recognize these illegitimate elections, held contrary to Ukrainian legislation. In addition, such elections contradict the Minsk Protocol and are aimed at breaking the peace process in the Donbas region.” EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini called the vote an ‘obstacle to peace’. Also the OSCE said it would have nothing to do with the elections and the organisation didn’t send any international observers.

President Poroshenko called on Russia to denounce the vote. He described the elections as a ‘farce, [conducted] under the barrels of tanks and machine guns.’ The Russian Foreign Ministry, while not recognising the election, said it “respects the will of the people of Southeast Ukraine.”

OSCE report
As mentioned above the OSCE preliminary report was quite positive. The report mentioned that, “There were many positive points to the process, such as an impartial and efficient Central Election Commission, an amply contested election that offered voters real choice, and a general respect for fundamental freedoms.” However, the OSCE also stated that “there were a number of credible allegations of vote buying, many of which are being investigated by the authorities”. But in general candidates were free to campaign, and the election campaign was competitive and visible.


Presidential elections 2014
The elections were held in Ukraine on Sunday 25 May as former president Yanukovych was ousted by the Euro Maidan revolution on 22 February. Petro Poroshenko, the winner of those elections with 54.7% of the votes, has become president of a country in chaos. Two eastern regions declared independence and are plagued by violence as the country faces bankruptcy. The new president of Ukraine will be tasked with restoring peace and order in the country.

Runner-up is former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, candidate for the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Union, with 12.82 per cent of the votes. Radical Party leader Oleh Liashko surprisingly became third with 8.32 per cent of the votes. Liashko is well known for his television appearances.

Poroshenko claimed the victory at his Kyiv headquarters on Sunday evening 26 May. He spoke in Ukrainian, Russian and English saying “The first steps of my team will focus on ending the war, the chaos, the unrest and bring peace to the land of Ukraine.” Poroshenko promised leniency towards non-violent separatists in eastern Ukraine “For those people who don’t take [up] weapons, we are always ready for negotiations to

guarantee them security, to guarantee their rights, including speaking the language they want.” He is also committed to end the conflict with Russia and wants to start negotiations the replace the Budapest Memorandum. He said “Without Russia it would be much less effective or almost impossible to speak about the security in the whole region.”

Many of the people in the eastern part of the country were not able to vote. The Kyiv government has lost control in large parts of the Donbas region were separatists do not allow people to vote. In the city of Donetsk, home to one million Ukrainians, not a single polling station was opened. With the rise of armed groups, the increasing paramilitary activity and a population that distrusts Kyiv, voter turnout in the eastern regions of Ukraine was very low. In other parts of Ukraine the voter turnout was very high. The elections were seen as the most important since Ukrainian independence. Mykola Hosovskiy, of the General Prosecutor’s Office stated “For the first time in the history of election processes in Ukraine, there were no complaints [...] about the use of administrative resources.”


Election results

Candidate Party Votes Percentage
Petro Poroshenko Independent 9,857,308 54.70
Yulia Tymoshenko All Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" 2,310,130 12.82
Oleh Lyashko Radical Party 1,500,377 8.32
Anatoliy Hrytsenko Civil Position 989,029 5.48
Serhiy Tihipko Indepedent 943,350 5.23
Mykhailo Dobkin Party of Regions 546,138 3.03
Vadim Rabinovich Independent 406,301 2.25
Olga Bogomolets Independent 345,384 1.19
Petro Symonenko Communist Party of Ukraine 272,723 1.51
Oleh Tyahnybok All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda" 210,476 1.16
Dmytro Yarosh Right Sector 127,772 0.70
Andriy Hrynenko  Independent  73,277 0.40
 Valeriy Konovalyuk  Independent  69,569 0.38
 Yuriy Boyko  Independent 35,928 0.19
 Mykola Malomuzh  Independent 23,771 0.13
 Renat Kuzmin  Independent 18,689 0.10
 Vasyl Kuybida People's Movement of Ukraine 12,391 0.06
 Oleksandr Klymenko  Ukrainian People's Party 10,545 0.05
 Vasyl Tsushko  Independent 10,434 0.05
 Volodymyr Saranov  Independent 6,232 0.03
 Zoryan Shkiryak  Independent 5,021 0.02
 Invalid/blank votes   244,659 1.35
 Total votes   18,019,504 100
 Registered voters/turnout    29,625,200  60.19

 


Back to top

SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTIES


 

Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU)

The Socialist Party of Ukraine was founded in 1991. It called itself the successor to the Communist Party of Ukraine, but chose to form its own program and develop a new emphasis in its political activities. After the return of the Communist Party and the creation of the Progressive Socialist Party in 1993, the SPU lost its leftist monopoly. It also lost its ideological vestiges of the past and opted for reform. The new program underscored the need to carry out privatization, implement changes to the tax and criminal codes, fight corruption and introduce a pro-European foreign policy. The SPU calls itself democratic socialistic, but shows signs of social democracy.

Ater the Orange Revolution, which it supported, the SPU ran independently in the 2006 parliamentary elections. It received 33 seats in the Verkhovna Rada, and was part of the governing coalition. In the 2007 parliamentary elections, however, the party did not pass the threshold of 3 %, winning only 2,86 % of the votes. Analysts say this loss could perhaps be explained by disagreement within the potential SPU-electorate concerning the coalition-participation of the SPU after the 2006 elections. The fact that the SPU changed sides, leaving the Orange Revolution partners to join the coalition of Prime Minister Yanukovych (Party of Regions), was used by Tymoshenko to portray the SPU and its leader as unreliable traitors.

On 17 and 18 December 2011 several minor parties merged with the SPU: Farmer’s Party, All-Ukrainian Party ‘Children of War’, ‘Children of war National Party of Ukraine’ and the Kozak Fame party. Nonetheless, the party won 0.46 % of the national votes in the parliamentary election of 2012 and no constituencies and thus failed again to pass the electoral threshold.

Party leader: Oleksandr Moroz  
 www.spu.in.ua/www.cia.gov


 

 Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (USDP)

The SDPU was originally founded in 1890 and re-established in 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the 2006 elections the party was part of the Lazarenco Bloc, which only gained 0.30%, and therefore did not make it into parliament. It has failed to enter parliament since.

The SDPU is in favour of supporting democracy in the former Soviet Union and hopes Ukraine will be a member of the EU in the future.

Party leader: Yuriy O. Buzdugan
The SDPU is an observer member of the Socialist International. 


 

Ukrainian Social Democratic Party (SDPU)

The SDPU was originally founded in 1890 and re-established in 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the 2006 elections the party was part of the "Lazarenco Bloc", which only gained 0.30 %, and therefore did not make it into parliament. I has not made it into parliament since. The SDPU is in favour of supporting democracy in the former Soviet Union and hopes Ukraine will be a member of the EU in the future.

Party leader: Yuriy O. Buzdugan
The SDPU is an observer member of the Socialist International.


United Left and Peasants

On 17 December 2011 a unification on the basis of the Justice Party took place. The parties in question included the Justice Party, Popular Power, Ukrainian Farmer’s Democratic Party and All-Ukrainian Patriotic Union. The coordination council consisting of representatives of all five parties approved the political agreement and the new party was called United Left (‘socialists, farmers, social democrats, children of the war – for justice’). Stanislav Nikolaenko was elected leader of the new party. United Left positions itself as a modern socialist, social democrat party of a European type.

Party leader: Stanislav Nikolaenko 
www.livi.org.ua


Back to top

OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES

 

Party of Regions

The Party of Regions was created in March 2001 from the unification of five parties. Three quarters of the party’s members are from the Eastern Ukrainian Donbas region. During the 2002 parliamentary elections the party joined the pro-Kuchma ‘For a United Ukraine’ bloc. The party’s leader, Viktor Yanukovych, ran for president in 2004, with a strongly pro-Russian and regionalist agenda. After he lost those elections as a result of the Orange Revolution, the party moved into the opposition where it was one of the most visible parties. It frequently criticised the post-Orange Revolution government for its alleged preference for the Western parts of Ukraine and it gladly exacerbated the internal struggles in the government. This paid off in the 2006 parliamentary elections, which the party won. However, after the elections, the Party of Regions was excluded from coalition negotiations with the other parties and blocked the Verkhovna Rada for several weeks. After the blockade was lifted the party managed to turn the tables and became the senior party in a broad governing coalition.

However, the political crisis of early 2007 caused the breakdown of the broad governing coalition and new elections were held on 30 September 2007. The Party of Regions managed to stay the biggest party in parliament. It, however, did not have an obvious majority-coalition partner. For this reason, the Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence Bloc and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc formed a majority coalition. After Yanukovych won the presidential elections in 2010 and the parliament ousted Prime Minister Tymoshenko 's ruling coalition, Yanukovych formed a new majority coalition centred around his party. After the parliamentary elections of 2012, the party remained the biggest in parliament with 209 seats (including faction changes after the elections). The Party of Regions campaigned especially on issues like the status of the Russian language (calling for Russian as additional official state language) and socio-economic development (promising more jobs, a focus on industry and economic growth). The powerbase of the party lies fully in the eastern part of Ukraine.

After the Maidan revolution and the ousting of President Yanukovich the party didn’t participate in the 2014 parliamentary elections; its core members were concentrated in the Opposition Bloc party.

Parliamentary leader: Oleksandr Yefremov
http://www.partyofregions.org.ua/eng/


Batkyvschina (All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" (incl. United Opposition)

As the core party of the former Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT), Batkyvschina has been in parliament since the 2002 parliamentary elections. After the November 2011 banning of the participation of blocs of political parties in parliamentary elections, the party became a major force in Ukrainian politics independently. In the 2012 parliamentary elections the party also added "United Opposition" to its name, aligning several other parties under its colours.

The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) was named after its leader and founder of the Fatherland Party (1999) Yulia Tymoshenko. After she was forced to step down in 2001, the Fatherland Party began to oppose presidential policies and Tymoshenko led the united opposition in 2001, creating the National Salvation Forum. The main goal of the forum was to form an electoral bloc aiming to oust President Kuchma. In November 2001 the bloc was renamed Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc. It consisted of the Fatherland Party, Sobor Party, Social Democratic Party, Republican Party, Conservative Republican Party, Christian Democratic Party, and Patriotic Party. The bloc gained 7.2 % in the 2002 elections. BYuT cooperated with Our Ukraine in the 2004 presidential elections, supporting Viktor Yushchenko’s candidacy. Once Yushchenko was appointed president after the Orange Revolution, Tymoshenko became prime minister. However, the cooperation faltered and finally resulted in Yushchenko sacking Tymoshenko on accusations of corruption. BYuT then ran independently in the 2006 parliamentary elections and became the second largest party, beating Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine. However, it went into opposition.

In the 2007 parliamentary elections, BYuT managed to stay the second biggest party in parliament, almost closing the gap with the Party of Regions. Shortly after the elections, it was announced that BYuT and the Our Ukraine – People’s Self Defense Bloc formed a coalition. Yulia Tymoshenko became the new prime minister. After Yanukovych won the presidential elections in 2010 and the parliament ousted Tymoshenko 's coalition in a no-confidence vote, Tymoshenko went into the opposition again. In order to obtain a majority in parliament, Yanukovych needed the support of several extra MPs. Eventually, some BYuT MPs joined his coalition.

Tymoshenko is currently in jail, after being found guilty of abuse of power and being sentenced to 7 years in prison. She also had other lawsuits running against her as well, connected to her time as prime minister.

After participation of blocs of political parties in parliamentary elections was banned in 2011, Batkyvschina became the umbrella party with its election list including members of Reforms and Order Party, People's Movement of Ukraine, Front of Changes, For Ukraine, People's Self-Defense, Civil Position and Social Christian Party. In July 2012 members of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People joined this list. This list named themselves United Opposition “Fatherland”. Because of the imprisonment of Tymoshenko at the time, Front for Change leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk headed the election list and is still the party's leader in parliament. The party remained the second largest in parliament after the 2012 elections (101 seats or 22.67 %).

Tymoshenko was released from prison during the Maidan revolution of 2014, as Yanukovich was ousted, but hasn’t managed to regain the prominent role that she had in Ukrainian politics. She has been allied with the European People’s Party (EPP).

Party leader: Yulia Tymoshenko
http://www.tymoshenko.com.ua


UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform)

The “Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform of Vitali Klitschko” is a political party headed by Ukrainian professional heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko. In its current form the party was founded on April 24, 2010, on the basis of the Vitali Klitschko Bloc, a local political alliance in Kiev. The party has an anti-corruption and pro-European platform.

During the 2010 Ukrainian local elections the party gained about 400 representatives in municipalities and Oblast Councils (regional parliaments). The party’s election list was a mixture of candidates who used to represent parties from all over the political spectrum of Ukraine.

In July 2012 party leader Klitschko stated that his party will not cooperate with the Party of Regions in the new parliament. In the 2012 parliamentary election UDAR won 13.97 % of the national votes and 6 constituencies and thus 40 parliamentary seats. During the Maidan revolution, Klitchko was one of the political leaders representing the Maidan at talks with Yanukovich and the European leaders.

Party leader: Vitali Klychko


 

 

All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda"

The All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” (“Freedom”) was formed in February 2004 with the arrival of Oleh Tyahnybok as party leader. The party is the successor of the Social-National Party. Svoboda is a Ukrainian nationalist party that often voices opposition to perceived Russian influences in Ukraine. The party is known for its anti-Communist stance, and several party activists over the years have been accused of trying to destroy Communist-era statues. The party views the dominating role of Ukraine's oligarchy as "devastating". While oligarchs have typically played a major role in the funding of other Ukrainian parties, Svoboda claims to receive no financial support from oligarchs, but rather from Ukraine's small and medium-sized businesses.

The party has been accused of racism and anti-Semitism, which it denies. Party leader Tyahnybok stated in November 2012 that “Svoboda is neither an anti-Semitic nor a xenophobic party nor an anti-Russian party. Svoboda is also not an anti-European party. Svoboda is simply and only a pro-Ukrainian party”. This “pro-Ukrainian” element can be seen in Svoboda's political program; the party wants to ban adoptions by non-Ukrainians of Ukrainian children, wants to abolish Crimean autonomy and is in favor of criminal prosecution for “Ukrainophobia”.

Svoboda went up from a marginal regional party to a power represented in the parliament within only a few years. Its national success was preceded by a local success, which analysts explain as a result of the policies of the Azarov government, who were seen as too pro-Russian by the electorate.

In the 2012 parliamentary elections the party’s results where much higher than expected, with 10,44 % (almost a fourteenfold of its votes compared with the 2007 parliamentary elections) of votes and 38 out of 450 seats in the Ukrainian parliament.  In the 2014 elections the party only had 4.71%, or 6 seats.

Party leader: Oleh Tyahnybok


Communist Party of Ukraine

The Communist Party is the successor of the Soviet Communist Party. Its main supporters are elderly and pensioners. Between 1991 and 1993 the party was temporarily forbidden. With the country’s economy in decline, it grew in popularity and re-emerged during the 1994 parliamentary elections. The CPU received a lot of protest votes, however analysts predicted a decline because of aging of their electorate and the outdating of their Soviet nostalgia. In the 2002 elections they were cut by half winning just 65 of the 450 seats in parliament. After the 2006 elections, it had only 21 seats, but in the 2007 elections, the party regained some seats, winning a total of 27 seats in the Rada. In 2010, the Communists joined the governing coalition of President Yanukovych, after signing an agreement with the Party of Regions and the Lytvyn Bloc.

The communists are loosening their Soviet style arguments and argue for respect for private business, freedom of religion, a multi-party system and foreign investments. According to their leader Petro Symonenko state policy should be based on balancing real incomes and expenditures, with the surplus spent on services like education and healthcare. They are against Ukrainian NATO membership.

Party leader: Petro M. Symonenko
http://www.kpu.kiev.ua/Main/index.htm


 

Our Ukraine - People's Self Defense Bloc
The Our Ukraine Bloc was officially formed in February 2002 and united ten nationalist and centre-right parties that emerged during the time Ukraine gained independence. The gathered parties historically all had an anti-communist rhetoric and their goals broadly were to keep distance from Russia and strengthen Ukraine’s statehood. The bloc’s priorities are a significant increase in the wellbeing of the majority of Ukraine’s citizens; a strong economy and effective social protection; a just society and the establishment of a moral and honest government. The bloc supports the integration of Ukraine into the EU and NATO.

In 2004 the Our Ukraine bloc and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc united forces in the presidential elections, both backing Yushchenko’s candidacy in the Orange Revolution. On 26 December 2004 Our Ukraine’s leader Viktor Yushchenko, was elected as president. On 5 March 2005, parts of the Our Ukraine Bloc consolidated into a new party, the Our Ukraine People's Union. For the 2007 parliamentary elections, the Bloc changed its name into Our Ukraine – People’s Self Defence Bloc, merging with the People’s Self Defence Party.

After Yanukovych won the presidential elections in 2010 and the parliament ousted Tymoshenko's ruling coalition, several MPs of the Tymoshenko bloc decided to join the new governing coalition of Yanukovych. Then outgoing President Yushchenko only obtained 5.45% of the votes in the first round, not even coming close to the second round of the presidential elections. In the 2012 parliamentary elections, the party didn’t manage to pass the 5 % threshold. In the 2014 elections…

Viktor Yushchenko remains the leader of the party. The party tries to transform its image from right wing nationalist to liberal. Our Ukraine has an observer status at the European People’s Party.

Party leader: Viktor Yushchenko
http://www.razom.org.ua/


Back to top

BIOGRAPHIES

petro_poroshenko.jpgPetro Poroshenko
President of Ukraine since 25 May 2014

Petro Poroshenko was born on 26 September 1965. He is a Ukrainian billionaire businessman, and got elected as the fifth and current President of Ukraine. Poroshenko served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2009 to 2010, and as the Minister of Trade and Economic Development in 2012. From 2007 until 2012, he headed the Council of Ukraine's National Bank.

Outside politics, Poroshenko owns, along with a number of other companies, a large-scale confectionery business, which has earned him the nickname of 'Chocolate King'. He was elected president on 25 May 2014, capturing more than 54% of the vote in the first round, thereby winning outright and avoiding a runoff. During the parliamentary elections on 26 October 2014 his bloc became the largest party in Parliament.

Poroshenko is married to Maryna Perevedentseva since 1984. The couple has four children.


arseniy_yatsenyuk_small.jpgArseniy Yatsenyuk
Prime Minister since 26 February 2014


Arseniy Yatsenyuk was born on 22 May 1974. He is a Ukrainian politician, economist and lawyer, and is now the 15th Prime Minister of Ukraine. Yatsenyuk became PM after Viktor Yanukovych was removed from power during the Maidan protests in 2014. He served as Minister of Economy from 2005 to 2006, as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2007, and as Chairman of the Verkohovna Rada (Parliament) from 2007 to 2008. Yatsenyuk was one of the leaders of Batkivishina (All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland”). In September 2014 however, he started the new People’s Front Party. This party won 82 seats in the 2014 parliamentary elections.

In 2007, Yatsenyuk also established, together with Zbigniev Drzymala, the Open Ukraine Foundation. This foundation is a nonpartisan international philanthropic foundation to support public diplomacy and to raise the profile of Ukraine internationally. Open Ukraine works with the young generation of artists, scholars and community leaders who seek to implement social changes in the different regions.

Yatsenyuk is married to Tereza Viktorivna and they have two daughters: Khrystyna and Sofiya.


 

timoshenko.jpgYulia Timoshenko

Leader of Batkyvschina ) All-Ukrainian Union ´´Fatherland´´ (incl. United Opposition)

Yulia Timoshenko was born in 1960 in Dnepropetrovsk. In 1984 she graduated from the Dnepropetrovsk State University, faculty of Economics. After graduation she worked as an engineer-economist in a machine-building plant in Dnepropetrovsk.

After that she went into private business and together with her husband headed several commercial enterprises, including oil and gas trade. The latter grew into a multi-million enterprise and was in trouble with the tax authorities by 1996. Timoshenko claimed the authorities were harassing her because of political reasons.

In 1997 Timoshenko became first deputy to the leader of the All-National Movement Hramada, Pavel Lazarenko and entered parliament for the first time in 1998. Both harshly criticised the Kuchma Presidency. In November 1998, however, she unexpectedly called for a dialogue with Kuchma, and left Lazrenko motivating this by his authoritarian rule of Hramada. She then created her own political force, Batkivishina.

In 2001 Timoshenko, while president of United Energy Systems of Ukraine, was removed from her position and arrested under charges of forging customs documents and smuggling gas between 1995 and 1997. After her release she called on Yushchenko to head the opposition movement.

In 2004 Bloc Yulia Timoshenko and Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine announced the creation of the Force coalition to support Yushchenko’s candidacy in the 2004 presidential elections. As a result of repeat elections after mass demonstrations (dubbed ‘Orange Revolution’) Yushchenko became president and Timoshenko PM. The relationship between Yushchenko and Timoshenko was bad, and deteriorated even further over years among squabbles and power struggles. She was PM on and off. She ran for president in the 2010 election as the main rival to Victor Yanukovych, losing the Presidency by 3% of the votes.

Timoshenko was released from jail following the Maidan revolution, after being found guilty of abuse of power and being sentenced to 7 years in prison.

Yulia Timoshenko is married and has a daughter.


viktor_yuschenko2.jpgViktor Yuschenko

Leader Our Ukraine- People´s Self Defense Bloc

Viktor Yushchenko was born on February 23, 1954. He was one of the two main candidates in the 2004 presidential elections in Ukraine. He won the elections and became president from 23 January 2005 till 25 February 2010. Before he became president, Yushchenko held the post of governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, and the post of Prime Minister from 1999 till 2001.

Viktor Yushchenko is married to Kateryna Chumachenko, a former American citizen who attended universities in America. She has worked for the bureau for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the U.S. Department, and the Reagan White House.


tyahnibok.jpgOleh Tyahnybok
Leader of The All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda”


Oleh Tyahnybok was born on 7 November 1968. He is a Ukrainian politician and leader of Svoboda. He is also a qualified surgeon. In 1998 he was first elected to Parliament, as a member of the Social-National Party. Four years later, he was reelected, but as a member of Victor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc. Just two years after this, he was expelled for mentioning Ukrainian Insurgent Army as an example of those who armed up against "Russians, Germans, Jews and other enemies who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state", in a speech.

Since February 2004 Tyahnybok has headed Svoboda. In April 2005, he co-signed an open letter to President Yushchenko calling for a parliamentary investigation into the "criminal activities of organized Jewry in Ukraine."

In the 2012 Parliamentary elections Svoboda won 37 seats in Parliament. However, in the 2014 elections the party did not reach the 5% threshold in the party list voting. Nevertheless, they managed to win 6 seats through the constituencies. But it still means a big loss for the party.

Back to top

Flag of Ukraine Ukraine

Last update: 25 March 2015
Author: -

Population: 44,291,413 (July 2014 est.)
Prime Minister: Prime Minister Arseniy YATSENYUK (since 26 February 2014)
President: President Petro POROSHENKO (since 25 May 2014)
Governmental type: Republic
Ruling Coalition: Five-party including the Petro Poroshenko bloc, the Popular Front, Samopomich (Self-Rule), the Radical Party, and the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland)
Last Elections: Parliamentary elections, 26 October 2014
Next Election: Local elections 2015, Presidential elections, Spring 2019
Sister Parties: Social Democratic Party of Ukraine, SDPU (consultative)

Download Ukraine Update
Map of Ukraine

E-mail Alert E-mail Alert

Want to get notified by mail when Ukraine gets updated? Leave your emailaddress here:

Sources Sources

BBC
Central Election Commission
Central Europe Review
Chernobyl.info
Committee to protect Journalists
Economist
Election World.org
EU External Relations
EU Institute for Security Studies
Freedom House – Nations in Transit 2005
Glavred info
Government Portal

Guardian
International Herald Tribune
Liga
Kmu
Korrespondent
Kyiv Post
Mirror Weekly
NATO – Ukraine
OSCE/ ODIHR Election Reports
Rada portal
Reuters
RFE/RL
Rian
The Guardian
The Telegraph
Transitions Online
Ukrainian Government Portal
UA Monitor
Ukraine info
Ukrainian Monitor
Ukrainian Weekly
Ukrayinska Pravda
Unian News from Ukraine
US Department of State

Special thanks to
Oleh Kyriyenko
International Secretary of the SPU, Vitaly Shybko

close X

Send this page to a contact


E-mail address recipient

Your e-mail address

Your name

Message