As the election campaign draws to a close, Ukraine’s competing political parties are well aware that the world is watching. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton wrote a commentary on Ukraine that was published in the New York Times on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian Minister for Social Affairs Sergiy Tigipko, who belongs to President Yanukovich’s Party of Regions, stressed the importance of the EU relationship.
“Provided the elections are recognised as democratic, this will further encourage Ukraine’s negotiation process with the European Union and with European financial organisations. Although these organisation are outside of politics, their leaders follow it as they all represent EU countries.”
The opposition has been weakened by the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Her BYUT party, which has teamed up with five other groups to form the United Opposition, plans to tie up with the far right Svoboda party after the election.
United Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk said although the alliance has shocked many, there is some common ground.
“Svoboda is one party and our block is another. We have ideological differences, however there are 10 points on which we agree and will vote on after the election, starting with laws on the accountability of the President and MPs.”
If the Party of Regions wins the election it may need to rely on the support of the Communists to reach a constitutional majority. The Ukrainian Communist Party has provided support in the past, but says it is by-no-means guaranteed.
“We vote irrespective of who introduces draft laws. If they are of benefit to our Ukrainian citizens then we will vote in support. But if a proposal is to their detriment we will never vote for it, regardless of who introduced it.”
In Ukraine, no polls are published in the final days of an election campaign. The last ratings, published on just over a week ago, gave the Party of Regions a strong lead.