Friday, November 7, 2014

Is Ukraine Slipping Into Illiberal Democracy? | The Nation

The latest parliamentary elections in Ukraine have been characterized in the West as a victory for pro-European forces.

But the terms “pro-European” and “anti-European” no longer serve as useful reference points in Ukrainian politics. In these elections, after all, not one of the twenty-nine parties that stood for election was officially opposed to EU entry.

The real issue in this election was war or peace.

President Petro Poroshenko called for snap elections just before going to Minsk to meet with Vladimir Putin on August 27 to request a cease-fire. Subsequent negotiations led to the signing of two documents, on September 5 and September 19 outlining terms for the ceasefire and for a future political settlement in Eastern Ukraine. The terms of the Minsk accords, however, split his government. The prime minister, minister of interior and speaker of parliament even set up their own political party—the Popular Front—which won the elections.

This election was thus, first and foremost, a referendum on Poroshenko’s decision to halt the military campaign and grant de facto autonomy to the rebel controlled regions.

The results must be disappointing to the supporters of peace. The parties that opposed the Minsk accords (Popular Front, Fatherland, and the Radical Party) got more than 35 percent of the party list vote, while the Poroshenko Bloc, which at the outset of the campaign was projected to get nearly 40 percent of the vote, actually got fewer than 22 percent. The only other party in the Rada to endorse the peace plan, the Opposition Bloc, barely got 10 percent of the vote.

Complete story at - Is Ukraine Slipping Into Illiberal Democracy? | The Nation

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