Ukrainian Parliament dissolves itself
“Until some drastic changes happen we won’t leave”, Viktor Stanislavych, a member of the People’s Party of Ukraine, explains to me in Maidan. Their Mongolian yurt in the centre of the square will remain in the same spot it has been since the beginning of the revolution until “elections are called and a new Parliament is formed.”
Indeed, he is not the only person that points out that not all demands made by activists during the revolution have been met yet. Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by his own Parliament, the so-called Verkhovna Rada. With him, his whole cabinet was forced to step down to be substituted by Petro Poroshenko’s line-up. But for Maidaners, Yanukovich only signified the tip of the iceberg of corruption. In Ukraine — unlike in many other European countries — the President and the Parliament are elected separately. And the latter was the second target of Ukrainian activists.
Today, the coalition Parliament has dissolved itself for President Poroshenko to organise early parliamentary elections on the 26th October 2014 instead of in 2017 as expected. With it, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has also resigned. How will the 450 seats of Verkhovna Rada be distributed? The latest polls locate the chocolate King’s party, All-Ukrainian Union Solidarity, as the winner of over a fourth of the seats. Yulia Timochenko’s Batkivshchyna follows with 16,6%, which would result in about 75 seats. The elections might see the expansion of the Radical Party, which could go from 1 (currently occupied by Oleh Lyashko, who is famously taking the law in his own hands in Eastern Ukraine “hunting for separatists” as reported by Vice News’ Simon Ostrovsky) to 70 members in Parliament. Svoboda, having conquered 10% of the seats in 2012, would be relegated to under 5% — possibly because of the degrading political image they hold in Ukraine.
The Right Sector’s bare support is worth mentioning too. Created just after the commencement of Maidan, many Ukrainians seem to attribute to them the victory against Yanukovych and the positive advancement of their troops in the East. On the contrary, many also expressed their concerns with a party that has been coined as ultranationalist by almost all international media outlets. It seems to me that the party itself has exalted its participation in Maidan and the Eastern war to an exaggerated point attempting to create a larger group of followers.
Also, the announced death of the Communist Party has been confirmed today by Verkhovna Rada chairman Turchynov. Having had 32 seats since 2012, it has been illegalised for accusations of supporting pro-Russians in the Eastern war, as well as longing for a return to Soviet like times. 308 criminal files have been opened against them for supporting the annexation of Crimea amongst others. True or false, Poroshenko has got rid of one of the voices in Parliament that would signify a loud opposition to his shift towards the West.
Nevertheless, militias don’t regard the fight against a government bleached in corruption, the loss of Crimea or other reminiscences of Maidan as the priorities to be tackled. As I am reminded by Viktor Stanislavych, “we have a war now”.
Text by Marta García Aliaga
Picture by Rowan Farrell