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Friday, December 17, 2004


New PORA newsletter

Issue #13, 14 December 2004

Pre-election Developments
The re-run of the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine is scheduled for December 26. The contenders in the run-off remain the same: opposition leader and candidate Viktor Yushchenko and current Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

On December 9, amendments to the Electoral Code were adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament. These changes are aimed at preventing the forms of electoral fraud that rigged the second round of the presidential elections, and at holding a more efficient re-run on December 26; see the amended version of the electoral law at http://www.obkom.net.ua/articles/2004-12/09.1156.shtml.

Issues of Recent Social Interest
Together with amendments to the electoral law, a constitutional reform package was passed by the Ukrainian Parliament. Among others, changes pertain to the competencies of the President and of Parliament. The decision on constitutional changes was reached by the pro-governmental majority and deputies of the “Nasha Ukraina” opposition group as a compromise with current President Leonid Kuchma. The constitutional changes will enter into force in September 2005; see more details at http://news.org.ua/reports/?id_numb=1567

Despite the no-confidence vote passed by the Ukrainian parliament on December 3, President Leonid Kuchma has so far refused to sign the motion to resign Prime Minister Yanukovych arguing that it was unconstitutional; see http://www.jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=401&issue_id=3163&article_id=2368956

In recent days, presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych has markedly changed his political rhetoric, starting to criticize especially President Leonid Kuchma, his former supporter. In a campaign speech on December 6, he sought to distance himself from Kuchma in an apparent effort to shed an image as a presidential puppet and broaden his support base; see more details at http://www.kyivpost.com/top/22006/ and http://www2.pravda.com.ua/archive/2004/december/13/news/21.shtml

The shifts and his newly adopted opposition stance reflect, according to Volodymyr Lytvyn, the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, pre-election manoeuvers Viktor Yanukovych; see http://www.korrespondent.net/main/109175/
On December 9, President Kuchma accepted the resignation of Prosecutor General Hennady Vasyliev; see http://news.org.ua/news/?eid=2962
On December 11, Michael Zimpfer, head of the Austrian Rudolfinerhaus clinic confirmed that Viktor Yushchenko had been poisoned by dioxides; see http://www2.pravda.com.ua/archive/2004/december/11/news/13.shtml and http://www.razom.org.ua/en/news/4935/
On December 12, the Sunday Times quoted opposition MP Yuriy Pavlenko blaming the Russian National Security Service FSB to be responsible for the Yushchenko poisoning; see http://www.korrespondent.net/main/109111/ and http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1400053,00.html

On December 13, Ukraine's Parliament decided to reopen its inquiry into opposition leader Yushchenko's illness after doctors in Austria said he had been poisoned; see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4092689.stm

On December 13, the civic campaign PORA announced to move its tent camp on Maidan Nezalezhnosti from the street to the pedestrianized part of the square. The decision responsed to a request by mayor Omelchenko to release the traffic situation in central Kyiv. http://www2.pravda.com.ua/archive/2004/december/13/news/33.shtml and http://pora.org.ua/en/content/view/717/2/

Images from the tent camp at Maidan Nezalezhnosti can be found at www.nepokora.com.ua and http://www.brama.com/news/press/slideshow/2004/041128vl_kyivmaidan/. Picture galleries of the orange revolution are displayed at http://www.razom.org.ua/album/164/, http://www.vybir.yarema.info/ and http://www.ukraine-online.org/gallery.php. An article on the “Maidan’s soul” can be found at http://www.mirror-weekly.com/ie/show/525/48663/

On 10 December, an attempt of PORA activists to carry out an action called “It’s time to love” and to set up tents in Yanukovych’s home city of Donetsk was met with aggression; see more details at http://pora.org.ua/en/content/view/709/2/

See recent news on Ukraine at http://www.rferl.org/newsline/3-cee.asp

Reactions from the International Community
International observers expressed their concern about the confirmation by Viennese physicians that Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned "It's also clear that if there has been a case of deliberate poisoning, then those who are responsible must be brought to justice" said stated Emma Udwin, external affairs spokeswoman for the EU Commission; see more details at http://www2.pravda.com.ua/archive/2004/december/13/news/17.shtml and http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200412/s1264421.htm

The United States was "deeply concerned about these findings, a state department spokeswoman said and urged Ukrainian authorities to investigate; see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4088345.stm and http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20041211/pl_afp/ukrainevoteyushchenko_041211180055

On December 13, Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe visited Ukraine. The visit included meetings parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and other officials. Mr. Davis congratulated Ukraine on the steps made towards overcomin the political crisis and returning Ukraine to democratic development. “I hope there will be less violations during the repeat election on December 26,” Mr. Davis said; http://press.coe.int/cp/2004/632a(2004).htm, http://www.unian.net/index.php?url=novina&id=9811 and http://www2.pravda.com.ua/archive/2004/december/13/news/26.shtml

On December 10, the meeting of the Bureau of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg welcomed the efforts of the Verkhovna Rada and the President of Ukraine in the adoption of constitutional reform; see http://eng.imi.org.ua/?id=read&n=1664&yy=2004

At a December 7 hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee, gross irregularities in the November 21 elections in Ukraine were outlined. Key speaker Senator Lugar was nevertheless hopeful that election reforms will be implemented. However, Lugar stressed that Washington needs to provide money and additional monitors to prevent the elections from being rigged; see http://www.brama.com/news/press/2004/12/041208hfrc_ukrainehearing.html

Efforts are underway in the international community to ensure a sufficient number of election observers to monitor the re-run of the presidential election on December 26.

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress issued a call for election observers; see http://ucca.org/events/obap.htm

On December 5, announced to send 30 observers to the OSCE/ODIHR election observer mission," according to Laila Freivalds, Minister for Foreign Affairs; see http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/4850/a/35007

On December 6, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, OSCE Chairman-in-Office, called for an active role of his organization in helping Ukraine with the re-run of its presidential elections. Passy welcomed financial pledges to support the election observation process made by a number of OSCE countries; see http://www.osce.org/news/show_news.php?id=4581

On December 8, the U.S. State Department said to dispatch 100 election observers. Vote, who will form part of a 960-strong mission being sent by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; see http://www.asianewsnet.net/level3_template1.php?l3sec=10&news_id=32784

On December 9, the German Foreign Office announced to send 110 election observers to be part of the OSCE Election Observation Mission; see http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/www/en/ausgabe_archiv?archiv_id=6584

Ukrainian organizations have also urged the international community, as well as foreign individuals, to come to serve as international poll monitors; see http://eng.imi.org.ua/?id=read&n=125&cy=2004&m=thm

On December 14, the Central Election Commission registered 395 official foreign observers for the December 26 poll. In total, 5,155 official foreign observers are expected; see http://hotline.net.ua/eng/content/view/2853/37/

Recent Activities of PORA
On December 8, the civic campaing PORA issued a statement urging for constitutional reform after a change in the elected authorities; see more details at http://pora.org.ua/en/content/view/699/2/ and
We hope that you find this newsletter interesting. With any questions, comments and suggestions, please contact us at anastasia@pora.org.ua Latest news about the PORA campaign can be found at www.pora.org.ua

Anastasia Bezverkha, Representative of the informational-educational PORA campaign


The civic campaign PORA initiated a project aimed at closer peer-to-peer communication between Ukrainians in different regions of the country. This “Bridge of Friendship Kyiv-Donetsk” encourages people from East and West to contact each other, exchange impressions and share opinions; see www.nesam.net.ua (“Not alone”).

On 11 December, the civic campaign PORA launched an All-Ukrainian action of collecting presents for inmates of Ukrainian orphanages on the occasion of St. Nikolas Day; see http://pora.org.ua/en/content/view/714/2/

On December 14, the Center of Spiritual Renaissance, jointly with the civic campign PORA, launched car convoi to Eastern Ukraine. More than 70 private drivers will travel across the Poltavska, Kharkivska, Donetska, Luhanska, Zaporizka oblast and the Crimea for 10 days, displaying pictures from the orange revolution in Kyiv and organizing concerts; see http://www.imi.org.ua/?read=6610:1 and http://www.razom.org.ua/en/news/4940/.
News of car convoi is avalable at http://www.avtoprobig.domivka.net/

Results of continued media monitoring of the coverage of the election campaing can be found with the Ukrainian Monitor at http://prostir-monitor.org/index.php?language=eng

We hope that you find this newsletter interesting. With any questions, comments and suggestions, please contact us at anastasia@pora.org.ua Latest news about the PORA campaign can be found at www.pora.org.ua

Anastasia Bezverkha, Representative of the informational-educational PORA campaign

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