Saturday, October 27, 2012

Head down; Mouth shut

Today was housecleaning day.  Tomorrow is election day.  We are kind of hoping Ukraine cleans house too but of course it isn't going to happen.  Yanukovych's Party of the Regions is going to win and people know it.  Not that they have anyone else to blame.  They voted him in last presidential election and enough of his party last general election to form a government, knowing (or they ought to have known) what was in store for them.

It was bad enough when they had proportional representation. Ninety odd political parties, many of them fictional, produced little clusters of deputies who sold out to the highest bidder.  Party of the Regions won the most seats and so drew the most of the small blocks.  This time, they have gone back to 50-50  proportional and first past the post. First past the post favours the Regionnaires  as there will be dozens of candidates, again many of them fictional, to split the votes of the opposition.

Polls have been banned for the past several weeks.  When 87% of the populace say they hate your guts two days before the election and you end up with 53.7% of the vote, it is a bit embarrassing, so no polls please.

The Orange Revolution in 2004 was the only time in the past several hundred years that Ukrainians "beat city hall".  And it got them the square root of Sweet Fanny Adams.  A president with no balls and a prime minister with big brass ones.  The folks who helped bring them to power wanted their payback and turned out to be just as incompetent and corrupt as the crowd they threw out.  So in a fit of pique, Ukraine voted in the bad guy next go round.

Yulia is in the slammer, sitting this one out, which may not be a bad thing.  She is better looking than Yanukovych, 1000 times more clever, and just as corrupt.  If she and her cronies were in power, how would things be different today for the Ukrainian in the street?  Other than Russian would not be the unofficial official language, maybe not much.  Just a different set of folks would have enriched themselves. My opinion.

So folks here are pretty discouraged and resigned, which is too bad.  The Economist reckons that the defeatism may not only let the Regionnaires win the election but get a Constitution changing majority. won't that be fun.  World Affairs has also written off this election to the Regionnaires but speculates about when Yanukovych himself will get the boot from his own party and supporters who may also tire of his incompetence.

In the meantime, Ukrainians will revert to form.  Head down, mouth shut and try not to be noticed while working to survive.  They, as a people, survived the Poles, the Turks, the Austrians, the Tsar, the Communists and the Germans (though a great many of them didn't survive those two inflictions) and now independence and a "market economy".  They will still be here when Yanukovych is gone.

10 comments:

  1. yes, that is exactly the sentiments I heard expressed from friends in Ukraine whom I have asked about the election tomorrow. but interestingly, all said they were going to vote. Perhaps over time . . . . just keep your head down until then!!

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    1. It could be interesting. Western Ukraine will be SOLIDLY non-Party of the Regions; Eastern solidly pro. Central - we'll have to wait and see.

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  2. Oh dear. Quite a depressing summary, but no doubt accurate. Puts our own complaints about political cronyism in Australian politics into perspective. If you believe, as I do, that humans are basically good (or at least, not inherently evil), I guess you have to add the caveat: 'until they enter politics'.

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  3. Stalin said, "It doesn't matter who votes. What matters is who counts the votes." Is that the case there.

    With the electronic voting machines with no paper trail, that's one thing I worry about here in the areas that use them. Where I live they use a paper ballot and a machine to scan the ballot when you are done voting. That too could probably be hacked, but not as likely as the touch-screen machines.

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    1. Char, I do not know if people are inherently good or evil or both. Politics attracts certain people.

      Kulkuri, it is both counting and carousel voting and ballot box stuffing, along with public funds used by the ruling party to advertise, plus total control of media, courts, police etc. There are I read somewhere just now about 3500 foreign observers here, plus video cameras so we will see. Apathy may be a problem as people do not believe anything will change no matter who gets in. I dragged Tanya to vote and she was more motivated than many.

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    2. Five hundred of those 3500 foreign observers were sent from Canada.

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  4. As Chartreuse says this puts any comments we may have about politics (in this case, Canadian) in perspective.

    On another note-from a previous blog of yours. I was surprised you had only been 5km to one side of the local village. Did I understand that correctly? It seems like a pretty small radius for a prairie boy who likely put on thousands of miles in his neighbourhood growing up. What's up with that?

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    1. No good reason to drive that direction. I get into enough trouble exploring as it is. If I had a high clearance 4x4 (or a tractor or a horse)it would be different.

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  5. I am sick of the run up to the elections - I wish they were over. This drags out too long here and too much money is thrown at advertising etc. The US process of an Electoral College sux - It should be just simplified: one person one vote...and then you count.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. With your constitution you are in constant election mode. It is crazy. Every two years on set dates. And the electoral college makes no sense. It is similar to the soviet system where you vote for this group and they vote for the next and they vote for the next.

      With the British parliamentary system, elections are called "at least every five years" and electioneering is held to the number of days from when the election is called, with a minimum number of days depending on whether it is provincial or federal (which are held independently of each other).

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