The ISCIP Analyst
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Send us a note to subscribe to Perspective.POST-ELECTION UKRAINE: WHAT NEXT?
By TAMMY M. LYNCH
Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy
Sifting through the results of the recent Ukrainian parliamentary elections, it becomes abundantly clear that the era of government based solely on the will of the president is over. What will develop in its place is far from certain, but President Leonid Kuchma undoubtedly understands that the political atmosphere in Ukraine shifted on 31 March. For the first time since its independence, the country has laid the foundation for an independently minded, pluralistic parliament, and -- perhaps alone among post-Soviet states -- an authentic, capable opposition.
Obviously, this was a development that President Kuchma, accustomed to bending parliament to his wishes, was trying to avoid. Throughout the campaign, he and his allies used every possible administrative resource to maintain their hold over the chamber. But despite controlling major television stations and newspaper outlets, despite using state workers, collective farm officials, students and soldiers to campaign for them, and despite attempts to limit the number of persons voting in reformist regions, they failed. When the new parliament convenes in early May, a significant portion of the body will be at best reformist, and at worst vigorously anti-Kuchma.