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4 April, 2013 08:00   ▪  

Sociologist Iryna Bekeshkina: a referendum will mean the end to democracy in Ukraine

A referendum to change the system of parliamentary election from mixed to first-past-the-post will put an end to democracy in Ukraine, claims Iryna Bekeshkina, President of the Democratic Initiatives foundation in her comment for The Ukrainian Week.

“This will be the end of democracy in Ukraine because the referendum law was drafted so that only those in power are entitled to hold, control or count the plebiscite results,” she says. Bekeshkina assumes that the government will use this referendum “to adjust the election law to make Yanukovych stay forever, to gain absolute majority in the Verkhovna Rada and amend the Constitution the way Yanukovych sees fit”.

Still, she believes that most Ukrainians will ignore the referendum, if initiated. “They (Ukrainians – Ed.) are not interested in the parliamentary election system. Instead, they are most interested in what concerns everyday life, such as the pension reform,” she notes.

READ ALSO: Beware the Referendum in the Hands of a Tyrant

Meanwhile, the Party of Regions has been talking about a possibility of a referendum to dissolve the current parliament and hold the parliamentary election under the first-past-the-post system. Oleksandr Yefremov, Head of the Party of Regions’ faction in parliament, spoke in favour of the idea of parliament dissolution and first-past-the-post election based on a referendum, but said that it was his personal opinion on March 2. “If the opposition does not want to work, people will speak their word at the referendum, parliament should be reduced, we should switch to the first-past-the-post system and work with those who want to work in parliament,” noted Hanna Herman, Party of Regions’ MP. “There will be no Arab Spring in Ukraine, and there will be no Arab Autumn… The government will not allow destabilization in Ukraine,” she added.

According to Svoboda’s Oleh Tyahnybok, the Party of Regions intends to hold the national referendum in August. Opposition factions will demand that the Referendum Law is cancelled through the European Court of Human Rights.

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