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10 April, 2013 12:00   ▪  

Reuters: turmoil in parliament further undermines Ukraine's hope of being taken seriously by Europe

“Despite winning rare praise from the West for freeing an opponent from jail, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is likely to resist extra pressure and the lure of trade deals to release his fiercest rival, ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko,” writes Reuters.

“I would not open a bottle of champagne yet for Ukraine and its future (after Lutsenko's release). There are plenty of doubts as to whether Ukraine will be able to implement other commitments,” commented Olga Shumylo-Tapiola, visiting scholar of Carnegie Europe in Brussels.

“I would say that the prospects of signing the agreements are still bleak,” she said.

READ ALSO: Pawel Swieboda: “If Ukraine fails to sign the Association Agreement with the EU, it will have a hard time returning to negotiations”

“The problem, as Western analysts see it, is that when it comes to deciding policy priorities, Yanukovych's overriding ambition to secure re-election in 2015 takes precedence...

Politically, Yanukovych is not as strong as he was. Support for his Party of the Regions dipped in a parliamentary election last October, and a March poll shows his popularity has fallen by more than a percentage point against new potential presidential challengers such as world heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko. But despite drawing crowds of several thousands out in street rallies, the united opposition led by Klitschko, former economy minister Arseny Yatseniuk and far-right nationalist Oleh Tyahnybok, has largely failed to capitalize on Yanukovych's unpopularity, analysts say,” notes Reuters.

“Turmoil in parliament, often an arena for fist-fights between Yanukovych loyalists and opposition deputies, further undermines Ukraine's hope of being taken seriously by Europe's parliamentary democracies.

Graft and rampant corruption throughout the former Soviet republic scare off all but the hardiest foreign investors, and the EU itself has refused to provide financial aid to Ukraine's budget since 2011, citing weak procurement rules,” adds Reuters. 

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