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4 June, 2013 16:00   ▪  

Expert: The government is very serious about preparations for 2015. It won’t accept someone flexible as head of the Central Election Committee

On June 3, Viktor Yanukovych submitted a proposal to dismiss Head of the Central Election Committee (CEC), Volodymyr Shapoval, early after he reached the retirement age of 65. The President recommended Oleksandr Kopylenko to replace Shapoval as CEC member. According to Kommersant Ukraine, based on its sources, CEC member Mykhailo Okhendovskyi and CEC Secretary Tetiana Lukash are the likeliest candidates to replace Shapoval as CEC Head. Both vote in line with the Party of Regions.

In response, the opposition demands the government to amend the Law on CEC, including the procedure for appointing the committee. According to Arseniy Yatseniuk, leader of the Batkivshchyna faction in parliament, each faction should have one representative in CEC, and independent MPs should have one representative as well. “We know that the Presidential Administration is preparing a scenario to maintain power even if they lose the election. Its key point is to take control over the CEC. They have the relevant experience from 2004,” he said.

UDAR leader Vitaliy Klitschko called on the President to hold consultations on the Head of CEC with the opposition. “The President submits a candidate for the CEC Head office to parliament,” he commented. “Our firm position is that the President should hold consultations with representatives of the opposition. A CEC member should represent opposition political forces, too.”

Political analyst Vadym Karasiov commented that the Party of Regions will hardly bargain on the CEC Head with the opposition. In his opinion, the President’s initiative on the early dismissal of Shapoval comes from the fact that “Shapoval is not a homeboy, he remained in office from the previous government.” “This naturally raises doubts as to his loyalty if the 2015 presidential campaign gets too dramatic. There is no confidence in his complete loyalty, which is extremely important in case of any potential obstacles and the likely extreme scenarios what may accompany the 2015 campaign. Therefore, the CEC will be offered a 100% loyal candidate… who will play along with the team,” he commented. “Actually, Shapoval is a fairly flexible person. If those in power had no particular concerns about 2015, they could have left him. They could even benefit from this since he is not from their team but flexible enough to make the CEC take a neutral position in favour of the current President. However, the government is so serious about its preparations for 2015 that it wants to prevent any risks.”

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