The European Parliament’s centre-right political group has joined Ukrainian opposition forces in condemning the Ukrainian Central Election Committee’s refusal to register imprisoned political leaders Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuri Lutsenko as candidates for the October parliamentary elections. Tymoshenko’s party, Batkivschyna (Fatherland), has appealed to the country’s Supreme Administrative Court over the administrative refusal to register the former prime minister and Lutsenko, the former interior minister, as the party’s parliamentary candidates, the Ukrainian News website reported yesterday (13 August). Tymoshenko and Lutsenko were sentenced last year to seven and four years, respectively, for abuse of power. Tymoshenko led the 2004 Orange Revolution protests that derailed current President Viktor Yanukovich’s first bid for presidency. The former prime minister says she is the victim of a vendetta by Yanukovich.
Parliamentary elections on 28 October are viewed as a major test for the country, which is at the crossroads of the European Union and Russia. Two political forces have the greatest electoral support in Ukraine: Yanukovich’s Party of Regions and the United Opposition – comprised of Batkivschyna and the “Front for change” of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former foreign minister (see background). A source cited by Ukrainian News said that the Supreme Administrative Court could consider the appeal this week.
Ukrainian News earlier reported that the Kyiv Administrative Appeals Court on 11 August upheld the election commission’s 8 August decision not to register Tymoshenko and Lutsenko. The commission said its decision was based on a law which bars those convicted of committing a premeditated crime from being nominated or elected as a parliamentary deputy, if the conviction had not been annulled.