Thursday, October 23, 2014

Future of Reforms through the Lens of Campaign Promises      

By Vadym Volosovych, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Now when Ukraine is at the finish line before the 2014 Extraordinary Parliamentary Elections on October 26 it is not too late to reflect on the programs of the major political parties that are all determined to “purify” the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) of the disciples of the previous regime, “reset” the Ukrainian political system, and provide impetus to economic and political reforms that the participants of the Euromaidan or the Revolution of Dignity fought for and the most of Ukrainians strive for.

One should not be na├»ve and hope that all the promises and claims in these documents would be fulfilled. Still, the programs of the contesting parties could give an idea what issues today’s Ukraine is concerned about and how solid, consistent, and reform-oriented the future policymaking could be. After all, the forces that would make it into the parliament will shape the policies which could at last kick-start the long-awaited in Ukraine and abroad transformation of the country to a thriving emerging market economy after two (lost?) decades of hopes and disappointment. This becomes especially important if Ukraine continues with the constitution reform shifting the power from the President to the parliament and to the regions.

The idea of this post is not to compare the programs but to guess what policies are likely to be pursued by the new parliament (see a companion posts here and here on detailed comparison of the programs).  For that, the author would highlight and evaluate those proposals in the programs which, in his opinion, are conducive to the goal of reforms, paying particular attention to economic measures. The readers and, hopefully, the parties themselves would also be warned about the key risks to the reform process that could materialize should the parties act on those negative parts of their campaign documents.

The programs of the following parties will be assessed from in terms of specificity, feasibility, economic soundness, and consistency/coherence (in alphabetical order): Batkyvshschyna (Motherland), Civil Position (CP), Communist party of Ukraine (CPU), Radical Party (RP), Opposition Block (OP), Poroshenko Block (BPP), People’s Front (PF), Samopomich (Self-help), and Strong Ukraine (SU).

The text of the programs can be accessed by following the links at the Ukrainian party names.

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