Monday, October 20, 2014

Political parties’ programs: what to choose when there’s nothing to choose from

By Ilona Sologub (KSE)

In this post we review the published programs of nine highest-rating parties that represent almost all, rather limited, spectrum of the Ukrainian politics: 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), Strong Ukraine (SU). Despite the fact that these parties are political rivals, their programs are very similar.

The main common feature of the party programs is the absence of ideology – hence, they try to go down to as many people as possible instead of occupying their electoral niche. That’s why in the same program one can find deregulation and support of “domestic producers”, lowering of taxes and raising of social protection, anti-monopoly statements and promises to concentrate land in the state property, lowering of inflation and indexing of salaries and pensions etc. Another common feature of the party programs is their vagueness. All of them promise to “develop”, “increase” and “support” but there is hardly any clear measures or indicators the execution of which can be checked. Finally, only three of the considered nine party programs have more or less clearly articulated goal. The most specific (although hardly achievable) is the goal of the People’s Front – to enter the top-20 countries by the UN Human Development Index in twenty years. Other parties either do not formulate their goals at all or provide some general phrases, such as “victory”, “justice” or “welfare”. Below we consider how the main issues of the country development are addressed in the party programs.

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