Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 133

Ukraine’s Central Electoral Commission has completed the registration of candidates in the December 10 by-elections to parliament. Close to 390 candidates are running for 45 long-vacant seats in the 450-seat national legislature. Nearly two-thirds of the candidates have no party affiliation, but among those who do belong to a party, the communists and socialists have a significantly larger representation (58 candidates) than either the national democratic camp or the middle-of-the-road parties.

A general lack of public interest might produce a low voter turnout that would again set back the process of filling the vacancies. The city of Kiev, with 23 electoral districts, has 17 empty seats to fill in conditions of widespread apathy. (20) Nonetheless, President Leonid Kuchma and his supporters will be awaiting the results with some anxiety. Any fresh infusion of "red" deputies would augment the already considerable strength of incumbents who oppose his market reforms. But a more immediate problem will be the anti-reformers’ determination to force the issue of limiting presidential powers, a notion that Kuchma recently called "catastrophic." (21) If the by-elections next month don’t get voters to the polls, the Ukrainian leader will be in a position to argue that the public has greater confidence in the president.

Aliyev And His Party Winning Azerbaijani Elections.