Vyacheslav Chornovil and Viktor Pynzenyk, the leaders of the Rukh (Ukraine’s largest right-wing force) and of Reforms and Order (the party of nationally minded liberal reformers) yesterday proclaimed the creation of a political bloc. The two parties plan to form a coalition of right-of-center forces to support a single presidential candidate. They also intend to preserve this bloc for the next parliamentary elections. The Rukh and Reforms and Order are negotiating over a single candidate, with the Rukh proposing former Foreign Minister Hennady Udovenko, former Environment Minister Yuri Kostenko, and Chornovil. The Reforms and Order favorite is Viktor Yushchenko, the head of Ukraine’s National Bank. As for the incumbent president, Pynzenyk said at yesterday’s press conference that his party “never supported, and never will support Leonid Kuchma” (Ukrainian agencies, STV, December 2). Chornovil had earlier, on several occasions, made it clear that the Rukh would not support Kuchma’s bid either, and listed Yushchenko among possible Rukh’s nominees (see, for example, the Monitor, October 22).
Reforms and Order last year was the first party to openly speak about support of Yushchenko’s nomination. Ever since then, however, Pynzenyk has consistently denied having presidential aspirations. Pynzenyk, the “father” of Ukrainian liberal economic reforms, and his mostly young reform-minded allies created their party only in 1997. It succeeded, however, in reaping over 3 percent of the vote in the March parliamentary elections, finishing tenth among 30 parties and blocs. Yushchenko’s strong monetarist convictions have recently and steadily been losing support from President Kuchma and Premier Pustovoytenko, who seem to opt for more populism in the economy, and the printing of currency to solve the problem of filling the state budget next year.
The new right-wing bloc’s refusal to support Kuchma in the elections leaves a difficult choice for the “presidential” People’s Democratic Party (NDP), whose reform-minded wing’s leaders aspire to form an electoral coalition with the Rukh (see the Monitor, November 23, 30). Either the NDP supports the apparently anti-Kuchma bloc of the Rukh and Reforms and Order, in which case it will cease to be “the party of power,” or it drops the idea of forming a wide center-right coalition, virtually impossible without the Rukh. –OV
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