Ukraine has several political organizations that profess a Christian-Democratic orientation. Two of these, the Christian Democratic Party and the Christian People’s Union, have formed the bloc Forward Ukraine to compete in the upcoming parliamentary elections. One major plank in the joint platform envisages overcoming ecclesiastical fragmentation and creating a single Ukrainian national church. Ukraine presently has three Orthodox patriarchates and the Uniate (Eastern-rite Catholic) church.
Topping forward Ukraine’s slate of candidates are: parliament vice-chairman Viktor Musiyaka; Volodymyr Stretovich and Hryhory Omelchenko, chairmen of the parliament’s legal affairs commission and the commission against crime and corruption, respectively; and Serhy Holovatyy, the chairman of the Ukrainian Legal Foundation, a former justice minister, and one of the country’s prominent reformers. The other top candidates also possess reformist credentials.
Leaders of the new bloc possess another common denominator: a grudge of some kind or other against President Leonid Kuchma and/or against circles in the presidential administration. Musiyaka was until recently the president’s representative in parliament, but fell out with him and was replaced. Stretovich supported a recent, abortive move in his committee to impeach Kuchma on poorly substantiated grounds. Omelchenko was a key player in last year’s ouster on corruption charges of the all-powerful presidential administration chief, Dmytro Tabachnik. (However, Tabachnik — who ran Kuchma’s successful 1994 presidential campaign — has recently returned to the presidential palace as a political adviser for the parliamentary elections.) For his part, the liberal, Western-oriented Holovatyy came out in vocal opposition to Kuchma and his administration — focusing on the corruption issue — after he had been dropped from the government last August. Such rifts illustrate the difficulty experienced by pro-reform groups in establishing a common front against the challenge from the left. (Ukrainian agencies, October 24-25, November 9)
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