Ukraine’s pro-EU parties – European Solidarity and Fatherland
European Solidarity and Fatherland are two well-established pro-Western parties that will likely make it into the new Ukrainian parliament, opinion polls suggest.
The parties are led by political heavyweights, ex-President Petro Poroshenko and ex-prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, who have been irreconcilable rivals on a personal level for years.
Fatherland declares support for President Volodymyr Zelensky and states an intention to form a ruling coalition with his Servant of the People party.
Earlier this year, Zelensky defeated Poroshenko in the presidential election after an acrimonious and heated campaign, which makes an alliance between their parties highly improbable despite European Solidarity’s public assurances of readiness for cooperation.
European Solidarity is a centre-right party. It was founded as the Solidarity party in 2000 and brought six MPs to parliament in 2002. For 2014 parliamentary elections the party re-emerged as Petro Poroshenko Bloc-Solidarity. It received almost 22 per cent and brought to parliament 63 MPs on the party ticket and 73 in single-seat constituencies. Before the 2019 early election, the party was renamed European Solidarity. Its acronym is now identical to “EU” in Ukrainian. The latest opinion polls show that it is supported by 5-10 per cent of Ukrainians.
European Solidarity continues Petro Poroshenko’s presidential election campaign and focuses on EU and Nato integration, an anti-Russian international campaign, a strong army and church independence.
The top 10 on the party ticket include parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy, deputy parliament speaker Iryna Herashchenko, Crimean Tatar leaders Mustafa Dzhemilyev and Akhtem Chyyhoz, Hero of Ukraine Lt-Gen Mykhaylo Zabrodskyy, volunteer medic Yana Zinkevych, and deputy Prime Minister for European integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.
“I consider the decision by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE], which allows the Russian delegation to come back, as a powerful challenge to Ukraine,” Poroshenko said, commenting on Russia’s return to PACE. “This is the first serious diplomatic blow that Ukraine received for the past five years. We had not allowed such blows earlier,” he said.
“Ukraine can repel the aggressor only together with its allies, and only as an equal in the family of European peoples can Ukraine fully realise its potential and ensure wellbeing and justice for its citizens. So Ukraine’s future is in Nato and the EU,” the party’s manifesto says.
“Our goal is to facilitate, based on what we have done, achieving political, economic, security and legal criteria necessary to apply for EU membership and get a NATO Action Plan already in 2023.”
DONBASS AND CRIMEA
“We have created a powerful international coalition which has used a wide range of sanctions against the aggressor. This unity should be preserved and the sanctions strengthened. We will work to keep the world’s attention on Crimea and Donbass and to make sure Russia bears responsibility for its crimes.”
“Bringing UN peacekeepers to the entire territory of Russia-occupied Donbass will speed up the return of these territories to Ukraine.”
“Building up powerful Armed Forces is our highest priority.”
“It is worth developing rocket technology, Ukraine’s air defence shield, aviation and Navy, supply the army with everything it needs for modern combat.”
“In order to fight off-shore companies, we insist on adopting changes to tax legislation on the implementation of a plan to prevent the shrinking of the taxation base and income concealment.”
“The company income tax should soon be replaced with a tax on withdrawn capital.”
“We have created, together with civil society, special institutions to fight corruption. Let us focus on eliminating the reasons that provoke corruption. First of all, to bring to the minimum and simplify administrative procedures, in particular by introducing digital technology, to give people opportunities to solve the biggest number of issues online,” the election manifesto said.
Fatherland is a centre-left party. It was founded in 1999 and has not been renamed since then. It has 19 MPs in the current parliament. According to the latest opinion polls, it is supported by 5-10 per cent of Ukrainians.
The party continues to promote Tymoshenko’s “New deal”, a programme of economic reforms unveiled during her presidential election campaign.
Among the top 10 on the party ticket are tycoon Serhiy Taruta who has lost a lot of his assets in Donbass, former Security Service head Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, and long-time members of the party, Serhiy Sobolyev, Olena Kondratyuk, Ivan Kyrylenko, Andriy Kozhemyakin, Hryhoriy Nemyrya, Serhiy Vlasenko and Valeriy Dubil.
“We will continue active foreign policy as part of the Council of Europe, OSCE and the European People’s Party to restore peace and have the Ukrainian territories returned,” the party’s manifesto says.
“We will effectively implement the Ukraine-EU association agreement. Our future lies in the EU. We will consistently work on getting a NATO membership action plan. Our security lies in NATO.”
DONBASS AND CRIMEA
“Apart from the Minsk process and talks in the Normandy format, we will start talks based on the Budapest-plus formula, inviting to the process of settlement such countries as the USA and the UK. We insist on considering the issues of occupied Donbass and annexed Crimea in one package.”
“We aim at gradually reaching the level of Polish wages in dollar equivalent within the next five years.”
“We will introduce a personal pension system. Minimum pensions will be raised to 3,094 hryvnyas [120 dollars].”
“The price of gas will be halved. This will allow halving the rates for heating and hot water.”
“We will completely demonopolise gas import and introduce trade in all energy resources at exchanges, which will set transparent prices and decrease the cost of energy resources.”
“Thirty-seven taxes and levies will be cancelled, in particular the inheritance tax, state fees and court fees. VAT will be cancelled and replaced with a minimum tax on sale, as it is done in the USA. Instead of the heavy income tax we will introduce a tax on withdrawn capital.”
What they say about each other
Commenting on Poroshenko’s switch from president to party leader, the Ukrayinska Pravda news website said: “Defeat has done him good. According to Ukrayinska Pravda sources in the party, Poroshenko has relaxed, become slightly simpler, started listening to his team and joking more.”
The specialised media website Detektor Media noted that European Solidarity had “the most intensive and large-scale election advertising ahead of the election campaign”.
Commenting on the party’s anticorruption initiatives, Ukrayinska Pravdanoted that the idea of fighting corruption by transferring state services online “is nothing new, but it will not solve the problem of ‘top corruption’, at best it will get rid of everyday bribes to officials at the medium and low levels”.
Analysing the party’s manifesto, a Ukrainian human rights NGO, Human Rights Information Centre, said: “The party’s manifesto envisages no serious action to improve human rights. Instead, it mostly talks about strengthening the state. There is a contradiction here because European Solidarity declares that in the centre of its attention is a responsible citizen, economic liberties and human rights. But these issues occupy only one tenth of the place in the manifesto allocated to the strengthening of the state.
Ukrayinska Pravda analysed Fatherland’s ticket and concluded that Tymoshenko “places her bets on old and tested comrades-in-arms and on people with good financial and media resources”. “In autumn and winter last year, Tymoshenko held massive forums on her New Deal and travelled across Ukraine on an election tour, and then held a grand nomination show… But now, in parliamentary elections, Tymoshenko moved renewal and innovations to the background.”
“If Tymoshenko manages to get 30 people into parliament, there will be only five women among them, less than 17 per cent,” Ukrayinska Pravda said.
“Out of the first 10 most popular parties, only Fatherland does not mention courts, law-enforcement agencies or the fight against corruption in its manifesto,” the website said.
The Human Rights Information Centre also pointed out that “Fatherland’s manifesto shows no ways to solve problems in the areas of democracy and human rights. It is not clear how it will fights corruption or reform law-enforcement agencies and courts.”