|Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc
Блок Юлії Тимошенко
|First Deputy||Oleksandr Turchynov|
|Parliamentary leader||Andriy Kozhemiakin|
|Founded||9 February 2001|
|Dissolved||15 December 2012|
|Preceded by||National Salvation Committee|
|European affiliation||(Fatherland Party only) European People's Party (observer status)|
|Politics of Ukraine
1The alliance contained different political groups with diverging ideological outlooks
The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (Ukrainian: Блок Юлії Тимошенко, БЮТ; Blok Yuliyi Tymoshenko, BYuT) was since 2001 the name of the bloc of political parties in Ukraine led by Yulia Tymoshenko. In November 2011 the participation of blocs of political parties in parliamentary elections was banned. The core party of the alliance Fatherland stayed a major force in Ukrainian politics.
Founded for the 2002 parliamentary elections the alliance attracted most of its voters from Western Ukrainian (Ukrainian speaking) provinces (Oblasts) and from central Ukraine. The alliance had low support in the east and the south of Ukraine (where the Russian language is dominant). They did recruited several politicians from these Russian speaking provinces like Crimea (Lyudmyla Denisova) and Luhansk Oblast (Natalia Korolevska). The alliance was often associated with the 2004 Orange Revolution (the alliance's leader Yulia Tymoshenko was one of the leaders of the Orange Revolution) and thus named an Orange Party in media publications. The alliance had some prominent members who used to be associated with the opponents of the Orange Revolutions (the Blue camp) like the former faction leader of the Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) faction in the Ukrainian Parliament Ivan Kyrylenko. Other noticeable (former) BYuT deputies are Soviet dissident Levko Lukyanenko and former UNA-UNSO leader Andriy Shkil.
BYuT was intending to include more representatives from the education sector into voting for its lists. According to the party's leader Tymoshenko: "Certain branches and sectors have powerful lobbies. And there are only three to four lobbyists who represent the spheres of education and health care in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament). Therefore some sectors lack financing, while others have excessive funding".
According to party-leader Tymoshenko representatives of business had no dominant influence on decision making in her political force. "Business is represented in the parliament, but it doesn't shape politics this is what distinguishes my political force from the Party of Regions for instance." Several billionaires have been member of the BYuT faction in the Verkhovna Rada.
After her dismissal by President Leonid Kuchma in January 2001 as Deputy Prime Minister for fuel and energy sector in the cabinet of Viktor Yushchenko and during the Ukraine without Kuchma-protests Yulia Tymoshenko initiated the loose organization the National Salvation Committee on 9 February 2001. This organisation later merged into the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc in November 2001.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe noted at the time that there were physical assaults and harassment of candidates and campaign workers associated with the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc as well as other opposition political parties prior to the March election. The Bloc itself complained of campaign related violations including "an informal 'media blackout,' [and] negatively slanted coverage".
The bloc won 7.2% of the popular vote and 22 out of 450 seats. This result was better than expected, because BYuT had limited access to the media and limited support from local authorities.
The alliance supported Viktor Yushchenko during the Ukrainian presidential election of 2004, and played an active role in the widespread acts of civil non-violent protest that became known as the Ukrainian Orange Revolution.
After a it had lost a few seats in the years 2002 and 2003; in September 2005 the parliamentary faction of the alliance had grown to 40 members.
To the parliamentary elections on 26 March 2006 the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko went only with Fatherland and Ukrainian Social Democratic Party after both republican parties left the alliance. Nonetheless the elections saw BYuT move into second place with 22,27% of the vote behind Party of Regions which had 33% and ahead of Our Ukraine which received less than 14% support. They won 129 seats out of 450. Note after the merger of the Ukrainian Republican Party "Sobor" and the Ukrainian Republican Party, the party went through a schism which led the majority party led by Anatoliy Mativienko to switch to Our Ukraine Bloc. The rest left the party and stayed with Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc. After the elections in 2006 Levko Lukyanenko managed to reinstate the original Ukrainian Republican Party.
It was widely expected that a coalition between supporters of the orange movement would form Ukraine's next government, but after 3 months of negotiations and a failure to reach an agreement the proposed coalition collapsed following the decision of the Socialist Party of Ukraine to support the formation of the "anti-crisis coalition" with Party of Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine.
During the 2007 parliamentary elections, the bloc consisted of:
In the parliamentary elections on 30 September 2007, the bloc won 156 out of 450 seats (and thus 30.71% of the total votes), securing an additional 1.5 million votes (8.24%) in comparison with the 2006 election. In 2007 Yulia Tymoshenko received a swing of 8.24% in comparison their 2006 vote. Most of the swing came as a result of consolidation of the vote in regions in which BYuT already was the leading party. Statistics published by Ukraine's Central Electoral Commission indicate that most of the swing came from minor parties and a swing away from the Socialist Party and to a lesser extent Our Ukraine.
On 15 October 2007, Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc agreed to form a majority coalition in the new parliament of the 6th convocation. On 29 November, a coalition was signed between the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc (representing 45% of the national vote). On 18 December 2007 Yulia Tymoshenko, with a margin of two votes, was elected Prime Minister.
During the 2008 Ukrainian political crisis the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) and Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc (OU-PSD) coalition was haltered and among the negations with a.o. OU-PSD there were negotiations between BYuT and Party of Regions to form a coalition but after Volodymyr Lytvyn was elected Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament of Ukraine) 9 December 2008 he announced the creation of a coalition between his Lytvyn Bloc, BYuT and OU-PSD. After negotiations the three party's officially signed the coalition agreement on 16 December. It was unsure if this coalition would stop the snap election although Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn predicts the Verkhovna Rada will work until the (then scheduled) next elections in 2012. President Viktor Yushchenko's decree to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) made during the 2008 Ukrainian political crisis was never put into action.
On 3 July 2009 the Verkhovna Rada terminated the mandate of BYuT deputy Viktor Lozinskyi. At the time there was a criminal proceedings against Lozinskyi instituted on suspicion of deliberately inflicting grave bodily harm causing death; the Prosecutor-General's Office had applied to the Verkhovna Rada for permission to arrest Viktor Lozinskyi. 416 out of 444 deputies registered in Parliament, including 133 deputies of the Tymoshenko Bloc, voted for removal of the Lozinskyi's parliamentary immunity.
After the fall of the second Tymoshenko Government on 3 March 2010 (seven BYuT lawmakers had supported the motion of no confidence) BYuT moved into opposition. On 11 March 2010 BYuT appealed to the Central Election Commission of Ukraine to terminate the parliamentary mandates of six parliamentarians who had joined a the new parliamentary coalition. Ten representative of BYuT joined the coalition supporting the Azarov Government as an independent MP in April 2010.
Late May 2010 BYuT deputies had to submit new applications for faction membership. On 26 June 2010 The Political Council Presidium of All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" expelled Oleksandr Feldman, a Verkhovna Rada deputy of the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc faction, from the party because he had joined the coalition supporting the Azarov Government the previous month. 28 members of the faction where officially expelled from it, because they had joined the majority coalition, on 21 September 2010.
By late 2010 the BYuT faction consisted of 113 lawmakers of the original 156 elected in September 2007. Most BYuT leavers became members of the "Stability and Reforms" coalition supporting the Azarov Government (17 of these became founding members of Reforms for the Future in February 2011). Four joined the Party of Regions faction in October 2010 (followed by five others in March 2011). Early February 2011 seven more deputies where expelled from the faction. On 2 February 2011 party-leader Tymoshenko claimed members of the “Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko-Batkivschyna”-faction had been offered money and places in the election list of the Party of Regions and have been blackmailed into voting for laws introduced by the Azarov Government. In 2011 the faction of BYuT lost 11 more deputies. On 29 December 2011 it consisted of 102 deputies. Alliance leader Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in jail in October 2011 on abuse of power charges.
Ukrainian President Yanukovych and the Party of Regions have been accused of trying to create a "controlled democracy" in Ukraine and as a means to this tried to "destroy" main opposition party BYuT, but both have denied this charges.
In November 2011 the participation of blocs of political parties in parliamentary elections was banned. The People's Self-Defense Political Party merged with All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland".
"Fatherland" and Reforms and Order Party (with People's Movement of Ukraine) announced to compete one single party list during the parliamentary elections in 2012 in March 2012. On 7 April 2012 Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his party Front of Changes will join them on this (single) party list.
On 15 March 2012 the Ukrainian Social-Democratic Party was expelled from the bloc for alleged "cooperation with the presidential administration and the ruling regime"; the day before the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party party-leader Natalia Korolevska had been expelled from the “Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko-Batkivschyna”-faction (formerly BYuT faction) in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament). The Ukrainian Social Democratic Party had stated in December 2011 "that we are doing nothing that can harm the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko… Our task is to collect the most votes in parliament at the 2012 parliamentary elections". On 22 March 2012 party congress the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party was renamed Party of Natalia Korolevska "Ukraine – Forward!".
Eventually "Fatherland" became the "umbrella" party which election list included members of Reforms and Order Party, People's Movement of Ukraine, Front of Changes, For Ukraine, People's Self-Defense, Civil Position and Social Christian Party. In July 2012 members of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People joined this list. This list named themselves: United Opposition “Fatherland”. During the election the list won 62 seats and 25.55% of the votes under the proportional party-list system (falling from 30.71% in 2007 for Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko) and another 39 by winning 39 simple-majority constituencies (this sum gave them a total of 101 seats and 22.67% of the 450 seats in the Ukrainian Parliament). The party did lost about 2 million voters compared with the results of Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko in the previous election.
The Bloc did not have a clear ideology like most Ukrainian parties; however it was pro-Europe and had liberal nationalistic and social democratic views and had a positive outlook on privatisation. While some political analysts described their ideology as being populistic.
|Parliamentary since 2002
(year links to election page)
|Presidential since 1999 (year links to election page)|
|2004||Viktor Yushchenko (not a member of BYuT but supported by BYuT during the election)||
BYuT proposes a national referendum on the system of governance (Presidential or Parliamentary) and the adoption a new Constitution. On 15 February 2010 BYuT faction leader Ivan Kyrylenko stated "We think that that there is a post that is unnecessary in the state" (without mentioning which post he meant).
Raise salaries for judges and abolish the requirement for them to hear specific cases. Legal aid schemes for poor citizens so that income is not the final determinant of judicial representation and consideration.
The creation of public broadcast television, greater transparency and disclosure of ownership of media interests, the establishment of agreements between owners of media outlets and journalists in order to facilitate open and honest editorial policy, and increased internet availability.
The implementation of a systematic program to combat corruption.
Provide improved social welfare services while encouraging an expansion of the population. Specific plans include obligatory medical insurance, free state medical services for those in need, affordable medication, a rural doctor program, and increased payments for each newborn child. In addition, there are proposals for increased baby care allowances and long-term low interest loans for young families.
Stop the brain drain by restoring the status and raising the standards of the education system. Measures include incentives for investment in professional and higher education, and, most importantly, research and development.
Building new oil and gas pipelines and expanding public-private partnership investments to improve roads, railways and airports. Liberalization of the current regime for the transit of passengers and goods.
Address the imbalance between large enterprises, which dominate the business sector, and small by encouraging the growth of wealth-creating small- and medium-sized enterprises. Reduce the tax burden through the adoption of a new tax code while expanding assessment, minimizing tax remissions, and abolishing VAT. Simplify the process to set up and administer businesses and establishing lower business lending rates in line with European levels. Also proposed are measures to liberalize banking and insurance services and to encourage longer-term lending. Shareholder rights will be protected, the permit system reformed, and the governmental bureaucracy reduced.
Overturn the nation's dependence on monopolies for importing energy while strengthening collaboration and coordination of energy policy with the EU. Specific policies include integration with the European market for the supply and consumption of electricity, measures to reduce oil and gas consumption, an increase in utilization of brown coal and the production of synthetic fuel. Complete the Odessa-Brody-Plotsk (Gdańsk) transit pipeline and build a gas transit pipeline linking the Caspian Sea (running through Azerbaijan and Georgia) and the Black Sea. Encourage domestic production both onshore and offshore in the Black and Azov Seas.
Encouragement of domestic and foreign investment. Changing and eliminating legislation and legal contradictions that currently hinder investment. Procedures must be streamlined to allocate land under long-term leases to investors who will build new facilities in Ukraine, especially in the technology sector. Other proposals include transparent and open privatization and tender processes and the establishment of a network of regional ombudsman to simplify processes for obtaining import certificates. Special emphasis will be made to attract investment in the power sector and all new legislation enacted will be in accordance with WTO practices.
BYuT proposes a system of mortgage lending with lower interest rates for house purchases along with governmental targets designed for public housing projects. Decentralization to the regional level will be implemented to facilitate these targets for both housing and commercial facilities. Special tax incentives are also envisioned for industrial projects to complement planning for investment described above.
A program aimed at establishing a stronger, more profitable and environmentally responsible agricultural sector will be implemented. Crucial measures include the availability of development funds, agricultural exchanges, insurance funds and land-banks. Other initiatives involve the promotion of agricultural products to overseas markets. To facilitate a functioning land market, agricultural producers will have access to low interest loans, with incentives put in place for the development of cooperative banks and credit unions in rural areas.
Our Ukraine has been the main ally of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) during the Orange Revolution and in its aftermath. Relations with archrival Party of Regions (PoR) has always been sour but at times seemed to improve. In 2009 a coalition government between these two seemed to become a reality. But early June talks to build a broad coalition to address the economic crisis collapsed; Yulia Tymoshenko accused PoR leader Viktor Yanukovych of betrayal. Then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko at the time showed little enthusiasm for a BYuT-PoR coalition.
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