All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland"
|All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" ("Batkivshchyna")|
|Slogan||We Will Stop Them (2012 Elections), Many Parties, One Batkivshchyna (2012)|
|Founded||July 9, 1999|
|Youth wing||The young activists of Batkivshchyna|
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union (associate)|
|European affiliation||European People's Party (observer)|
|Seats in Verkhovna Rada|||
|Kiev City Council|
|Politics of Ukraine
All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" or Batkivshchyna (Ukrainian: Всеукраїнське об'єднання "Батьківщина", Vseukrayins'ke Obyednannya Bat'kivshchyna) is a political party in Ukraine, led by Yulia Tymoshenko.
As the core party of the former Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, Batkivshchyna has had representation in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) since Yulia Tymoshenko set up the parliamentary faction Batkivshchyna in March 1999. Since 2008 "Batkivshchyna" is an associate member of European People's Party. After the November 2011 banning of the participation of blocs of political parties in parliamentary elections "Fatherland" became a major force in Ukrainian politics independently. In the 2012 parliamentary elections the party also added the name "United Opposition" to its name, and aligned several other parties under its banner; it won 101 parliamentary seats in the election. In June 2013 several of those aligned parties merged with Batkivshchyna. It was also a leading party in the country's Yatsenyuk Government. On 31 December 2013, the party's parliamentary faction was 90 votes strong. Following the February 2014 Euromaidan revolution the party became a leading party in the country's first Yatsenyuk Government. The party split itself when on 10 September 2014 party leaders Yatsenyuk and Turchynov became founding member the new party People's Front. In the late October 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election The party won 19 seats; barely passing the 5% election threshold with 5.68% of the votes. (People's Front won 82 seats in this election.) The party is currently a member of the coalition supporting the current second Yatsenyuk Government and has 2 ministers in this government. The party enjoys support mainly in Western Ukraine (especially in the Lviv Oblast where the vast majority of members live) and Central Ukraine.
Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 on abuse of power charges; the prosecution and conviction were viewed by many countries – most prominently the European Union, who repeatedly called for release of Tymoshenko as the primary condition for signing the EU Association Agreement, and USA – and international organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as politically biased. Tymoshenko was release during the Euromaidan revolution and officially rehabilitated late February 2014.
- 1 History
- 2 Ideology and stances
- 3 Associated and merged parties
- 4 Election Results
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The organization was founded in 1995 as the All-Ukrainian Fatherland Union of Peaceful Forces Citizen Association by Volodymyr Prisnyakov, a rector at Dnipropetrovsk National University. The citizen association was reorganized into a party on 9 July 1999 by former members of Hromada, including Tymoshenko. who had left the party that spring. On 14 September 1998 the General Prosecutor of Ukraine accused Hromada leader Pavlo Lazarenko of embezzlement, and Tymoshenko established the Batkivshchyna parliamentary group the following March. (Tymoshenko was originally elected during the 1998 parliamentary elections from the Hromada party list.) On 16 September 1999 the party was registered at the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice. The first party chairman elected was Viktor Drachenko, a former Communist Party secretary from Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. At the second party congress on 18 December 1999, the chair was given to Tymoshenko.
After Tymoshenko was elected as Deputy Prime Minister in the Yushchenko government, the party was considered "conditionally pro-presidential" and "leftist". In 2000 the Fatherland Party opposed President Kuchma, and began attracting those who had voted for Yevhen Marchuk in the October 1999 presidential election. After Tymoshenko was arrested in February 2001, the party joined the opposition Ukraine without Kuchma. The Fatherland Party helped create the National Salvation Committee, which laid the groundwork for the creation of the Yulia Tymoshenko electoral bloc before the next parliamentary elections. In December 2001, the Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party merged into the party.
Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc
In the 2002 parliamentary elections, the party was the main constituent of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc. The bloc obtained 22 seats in the parliament, all on the party list. Thirteen of them were allocated to "Fatherland".
In January 2005, Tymoshenko became Prime Minister of Ukraine under Viktor Yushchenko's presidency. Several months earlier, she was a leader in the Orange Revolution which enabled Yushchenko's election.
After losing several seats in 2002 and 2003, in September 2005 the bloc had grown to 40 members. In March 2005, the Yabluko party merged with Batkivshchyna; however, in March 2007 Yabluko became the Party of Free Democrats. In late 2005, the United Ukraine party also merged with Batkivshchyna. In the 2006 and 2007 parliamentary elections the party was part of the Tymoshenko bloc, which won 129 of 450 seats in 2006 (22.29 percent of the total vote) and 156 of 450 seats (30.71 percent of the total vote) in 2007.
On 18 December 2007 Yulia Tymoshenko was reelected prime minister by a two-vote margin, making Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc a majority coalition. Since 2008, the party has been an observer member of the European People's Party.
After the Second Tymoshenko Government fell on 3 March 2010, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc moved to the opposition. During the 2010 Ukrainian local elections the party (political blocs were not permitted to compete in the election) was defeated by the rival Party of Regions in nearly all regions of Ukraine, although it remained the main opposition party. Although Batkivshchyna won seats in 19 of 24 regional parliaments, it did not win a seat in the Supreme Council of Crimea. In Lviv Oblast and Kiev Oblast as well as in Ternopil the party did not participate in the elections cause it was unable to register their candidates; Yulia Tymoshenko claimed that "fraudulent Batkivshchyna party organisations were registered on orders from Viktor Yanukovych".
Unified opposition in 2012 parliamentary elections
On 16 November 2010, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) was renamed the Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko-Batkivshchyna. Party leader Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 for abuse of power.
On 17 November 2011, party blocs were banned in parliamentary elections. The following month, Batkivshchyna and the People's Self-Defense party announced that the latter would merge with the former, and on 28 December first deputy party head Oleksandr Turchynov said, "I believe that other political forces will join in".
Batkivshchyna, the former Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc member Reforms and Order Party and the People's Movement of Ukraine announced their intention to submit a single party list in the March 2012 parliamentary elections. On 7 April, Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced that the Front for Change party would join them on the single-party list.
On 6 June 2012, Vyacheslav Kutovy and Volodymyr Kupchak left the party; Kupchak he had been threatened by party leader Yatsenyuk and the party had "betrayed Yulia Tymoshenko, who had sparked the protest movement Rise up, Ukraine!". In July 2012, Batkivshchyna agreed with the Svoboda party on the distribution of single-member district candidates in the 2012 parliamentary elections. Two weeks before the 28 October election, Batkivshchyna withdrew 26 parliamentary candidates in favour of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR); UDAR withdrew 26 of its single-seat candidates in favour of Batkivshchyna candidates, attempting to maximise the opposition vote.
Batkivshchyna was a de facto umbrella party in the election, whose election list included members of the Reforms and Order, People's Movement of Ukraine, Front for Change, For Ukraine!, People's Self-Defense, Civil Position and Social Christian parties. In July 2012, members of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People joined the list, known as the Fatherland United Opposition. Front for Change leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk headed the list, because Tymoshenko was imprisoned. The list won 62 seats and 25.55 percent of the vote under the proportional party-list system (down from 30.71 percent in 2007 for the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc), and another 39 in simple-majority constituencies. Competing in 152 of 225 constituencies,; they won a total of 101 seats, 22.67 percent of the 450 seats in the Verkhovna Rada. The party lost about two million votes, compared with the results of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc in the previous election. On 12 December 2012 (father and son) Oleksandr Tabalov and Andriy Tabalov (although elected into parliament on party-lists of "Fatherland") did not join the parliamentary faction of "Fatherland"). Yatsenyuk was elected leader of this parliamentary faction (also) on 12 December 2012. On 19 October 2012, Batkivshchyna and Svoboda signed an agreement for "the creation of a coalition of democratic forces in the new parliament". The party is also coordinating its parliamentary activities with UDAR.
In early April 2013 four lawmakers left the party in protest of Yatsenyuk's leadership style, and Roman Stadniychuk was forced to replace Serhiy Vlasenko's parliamentary mandate. The following month, Batkivshchyna, UDAR and Svoboda pledged to coordinate for the 2015 Ukrainian presidential election.
In December 2012, the parties which aligned with Batkivshchyna in the 2012 parliamentary elections considered forming a single party. On 15 June 2013, the Reforms and Order Party and the Front for Change merged with Batkivshchyna. A portion of the People's Movement of Ukraine (including former chairman Borys Tarasyuk) also merged; the remainder of the party had merged with the Ukrainian People's Party the previous month.). During the same congress, the party also approved Tymoshenko's nomination as its candidate in the 2015 Ukrainian presidential election. On 4 July 2013, Batkivshchyna expelled Vasyl Kravchuk "for betraying the interests of the people and the systematic violation of decisions of the faction".
Euromaidan and return to government
The party played a substantial role in the anti-government Euromaidan protests, which began in late November 2013 and culminated in the 21 February 2014 impeachment of President Viktor Yanukovych after the February 2014 Ukrainian revolution, in which Tymoshenko was released from jail and officially rehabilitated. Party leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk became prime minister in the new government, which was sworn in on 27 February 2014. On 20 March, Yatsenyuk was replaced as the party's leader in the Verkhovna Rada by Sergei Sobolev. Batkivshchyna became the largest party in the Verkhovna Rada (with 85 members) in early June 2014, since more than 120 MP's left the Party of Regions[nb 1] after Yanukovych's impeachment.
2014 parliamentary election
At Batkivshchyna's party congress on 25 August 2014 it was announced that several high-profile members had decided to leave the party, including Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Parliamentary Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov, Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov, and Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko. Russian media reported that the reason for the departure of Yatsenyuk and Turchynov was due to "disagreements with [party] leader Yulia Tymoshenko".
Batkivshchyna won 19 seats in the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election; barely passing the 5% election threshold with 5.68% of the votes. The 19 seats include the winning of 2 constituency seats for Batkivshchyna candidates. In the election the party lost a large part of its electorate to Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko. Following the elections the party became a member of the coalition supporting the current second Yatsenyuk Government and has 2 ministers in this government.
Ideology and stances
Batkivshchyna has an eclectic set of policies; the party stated it advocates "European values" and "a high level of living for people". In the matter of the War in Donbass the party has advocated ending the conflict through the use of force.
The party wants to simplify procedures for opening and closing of businesses. It also wants to "establish a new minimum wage and will raise wages and pensions and lower taxes" and it wants to limit the kinds of taxes to seven and to simplify the methods of payment and "minimise the possibility of tax evasion through offshore companies". It also wants to create a "public non-profit construction company that will build affordable housing".
The party wants a campaign against corruption. It advocates an "anti-corruption lustration" whereby state officials' expenses and property values are compared with their tax declarations. If there is a discrepancy, the officials will be criminally charged and banned from public office. It wants to establish a "National Anti-Corruption Bureau" modeled on the FBI (an idea that has circulated in Ukraine since the late 1990s). The party believes that what has been "stolen" through corrupt tenders and insider privatizations should be returned to the state budget. Organizing election fraud will be criminally liable and voting in parliament for absent lawmakers punishable. The party wants to deprive all top government officials of immunity and to continue the lustration in Ukraine.
According to the party, only citizens of Ukraine will have the right to private ownership of land, but "high concentration of land in one hand" will not be allowed.
The party sees Ukrainian membership in the European Union (EU) as a strategic goal. It favors visa-free travel for Ukrainians to the EU and wants to "cancel humiliating visa regimes". It would like to see "a mutually beneficial and equitable agreement on the establishment of free trade with Russia". In June 2013, the party's parliamentary faction voted for the denunciation of the 2010 Ukrainian–Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty.[nb 2]
The party's 2012 election program did not mention NATO, but its 2014 program stated that the party wants to annul Ukraine's non-aligned status and that it wants Ukraine to become a member of NATO.
The party wants to prosecute "Law enforcement involved in political repression".
The party is in favor of party-list proportional representation elections with open lists. It also favors Citizens' Initiatives when 50,000 signatures are collected.[clarification needed] The party wants to empower local governance.
The party wants to introduce jury trials into the Ukrainian law system and wants to "depoliticise" the process of appointment of judges. It also wants an independent judiciary that will increase the role of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine, "which has compromised itself with decisions that were ordered (by the Yanukovych administration)" should be liquidated. It wants the criminal code to be "Europeanized" and law enforcement brought under civil control.
Before their removal of power in February 2014 the party sought to impeach former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his "anti-people regime" to "return Ukraine to the path of European integration" and it tried to reverse the former Azarov Government policy of raising the status of the Russian language.
Associated and merged parties
Associated in electoral block
- (2002–2012) Ukraine – Forward! as the Ukrainian Social Democratic Party
- (2002–2006) Ukrainian Platform "Assembly" as the Ukrainian People's Party "Assembly"
- (2002–2006) Ukrainian Republican Party (temporary merger with Assembly)
- (2007–2012) Reforms and Order Party
- 2001 Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party
- 2005–2007 (temporary) Party of Free Democrats as Apple
- 2012 Reforms and Order Party, People's Self-Defense, Front for Change, People's Movement of Ukraine, For Ukraine!, Social Christian Party, Civil Position (members of this party were on its election list in the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election)
- 2013 Reforms and Order Party and Front for Change
|Year||Popular vote||% of popular vote||Overall seats won||Seat change||Government|
|2002||Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc||13||Opposition|
|Election year||Candidate||# of 1st round votes||% of 1st round vote||# of 2nd round votes||% of 2nd round vote||Won/Loss|
- Late 2012 the Party of Regions faction contained 210 deputies.
- In June 2013 Ukraine's First Deputy Foreign Minister Ruslan Demchenko stated a unilateral denunciation of the 2010 Ukrainian–Russian Naval Base for Natural Gas treaty was not possible from a legal point of view.
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Stadniychuk, Kozub become MPs instead of Vlasenko, Verevsky, Interfax-Ukraine (19 March 2013)
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- Ukraine President Poroshenko Calls Snap General Election, Bloomberg News (25 August 2014)
- Olszański, Tadeusz A. (29 October 2014), A strong vote for reform: Ukraine after the parliamentary elections, OSW—Centre for Eastern Studies
- Five political forces sign coalition agreement, Interfax-Ukraine (21 November 2014)
Ukraine's parliamentary parties initial coalition agreement, Interfax-Ukraine (21 November 2014)
- Ukraine’s Opposition trying to unite, Den (25 October 2012)
- Q&A:Ukrainian parliamentary election, BBC News (23 October 2012)
- Ukraine should become full member of EU, says manifest of Batkivschyna, Interfax-Ukraine (15 June 2013)
- (Ukrainian) Electronic Bulletin "Your Choice – 2012". Issue 4: Batkivshchyna, Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (24 October 2012)
- Tymoshenko says her party ready to join ruling coalition, Interfax-Ukraine (29 October 2014)
- Ukraine's Opposition Program Requires Another Revolution, The Jamestown Foundation (29 May 2012)
- Kyiv cannot denounce Kharkiv accords unilaterally, says Foreign Ministry, Interfax-Ukraine (19 June 2013)
- Rada fails to support bill on denunciation of Kharkiv accords on Black Sea Fleet basing in Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine (19 June 2013)
- Tymoshenko Says Would Support Pro-European Forces of Ukraine’s New Parliament, RIA Novosti (29/09/2014)
- Game of Endurance, The Ukrainian Week (22 February 2013)
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