Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united)
|Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united)|
|International affiliation||Socialist International (consultative)|
|Politics of Ukraine
The Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united) or SDPU(u) or SDPU(o) (Ukrainian: Соцiал-демократична партiя України (об`єднана); СДПУ(о)), is a Ukrainian political party that was originally established as the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine. At the 1998 and 2002 parliamentary elections it won parliamentary seats, since then not. When in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) the party was influential, but since the Orange revolution (of late 2004) it has been marginalized.
Social Democratic Party of Ukraine
The Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Соціал-демократична партiя України) was founded in May 1990. During the 1991 presidential elections it supported Viacheslav Chornovil. The party did win two seat in the 1994 parliamentary elections. The party suffered from internal splits in its early years.
In 1995 the party merged with Party of Human Rights (Ukrainian: Партії прав людини) and Ukrainian Party of Justice (Ukrainian: Українською партією справедливост) to form Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united).
Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united)
In 1998 the leadership of the party became the head of Leonid Kuchma's presidential administration Viktor Medvedchuk, former Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk and by Ukrainian tycoon Hryhoriy Surkis. During the presidential term of Leonid Kuchma the party portrayed itself as a centrist, social-democratic moderate political force that advocated integration with Europe and supported the president. The party was closely linked to presidential administration and big business (from Kiev). At the 1998 parliamentary elections it won 4,01% (its traditional stronghold was Zakarpattia Oblast); during this election the party ran on a moderate Ukrainian nationalist ideology. In October 1998 several prominent former members of the party established the (new party) Ukrainian Social Democratic Party.
During the 2002 parliamentary elections SDPU(o) won 6.27% of the national vote and 24 seats. Final poll results in 2002 had predicted the party to win 9-10% of the total votes. This election the party promoted left-wing Russophile agenda's. It did considerably better in the Donbass and Crimea than 4 years earlier. Early January 2003 the SDPU(o) faction did consist of 40 seats.
SDPU(o) opposed Viktor Yushchenko's coalition of liberal and nationalist movements and in March 2002 it blamed nationalist elements linked to the pro-Yushchenko "Our Ukraine" alliance for the murder of the vice-governor of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, who was an SDPU(o) member.
During the Ukrainian presidential election, 2004 SDPU(o) also took a strongly pro-Russian and anti-Western stand and backed the candidacy of Viktor Yanukovych. In the aftermath of Viktor Yushchenko's "Orange Revolution", SDPU(o) declared itself to be in opposition to the new government. Analysts say that TV channels and other media controlled by the party (Inter, 1+1, TET) have started a sharp anti-U.S./anti-NATO campaign in response to Yuschenko's pro-Western policies. Around the Orange Revolution (late 2004) more ten 10 deputies left the SDPU(o) faction in the Ukrainian parliament; late-January 2005 the faction included 27 deputies in the 450-seat parliament.
Ivan Rizak, the head of the Trans-Carpathian SDPUo branch and governor of the Trans-Carpathian Oblast, was arrested in May 2005 and charged with abuse of public office and driving a pro-opposition university rector to suicide last year. That same month, the party was accused of involvement in the 2000 murder of Georgiy R. Gongadze, with the journal Ukrayina moloda (April 14, 2005) accusing party members of using the dead journalist's corpse in a plot to discredit President Leonid Kuchma and force early elections, which could have led to party leader Medvedchuk succeeding Kuchma.
SDPU(o) claims this to be a part of the political campaign of persecution from the new authorities. Supporters of the "Orange Revolution" on the other hand claim that the party enjoyed privileged status under the old regime and was closely associated with big business, organized crime, corruption, and media bias in favour of Leonid Kuchma, then President of Ukraine.
Despite being one of the most active political parties with a wide range of political activities and a significant number of student and youth members, SDPU tend to lose a significant amount of votes due to the notoriety of its leaders for their business and political practices.
Before the 2006 parliamentary elections, some commentators regarded SDPU(u) as one of three hard-line anti-Yuschenko forces (the others being the Party of Regions and the Communist Party). Those days the party made approachments towards the Socialist Party of Ukraine. At the legislative elections of 26 March 2006, the party was part of the Opposition Bloc "Ne Tak" and failed to clear the 3% minimum to get into parliament. It has thus disappeared from the national political stage. Currently the party is working on draft concepts who will determine its future. The current leader is Yury Zahorodny.
The party participated in the 2010 presidential election as part of the Election bloc of left and central left political forces. This decision made ex-President of Ukraine Kravchuk leave the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united), Kravchuk declared he also was indignant due to the fact that the political council of the party decided to accomplish that behind the closed doors in non-democratic order. He called the block as the artificial union without any perspectives.
The party did not take part in the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election nationwide proportional party-list system; instead one members of the party tried to win a seat in one of the 225 local single-member districts; in this district situated in Brovary the candidate got 340 votes (the winner 31.678 votes) and thus failed to win a seat in parliament. The party failed again to win a seat in the 7 July 2013 by-election in constituency 224 in Sevastopol.
|Election year||# of
party list votes
| % of
party list votes
overall seats won
|2006||Opposition Bloc 'Not So'||1.0||24|
|2007||did not participate||-|
|2012||did not participate||-|
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