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Backgrounder: Ukraine's 5 main opposition groups involved in pro-Europe rallies

English.news.cn   2013-12-05 06:16:07            

KIEV, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine's political opposition groups have joined forces in their efforts to step up the pro-Europe protests in central Kiev, demanding the impeachment of President Viktor Yanukovych, resignation of the government and dissolution of the parliament. Following are profiles of the five leading opposition groups:

Fatherland Party

The United Opposition or Fatherland Party of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is the second-largest political group in Ukraine, after the ruling Party of Regions. It holds 102 seats in the 450-member parliament.

After Tymoshenko's conviction for abuse of office in 2011, the party has been chaired by former parliament speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Founded in 1999, Fatherland Party was widely considered as a pro-government group during the presidency of Leonid Kuchma, who was surrounded by numerous corruption scandals and the lessening of media freedom.

However, in 2001, Fatherland Party changed its political direction and became pro-oppositional liberal-conservative group.

Advocating a pro-European platform, Fatherland declares its commitment to European Union (EU) values and standards of living. The party's ideology is focused on raising welfare payments, improving business climate and fighting corruption.

Fatherland party adheres to a rigid position on the issue of land privatization, advocating a ban on the sale of the country's farmland for foreigners.

Udar party

Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms or "Udar", is the pro- Western political party led by famous world heavyweight champion boxer Vilaly Klitchko.

The "Udar" (translated as the "Punch") party, founded in 2010, is the right-wing group, which promotes political and social liberalism.

The party endorses modernization of the central government and empowerment of local communities.

The party has declared the fight against corruption, inequality and poverty as its main ideology. Cultivating close relationship with the EU, "Udar" has made no stance on relations with Russia and possible Ukraine's NATO membership.

Gathering around 35,000 members, Udar won 40 seats in parliament during the Parliamentary elections in 2012.

Freedom Party

The National Patriotic Party "Freedom" (Ukrainian -- "Svoboda") is a radical far-right political group which has a strong anti- government stance and is branded by its fierce protection of Ukrainian language and culture.

Known for its racist and anti-Semitic statements, Freedom Party is widely considered as xenophobic, nationalistic and anti-Russian group.

Oleg Tyagnybok, the party's charismatic leader, was a prominent figure of Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution, when he served as a member of "Our Ukraine" party of then President Victor Yushchenko.

Founded in 1991 as a social-national party, Freedom Party loudly declared itself on the Ukrainian political arena during 2012 parliamentary elections, when all other parties were seen as corrupt.

Enjoying the advance of a newcomer to the big politics, Freedom won 38 seats in the parliament, becoming the country's fourth largest political force.

Third Republic organization

Declaring itself as a non-partisan organization, the Third Republic group, led by former interior minister Yury Lutsenko, is a black horse of Ukraine's pro-European rallies.

Playing the role of a mediator between the opposition forces and the people, the Third Republic is widely seen as a new political force in Ukraine's public arena.

On environment, when people have little confidence in both pro- government and pro-opposition politicians, the Third Republic is expected to become a "lesser evil" of Ukrainian politics.

Declarations of the Third Republic organization differ little from those of official opposition parties. The political group is focused on European integration, de-monopolization of the economy and a movement to reduce the gap between the richest and the poorest people.

The Third Republic was founded in early 2013, shortly after the pardon of its leader Yuri Lutsenko, who was serving a four-year sentence for abuse of power and embezzlement.

Analysts assume that Lutsenko, who was in office under the Yulia Tymoshenko government, is mulling to run in Ukraine's 2015 presidential elections. It is widely seen that by ruling a pro- European political group, Lutsenko is gaining political dividends among Ukrainians on the eve of the presidential campaign.

European Party of Ukraine

The European Party of Ukraine was one of the most active political forces during pro-European demonstrations in Kiev.

Leader of the party, lawmaker Mykola Katerynchuk, has been standing in the Independence Square -- the main site of the protests, for several days, demanding nationwide strike against alleged violation of human rights during the clashes between police and demonstrators.

The European Party of Ukraine advocates the liberal ideology and believes that Ukraine would be better served if it joins the EU, claiming that closer ties with the 28-member block will "bring the life of Ukrainians to the European level."

Founded in 2006, the party has been committed to conducting systemic reforms, protecting environment and promoting market economy. The European Party is also known for its rejection of gender discrimination.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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