Ukraine's parliamentary elections of 28 October were all set to be yet another instrument for perpetuating president Viktor Yanukovych's stay in power.
The jailing of political opponents, selective justice and the persecution of non-conformist media meant that winning this election for Yanukovych's Party of the Regions was pre-programmed. The opposition, deprived of its charismatic leader Yulia Timoshenko and unable to fully overcome internal conflicts and cleavages, had little chance to beat the well-disciplined Party of Regions, which relied on solid financial and administrative resources in the run-up. Securing the majority of votes cast for the party lists, where half of all parliamentary seats are distributed, was not a life-or-death issue for the Party. It was expected to benefit strongly from a comfortable lead in single-mandate districts. […]
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