Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Vitali Klitschko Kyiv Election Interview

This is an interview recently done by the Kyiv Post with former WBC Heavyweight Champion and Kiev mayoral candidate Vitali Klitschko. Vitali gives his opinion on the election, his views towards Kyiv and Ukraine in the future, and future plans....

Kyiv Post: How do you evaluate the 2008 Kyiv elections? How transparent and democratic were they?

Vitali Klitschko: These elections said a great deal about Ukrainian society. The first trend is that the elections were marked by the lowest voter turnout in election history. Only every second voter came out for the elections. This is a signal that society doesn’t trust politicians, or has grown tired of the political squabbles and doesn’t want to participate in elections, doesn’t believe in changes, doesn’t believe in those who participated (in the elections).

First of all, during these elections for the first time since 2004, we again began to see a return of censorship. If this tendency continues, I think we will return to the positions we started from before the Orange Revolution. The scale of manipulation and vote buying gained momentum. The Security Service of Ukraine said that clearly the vote buying was organized. And despite the Minister of Internal Affair's statement that the elections were held without violations, our observers documented a great number of election law violations.

KP: In 2006 you finished second, this time third. On the other hand, in 2006 your Bloc got 8.51 percent and this time 10.61 percent. How do you evaluate your Bloc’s results in 2008? In your opinion what factors prevented you from winning?

VK: I had hoped for better results. The only thing I can say is we failed to explain to every Kyivan our main principles and the main positions of our platform “Face to Kyivans.” This was the reason for our poor results. Nevertheless, our faction in Kyiv City Council increased. But, I think if voter turnout was higher, and if more young people participated more actively, the results of these elections would be much better.

But I think we shouldn’t speak only about indirect factors. The campaign organization and headquarters bears much responsibility. I can say that the results we got from the mayoral elections and the results of the Bloc show the weaknesses of the campaign’s organization.

It is important to make serious analysis and draw a conclusion. The results we achieved – the third place finish for the faction and in the mayoral elections, when we expected to win – show that the campaign was not run well.

KP: You had negotiations with the Tymoshenko Bloc on future cooperation. What agreements have you reached with them?

VK: We had preliminary agreements with the Tymoshenko Bloc that we will have a united candidate determined on the base of primaries, Tyrchynov or Klitschko. But at the last moment Yulia Tymoshenko canceled our agreement and said that Tyrchynov should be the united candidate. Nevertheless, Tymoshenko’s Bloc was our strategic partner for two years and, I hope, our partnership for the interest of Kyivans’ will be preserved. Now we are negotiating with the heads of other factions to form the City Council majority.

KP: Are you going to negotiate with the Katerynchuk Bloc and the Lytvyn Bloc and Pylypyshyn to form the majority in Kyiv City Council?

VK: We have had such negotiations. I think you will know the results soon. We can speak about agreements when the negotiations are over and the results are declared publicly.

KP: If you form the majority with your allies, what will be your first step as one of the Kyiv City Council majority leaders?

VK: I wish to cancel the Kyiv City Council decision of October first (on land plots) and declare the main principles which will be the base for the majority’s work. Not the distribution of committees and positions, but to clearly formulate principles that correspond with Kyivans’ interests. Kyiv has many problems and solving each of these problems will be the task for the majority.

KP: What are Kyiv’s main problems that need an immediate solution?

VK: There are many problems. Housing and public utilities are serious problems. Traffic jams, environmental issues and social payments, too.

But, none of these problems can be solved in Kyiv until we solve one of the biggest problems on which all others are based. These are the problems of total corruption and the chaotic construction in Kyiv. All these problems are impossible to solve without a strategy for city development. And we have a clear strategy on how to solve the problems and a clear plan to rid corruption.

KP: If the plans for creating a majority fail, will you work on uniting the opposition forces in Kyiv City Council? Have you planned a strategy for working in the opposition?

VK: We will coordinate our activities. We have plan A and plan B, but let’s solve problems as they arise.

KP: The next mayoral elections will be held in two years. Are you going to run again?

VK: I don’t have a goal to put the medal “mayor” on my chest, to become famous, to add several zeros to my bank account. I am a rather rich person. My goal is for Kyiv to become the center of Europe. To reach this goal I give my strength and time and if it will help me to reach this goal, I will run for mayor again.

KP: Are you planning to try yourself in the next parliamentary elections?

VK: I am sure that Ukraine, not only Kyiv, needs change. Kyiv is Ukraine’s heart and all changes start in Kyiv. I am sure that Ukraine needs new politicians who support European values and understand European standards of living.

KP: What is your impression from the first session of the new Kyiv City Council?

VK: All I can say is a proverb I repeated many times before: “The fox can change color, but it never changes its character.”


No comments:

Post a Comment

Other Klitschko News....

Popular Posts