Ukrainian language law protests may provoke snap elections

By bne IntelliNews July 5, 2012

bne -

President Viktor Yanukovych said on July 4 that snap general elections are possible. The suggestion comes as Ukraine is plunged into political crisis following the resignation of the Speaker of the Rada, and violent protest erupts against new legislation giving Russian the status of official language.

Yanukovich met the heads of several parliament factions to discuss what he called a crisis in the legislature after speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn quit in the wake of the ruling party forcing through the controversial law, reports Reuters.

Without the speaker, Ukraine's parliament is paralyzed, because no laws can be put into force without the signature of both the president and the speaker of the house. Ukraine is due to hold scheduled elections in October, but to break the impasse and end the political crisis Yanukovych suggested that he could move them forwards.

"Yanukovich did not rule out that, if (deputies) fail to stabilize parliament's work, it will be necessary to move on to the early parliamentary election procedure," his office said in a statement.

Lytvyn's resignation was provoked by the passage of legislation that gives the Russian language official status in the country. The ruling Party of Regions sprang a vote on the law on the evening of July 3, leaving the opposition no time to organize a counter vote. The following day, demonstrations against the move turned violent, with riot police and protestors clashing amidst tear gas and pepper spray outside the Rada.

The issue has split the country down the middle. The Party of Regions has promised to make Russian an official language as a sop to its supporters, who largely live in the Russian-speaking eastern parts of the country. The naysayers, who mostly come from the Ukrainian-speaking western part of the country, worry that Ukrainian will be swamped by Russian and the law removes any incentive for those in the east to learn Ukrainian, which will permanently divide the country.

The language law is only the latest screw up by the Yanukovych administration, which has blundered from one PR disaster to the next. Tensions are rising steadily and the elections this October - or sooner - could turn into a flash point.

Related Articles

Ukraine's largest PrivatBank faces down nationalisation fears

Graham Stack in Kyiv - Ukraine's largest lender PrivatBank has survived a stormy week of speculation over its future, but there are larger rocks ahead, with some market participants anticipating the ... more

bne:Chart - Russia begins to steady the ship according to latest Despair Index

Henry Kirby in London - Ukraine and Russia’s latest “Despair Index” scores suggest that the two struggling economies could finally be turning the corner, following nearly two years of steady ... more

Austria's Erste rides CEE recovery to swing to profit in Jan-Sep

bne IntelliNews - Erste Group Bank saw the continuing economic recovery across Central and Eastern Europe push its January-September financial results back into net profit of €764.2mn, the ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss