‘Fatherland’ and ‘Front for Change’ have announced they will contest October’s parliamentary elections through a unity list. Fatherland is the main opposition party and is led by former PM Yulia Timoshenko, who is currently serving a 7-year sentence following her conviction in October 2011 based on shady accusations of abuse of power. While she lost the 2010 presidential elections against Viktor Yanukovych, the state of the economy and her sentence making her a political martyr, have boosted Timoshenko’s popularity. Front for Change is led by Arseniy Yatseniuk, a former foreign minister and parliamentary speaker. The new unity list will be the main challenger in October for president Yanukovych’ Party of Regions that leads the current government coalition.

Impact on country risk

The association of the oppositional forces follows a recent merger between the Party of Regions and Strong Ukraine, the party of Deputy PM Serhiy Tyhypko, a potential future PM in case Yanukovych’s enlarged bloc holds power following the October elections. However, the consolidation of the fragmented political playing field should not be seen as a stabilising element per se: Mr Yatseniuk has already announced the united opposition could seek an impeachment of Mr Yanukovych if they succeed to rally a majority in parliament. The late consolidation process thus foreshadows an intensification of the endless power struggle in the economically plagued country, which will culminate in October.

Analyst: The Risk Management Team, p.dellafaille@credendogroup.com