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Zelensky bans another Ukrainian opposition party

Kiev liquidates yet another political force amid doubts about the legitimacy of Vladimir Zelensky’s government

A court in Ukraine has banned yet another political party, seizing all its assets at the request of the Ministry of Justice, marking the latest crackdown on opposition under Vladimir Zelensky’s administration.

A panel of judges of the Eighth Administrative Court of Appeal ruled to ban the Nash Krai (Our Land) party, according to a statement on Wednesday.

“The court satisfied the claims of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine: the activities of the political party Nash Krai were banned; the property, funds and other assets of the party, its regional, city, district organizations, primary cells and other structural units were transferred to the state,” it said. More information would be published at a later date on the Ukrainian Judiciary and Verkhovna Rada sites, it added.

The party was registered in August 2011 under the name “Bloc Party,” and renamed to “Nash Krai” in 2014. From 2015, the party positioned itself as a “group of local leaders and businessmen,” who wanted to avoid political games and intrigue, as described by RBK Ukraine. Only three of its members were elected to the Verkhovna Rada as independents in 2019, but the party gained some 1,694 seats in regional administrations during local elections in 2020.

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FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky speaks during a Q&A session with the media.
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Following the escalation with Russia in February 2022, Zelensky banned major political competition, including Opposition Platform – For Life (OPZZh), the second biggest party in terms of MP seats in the Verkhovnaya Rada. In an effort to consolidate the informational front in Ukraine during the conflict, he also cracked down on the media, shutting down multiple television channels associated with his political opponents and consolidating nine of the largest TV networks into a single 24-hour state-run broadcast dubbed “Telemarathon.”

Zelensky’s presidential term expired on May 20, yet he chose not to hold elections under the pretext of martial law he imposed after the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted that the Ukrainian constitution has no provision for prolonging a president’s term in this way. It forbids holding elections during a period of emergency, and explicitly states lawmakers should retain their powers until a new parliament can be elected by the people, he said, calling the current Ukrainian political situation a “usurpation of power.”

June 20, 2024 at 06:33AM

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