- NYC creates ID card so 500K illegal immigrants can get services
- Florida judge slaps GOP’s redistricting plans: You ‘made a mockery’ of process
- Muslims give Obama high marks over first half of 2014
- Pennsylvania sends draft notices to 14K dead men
- KISS rocker Gene Simmons touts 1 percent life: ‘It’s fantastic’
- Texas shooting suspect had faced other charges
- Californian who sold secret to China sentenced to 15 years in prison
- Couple, 3 kids among 7 killed in Massachusetts apartment fire
- Angry mom to Obama: Feds let illegal immigrant stay and ‘KILL my son!’
- Mideast hostilities ratchet as rockets from Lebanon strike Israel
Nationalists perform strongly in Ukraine vote
Question of the Day
KIEV (AP) — A right-wing party has promised to fight for greater democracy and a pro-Western course for Ukraine and to defend the Ukrainian culture and language. But the Svoboda (Freedom) party has also been tainted by its anti-Semitic protests and its leaders’ xenophobic statements.
The party made a strong showing in Ukraine’s parliamentary election Sunday, leading some opposition supporters to hope it can help the country’s two main pro-Western parties challenge the presidential party’s strong grip on power. But others are worried about Svoboda’s radical far-right rhetoric in a country already riven by strong cultural and political divisions.
Here’s a look at Svoboda:
With more than 90 percent of precincts counted, Svoboda was poised to get about 8 percent of seats in the 450-seat parliament. Such results are outstanding for a party that was scrambling to pass the 5 percent threshold just a few weeks ago.
Svoboda plans to initiate laws to ban communist ideology, annul a recent law that upgrades the status of the Russian language and oust the Russian navy from a base it leases in Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
Svoboda has called the other two opposition groups — the Fatherland Party, led by jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko, and the Udar (Punch) party, headed by world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko — to form an anti-government alliance in parliament.
Flamboyant leader, abusive rhetoric
Svoboda is headed by Oleh Tyagnybok, a charismatic 43-year-old former urologist usually clad in a traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt. Born in the western city of Lviv, the stronghold of Ukrainian nationalism, Mr. Tyagnybok is a skilled orator, known for his passionate speeches.
But some of his and his colleagues’ statements have been openly insulting.
Mr. Tyagnybok has repeatedly used derogatory terms to refer to Jews, and last year Svoboda activists protested a pilgrimage by thousands of Hassidic Jews marking the Jewish New Year in a Ukrainian city.
Yuri Sirotyuk, a senior member of Svoboda, caused an uproar last year when he said that a singer of African descent was a bad choice to represent the country in the Eurovision song contest because she is not part of Ukrainian culture.
Mr. Tyagnybok, however, denies that his party promotes ethnic hatred.
“Svoboda’s voters are protest voters,” said political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko.
Observers warn that the rise of nationalism in Ukrainian politics may provoke a backlash in the country’s eastern and southern regions, where ethnic Russians make up the majority.
Maria Danilova contributed to this report.
TWT Video Picks
Senate majority leader practices politics of personal destruction
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- PRUDEN: 'Dirty Harry' Reids increasing eccentricity
- Pennsylvania sends draft notices to 14K dead men: 'We made a mistake'
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- IRS employee suspended for pro-Obama activities
- Obama seeks brisk passage of border children funding bill
- Israel rejects talk of cease-fire; Hamas targets suspected nuke site
- Amid border crisis, Obama to take 15-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard
- BRUCE: The feds plot to steal your paycheck
- GOP: Lerner warned IRS employees to hide information from Congress
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs
U.S.-Ghana World Cup opener