Party of Regions
Published 14th October, 2012
The Party of the Regions or PR was founded originally as the Party of Regional Revival of Ukraine (PRVU) in November 1997. It changed its name to Party of the Regions when five other parties, the Party of Regional Revival of Ukraine, Solidarity, the Party of Labor, the Party for the Beautiful Ukraine and the National Party of Pensioners, joined it and the new name came into existence in March 2001. The party describes itself as a centre party, believes in regionalism and is pro-Russian.
The PRVU was founded by the mayor of Donetsk, Volodymyr Rybak and although it did poorly in its first general election in 1998 when it won just 0.9% of the vote it did elect two candidates in constituency seats.
In 1999 the party supported Leonid Kuchma in the presidential election and he went on to win in the second round with 57.7% of the vote.
In the 2002 general election the party joined the pro-presidential bloc “For a United Ukraine” which won 101 seats in the Verkhovna Rada. After a political compromise Viktor Yanukovych was approved as prime minister in 2003 and became the leader of the party with a view to fighting the presidential elections.
The presidential election in 2004 was highly controversial and ultimately led to the Orange revolution in which a third round was called and which Viktor Yanukovych eventually lost to Victor Yushchenko.
In 2006 a fresh general election saw the Party of the Regions win 186 of the 450 seats in parliament and the party managed to cobble together a coalition government with the Communist Party of Ukraine and the Socialist Party of Ukraine. But it was not to last and a new election was called in 2007.
In the fresh elections of 2007 the opposition did a little better and were able to form a government whilst the Party of the regions dropped to 175 seats. The next few years saw a squabbling government lose support and in the 2010 presidential election Viktor Yanukovych was finally successful, winning the election with 48.95% of the vote.
Following the presidential election the Verkhovna Rada was offered two candidates to choose from. They chose Mykola Azarov from the Party of Regions who went on to form a government in March 2010. Mykola Azarov also went on to become the leader of the Party of the Regions with Viktor Yanukovych as the Honorary Leader.