Speaking live on the popular 5th TV Kanal Nov. 6, the secretary of the national security and defense council, NSDC, Rayisa Bohatyryova, said the number of flue victims is so large it may be necessary to declare the state of emergence to effectively deal with the outbreak. [According to the health ministry, as of Nov. 5, there were 13 cases of the swine flue by a London lab. The number of Ukrainian who died from all kinds of flue and cold stands at about 100, or fewer than in 2008 – Ed.].
The constitution gives enough legal ground for Yushchenko to declare the emergency, Bohatyryova claimed.
As the country’s politicians cannot join their forced to combat the flue epidemic, the state of emergency may help to do this, Bohatyryova continued. All the causes of why Ukraine found itself amid the flue hurricane must be investigated and perpetrators be brought to account. But the punishment can come later. Not it is important to help the population and not to sow panic, the official summed up.
Another Yushchenko insider, his deputy chief of staff Ihor Popov believes the uncontrolled swine flue epidemic is a good enough reason for putting off the presidential election till May 30, Popov writes in his article “Elections lead to swine scenario” published by the Ukrayinska Pravda.
The flue outbreak has radically changed the course of presidential campaigning in Ukraine. It affected campaign priorities, played havoc with campaign plans, leading candidates’ teams to revise spin tactics to hype their candidates, Popov said.
In his opinion, the outbreak in Ukraine was quite timely, as without all the hubbub and rhetoric about the flue the ratings of presidential candidates would not have changed even by Feb. 7. It is the full-sized epidemic, when all Ukrainians are involved with their emotions and panic, that can affect the voting results, the official claimed.
Popov ruled out the purposeful nature of the outbreak. “Experts proved that the epidemic is here and it will take more than a week to deal with it. Unfortunately, we missed the start of the epidemic, as we did the financial crisis,” Popov noted.
Popov then listed benefits from the state of emergency, saying it will allow to control the distribution of drugs with the help of interior troops, enforce the ban on mass rallies, ensure implementation of decisions by the NSDC and minimize declarations by politicians regarding the flue handling. Also, the vertical chain of staffs set up as a result of declaring the state of emergency will curb red-tape and competition of ministries.
“I hope, the cabinet will be able to deal with the epidemic without declaring the state of emergency. However, if the virus and panic are not brought to heel, the head of the government will be faced with a serious dilemma,” he warned.
“If the state of emergency is declared for 2 months, the new date for presidential election can fall on May 30 to coincide with local elections, something which will save the country a billion hryvnia. Double elections will complicate the work of election commissions but we have to save in the recession,” Popov stressed.