Thursday, March 23, 2006

Reconstituted Orange, or biggest come-back since Lazarus?

Will the Sunday's Parliamentary elections result in a reconstituted orange NSNU-BYuT coalition government, or in an NSNU-PRU coalition government, with Yanukovych making the biggest come-back since Lazarus? [OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but still..]

With two days to go there is no let-up in mutual recriminations between the two biggest former orange partners. Today BYuT's election campaign chief, former head of the SBU [security services], and part-time baptist minister Oleksandr Turchinov, sensationally accused NSNU of preparing to fiddle Sunday's election results using an intermediate 'transit server' - a technique used by Kuchma's cronies in the Electoral commission headquarters during the 2004 Presidential elections.

And in an extensive newpaper interview today when asked if he saw any possibility of Tymoshenko becoming PM again, President Yushchenko replied, " To be frank, it's not very pleasant for me to comment on this question.." When answering another question, he assertively declared: "I know for sure who will not be PM.."

So its looking as if the latter coalition possibility is becoming more likely.

Many commentators, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty envisage it will provide: "A much more stable scenario..." They go on to say: "A cabinet supported by Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions would seemingly enjoy the safety net of parliamentary backing...Since Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions are essentially run by oligarchs representing the interests of big business in Ukraine, there would be few obstacles to them agreeing on a basic set of economic, financial, or social reforms. However, such a coalition might encounter difficulties defining Ukraine's foreign-policy priorities and goals. The parties "traditionally" have opposite geopolitical agendas, largely due to the fact that the Party of Regions' electorate is primarily located in Russia-leaning eastern Ukraine, while that of Our Ukraine is principally based in the west of the country, which has closer affinities to Western Europe."

Other commentators consider a PR-NSNU coalition on the cards too - they detect that PR are not putting as much emphasis on closer ties with Russia. In an interesting piece in the BYuT-leaning 'Obozrevatel' its writer claims that after the Orange Revolution debacle, for a while, 'all doors were closed for Viktor and Rinat' [at the Kremlin].

Tellingly, PR chose a team lead by the 'US Republican campaign virtuoso' Paul Manafort, rather than haughty Kremlin political technologists, to mastermind their election campaign.

PR's comments on NATO, WTO, and other acronym outfits have been relatively muted as the campaign has developed, and there has also been an alleged secret meeting between highly placed US officials and the top PR people, including Yanukovych. Apparently then, the PR-NSNU union has been blessed from 'on high'. When the Russians got to know about this meeting, "The stars on [top of] the Kremlin almost fell off," according to an 'Oboz' source.

ps Today's 'Kommersant' runs a story that Ruslan SALIS GmbH - a Russian/Ukrainian JV, has won a NATO tender for Antonov cargo aircraft. No sense in politics getting in the way of business is there..

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