Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tuesday update..

The President's official website announces that Yushchenko will be meeting the leaders of the the electoral blocs and parties for consultations today , in particular PR, BYuT, NSNU, and Socialists.

As far as I can see, political experts, of which there are no shortage in Ukraine, and with about 70% of the vote counted, are tending to predict a PR-NSNU coalition rather than a BYuT-NSNU coalition.

Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz and possible 'king-maker' may be giving a clue when he told journalists, "The position of the President is that there should be a state coalition. As to its color, this is to be decided later." His deputy added, "We consider that there should be a blue and yellow coalition." [ie colors of Ukraine's national flag]

Yesterday one of Tymoshenko's closest aides, Mykola Tomenko, at a press conference probably best described what is going on. He said that NSNU's top people had had a meeting to decide what to do in light of the likely outcome of the elections.

"The so-called business portion of the party wants to conduct wide discussions about a coalition with PR, but the political portion insists that previous agreements on forming an orange coalition are executed." If a PR-NSNU coalition is established, BYuT will go into opposition. "Let the blue-white millionaires govern [the country]," he added.

My guess is that there will be a lot of shady deals being negotiated for a while between the oligarchs who funded each party or bloc, including BYuT, on how any proposed future government programs affect their businesses. This could take many days or even weeks. These guys have spent, incredibly, almost $1Bn on their election campaigns.

About a 1/4 of this has gone into advertizing, 1/4 to pay agitators and political workers in their tents, and over $100m for paying political headquarters staff. This, no doubt, will be a boost to the Ukrainian economy, but the people who put up the money will be expecting a pay-off.

BYuT's financial sponsors I imagine, would be reluctant for their chosen party to go into opposition too, so they will be pressurizing Tymoshenko not to demand too forcefully the PM position from which she was sacked by Yuschenko last September, but possibly accept the 'consolation prize' of Parliamentary speaker. Tymoshenko leading a newly elected cabinet would be just too much of a humiliation for the President to bear - this is probably the biggest stumbling block to formation of a BYuT-NSNU coalition, even though BYuT would be the senior partner and should be 'calling the shots'.

The problem is that throughout the campaign Tymoshenko's unambiguous message was: 'Vote for BYuT, and if we become the largest orange party, I will be PM; vote for anybody else, and you can't be sure who you will get.' So not much 'wiggle-room' there either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it because I was hoping for the best, but I fear this election was the worst of outcomes. The two strongest parties are not fit to govern, and yet something must be done. The problem with a Regions-NSNU coalition is that Our Ukraine becomes the junior partner. I think while there may have been some 'reform' in Regions, I still don't trust them not to be puppets for the Russians. The problem with a ByuT coalition is Yulia Tymoshenko's unbridled ambition, not to mention her lack of an economic program that looks likely to bring up the country's economy.
Perhaps the best option would be a grand coalition, but that doesn't look too likely to last, and what Ukraine doesn't need now is political instability.
Maybe what we will see, instead of any formal coalitions, is an effort by Yushchenko to simply get a consensus on some PM candidate that can get 225+ votes? Could things then go on an ad hoc basis from issue to issue?