Saturday, April 22, 2006

Easter break

«Христос Воскрес!»

President Yushchenko has delivered an address for the Orthodox Easter, asking his people to pray for unity and peace. The holiday break will give politicians a few days to reflect on, and possibly reassess their positions on the question of building a democratic coalition in parliament following last month's elections.

For the NU bloc there are no easy options. The three orange parties combined would have a 17 seat majority max. Even if NU and Yushchenko agree that Tymoshenko be nominated to head a newly-appointed cabinet [something that looks a long way off, but what the majority of NU voters nevertheless want], there would probably be defectors or abstainers when she were to be voted into office to the position of PM in the Verkhovna Rada.

A PR-NU coalition [without the Communists] would command a majority of 41, but the number of defections from NU would be certainly greater than from a democratic coalition mentioned above, particularly if their 'biggest beasts' Yanukovych or Azarov were 'pencilled in' for the position of PM.

However it's been reported today that PR are not setting a condition that Yanukovych be PM in any PR/NSNU coalition. Mykola Azarov is quoted as saying: "Regiony at the moment are not claiming the premiership at all, nor [the positions] of 1st VicePM, or VicePM responsible Fuel and Energy."

This flatly contradicts a statement made by Taras Chornovil several days ago to the media, when he stated: "Yanukovych - PM, and Azarov and Kluyev VicePM's." Now Azarov says that the PR polit-soviet had made no such decision.

According to some analysts, a pivotal role may be played by Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz. If he could be persuaded to join a grand coalition which excluded some of the less palatable PR leaders, then BYuT could be shut out, joining the Communists in opposition. Such a PR-NU-Socialist grand coalition would be more acceptable to NSNU voters, and it would be Tymoshenko who would be seen as 'the party pooper'. The Socialists' 33 seats in the new parliament would be useful too.

So plenty for everyone to think about, and plot, over the Easter break.

Finally 'The Independent,' in an article entitled: 'Russian gas giant could leave Europe in the dark,' includes this: "The Russian government has strengthened its grip on the media by closing in on a controlling stake in the country's best-selling tabloid, Komsomolskaya Pravda. State-controlled Gazprom Media is reportedly waiting for the deal to be approved by the anti-monopoly commission." Haven't Gazprom got enough on their plates?

ps Maybe the Ukrainian economy is doing better than generally accepted. It's been reported that sales of new automobiles is booming - there's been a 43% year-on-year sales increase. Some showrooms are even experiencing shortages. 32% of the market is dominated by AvtoVAZ, 13% Daewoo, and 10% ZAZ....[no snickering at the back..]

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