Sunday, April 09, 2006

What the 'Prez' really wants?

Yesterday's Presidential radio address was a balancing act, it included passages to cheer the Orange coalition brigade, as well as the 'Grand coalition' supporters.
  • E.g. "[in the elections] the electorate preferred those political forces which supported me in the 2004 presidential election."
  • And yet: "the government to be formed by a coalition should be a government of all Ukrainians and not only of those who backed certain political forces."
But it did include several passages to show that the Yushchenko is dissatisfied with the political reforms that came into effect January 2006, whereby more power was divested from the President's hands to the VR and cabinet.
  • "Political reform... upset the balance of state power and did not provide effectiveness and harmony to the issue of interaction between the president, parliament, government, the centre and the regions. The issue of improving the Constitution of Ukraine will undoubtedly be on the agenda of the work of the coalition in parliament."
  • He is also very keen on: "The speedy formation of a viable Constitutional Court of Ukraine [which] should be the new Supreme Council's [VR or parliament's] first test on compliance with the constitution."

It is this Court that has the power to possibly declare the above-mentioned political reforms unconstitutional, and nullify them.

Some observers speculate that the agreement to overturn Constitutional reforms could be a bargaining chip to be proposed to Tymoshenko, i.e. Yushchenko agrees to her ardent wish to become PM [but with much reduced powers] if she agrees to push through annulment of the January 2006 political reforms, and return to the President the very significant powers enjoyed by Kuchma.

All this is highly ironic, of course. The adoption of Constitutional reform in December 2004 by a large majority in the old VR was the 'trade-off' Yushchenko made in order that Kuchma agree to the 26th December re-run in the Presidential elections. At the time Tymoshenko argued that Yushchenko, true to form, was being too soft, and was giving away too much to Kuchma's cronies in the VR, just as victory was in sight. [At the time these cronies probably felt reasonably confident that they would be re-elected in March 2006, and the reforms would enhance their power, whilst reducing Yushchenko's power.]

All but one of Tymoshenko's deputies voted against Constitutional reform, as did a significant portion of NU deputies. [Oddly, neither Yush not Yulia voted.] There is a snag though. Moroz and the Socialists have always been keen on Constitutional reform, and the reduction of Presidential powers. They are also an essential constituent in any 'Orange coalition'. Saturday's address may indicate Yushchenko is more interested in returning to the old Constitution which would have provided him with enhanced powers, than in the formation of a Parliamentary coalition.

Response to Comment: Socialist leader Moroz is getting old. Just a guess, but I think he would like get his hands on the levers of power for a year or two, in whatever political arrangement, before retiring.

There is a greater likelyhood of PR breaking up into fractions if they are driven into opposition. Poroshenko and other 'biznismyeny' in NSNU wanted to 'leave the door open to other democratic forces' apart from BYuT and the Socialists, at a recent NSNU political council meeting called to unify policy on formation of a coalition, but 92 out of 134 present voted against such an ammendment. [I wrote of this in a previous blog]

Incidentally, a recent article in 'Ukraina Moloda' [which also mentions the above] states: "Yushchenko, as opposed to many of his fellow party members, AGREES to the election of Yuliya T to the PM position. But agreements must be first formalized with certain conditions". The editor of 'Ukraina Moloda', Mykhaylo Doroshenko and Viktor Yush go back a long way - some say he is one of Prez's closest [non business] confidants...


Anonymous said...

Any chance that part of PR will break away to join a NSNU and BYUT coalition that will leave out the Socialists?

This seems like a reasonable compromise.


LEvko said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

There's been an important Zerkalo article on the past election.

I guess I would hope that Yusch shows wisdom in how far he can go in influencing the conditions for the coalition and that he takes responsibility for his failures of leadership and promises to do better in these coming years...