This Thursday morning the VR passed a resolution to refer a motion to the government to sack Minister of Internal Affairs, Yuriy Lutsenko, a leading orange 'field commander' who had somewhat surprisingly remained in the cabinet after the March 2006 parliamentary elections.
Supporting the resolution were a 'full house' of 186 PoR deputies, a 'full-house' of 21 Communist deputies, 4 Independents, 2 from NSNU, 18 BYuT deputies, and 1 Socialist deputy, providing a a total of 232 votes.
Many of the 18 opposition BYuT deputies who broke ranks with the remainer of their party are rich oligarchic party financiers. Their actions in the morning vote provoked a stern reaction from the party leadership who immediately threatened to 'kick out the traitors'. Tymoshenko commented that the opposition's aim should be to topple the Yanuk government, not sack the Interior Minister.
Even though Lutsenko has broken away from his former party, [the Socialist Party] after its leader Oleksandr Moroz 'betrayed' the Oranges and joined the anti-crisis coalition with PoR taking the job of parliamentary speaker, it seems Lutsenko has the confidence of almost all of the Socialist VR deputies. This despite rumours that the new Socialist fraction leader Vasyl Chushko is being pencilled in by the Yanuk government as a replacement for Lutsenko.
In the afternoon's follow-up vote to sack Lutsenko, the motion just failed to gain the necessary 226 votes - only 223 deputies voted to get rid of the Minister of Internal Affairs, primarily because this time only 11 BYuTivtsi supported the motion, and again, only one Socialist voted 'for'. One or two other VR deputies probably failed to turn up to vote after a liquid lunch, or were otherwise occupied.
The leader of the PoR VR fraction Rayisa Bohatyrova said that they'll try and oust Lutsenko again tomorrow [Friday] when 'the knives will also be out' for Minister of Foreign Affairs Tarasyuk, and Minister of Defence Hrytsenko.
Lutsenko has a reputation amongst neutrals as being 'relatively clean', and in politics is it often dangerous to 'only wound, but not kill'.
Some observers say that the anti-crisis coalition and the Yanuk government could remain in place until 2009, when the next Presidential elections take place. The Socialists have shown they are still a disciplined political force and there is, no doubt, some very serious lobbying going on right now. Many more close and unpredictable votes will be cast in the weeks to come in the VR, and maybe PoR are not as invincible as some think.