Even though the VR election campaign does not officially start until August 2nd - its clear that the speculation in a recent article in 'Kommentarii' mentioned in a previous blog, may be quite accurate.
Yesterday NUNS, with much fanfare, initiated their campaign to strip VR deputies of ther immunity from prosecution. [Good photos from Unian here ] Removal of immunity from politicians has been at the centre of BYuT's political platform for several years - other parties have, until recently, been rather lukewarm on this. Thanks largely to BYuT's persistent efforts, a law was passed in April 2006 to take away immunity from thousands of city council deputies.
And today the social policy head in the president's secretariat, Pavlo Rozenko, in a press briefing, demanded that the far-reaching social initiatives presented by the president on 22nd June 2007 be fulfilled.
"All the social initiatives of the President must be realized in the budget for 2008," said Rozenko, adding that the President's secretariat had directed all proposals to the government. "We want to find out what is the official attitude of the government to the social initiatives of the President. All the figures were passed to the Ministry of Finance a month ago. We want an answer to our questions. The nine social initiatives are absolutely realistic, and are not an object of trading between the President and the government, " he emphasized.
Should the president's secretariat be taking such a prominent role in what surely is premature campaigning for NUNS? If a future government does deliver on these initiatives, then the president can claim credit for this. If they don't, he can claim he did all he could, but they didn't obey.
Social welfare initiatives, particularly for the least well off, have always figured prominently in Tymoshenko's manifesto also.
LEvko thinks that NUNS main aim is to become the largest 'orange' party, and second-largest party in the VR. This may be achievable, and would enable them to select the partner of their choice in any ruling coalition, e.g. they would be well placed to break up any PoR/Communist tie-up. They intend to poach as many of BYuT's electorate as possible, but any direct criticism of BYuT will be counter-productive.