Friday, November 02, 2007

Yanukovych not going nowhere

This from today's 'Kommersant-Ukraina'

At yesterday's cabinet of ministers council, Viktor Yanukovych made it clear he intends to continue to work as prime minister. Most surprising to the members of the media and cabinet present was the fact that, it in every way possible, he supports Viktor Yushchenko's initiatives, several times mentioning the leading role of the President among the institutions of state authority.

He read out his half-hour speech speech at the beginning of the meeting, concentrating not on the events of the past week, but on the forecast of trends of development of the country over the intermediate and long term. The signal given by Yanukovych is he is not intent to leave the post of the Head of Government.

Officials present in the hall were the same opinion, making comments to correspondents to the effect: "Yes, this is the broad coalition road map".

Viktor Yanukovych reminded those present that the election process was complete and soon parliament will renew its work. He named the productive collaboration of parliament and government as their primary task, after calling upon the President to become the guarantor of this collaboration.

The premier then enumerated questions, on which he intends to concentrate the attention his government; in particular the adoption of the state budget, entry of Ukraine into the WTO, acceleration of judicial and agrarian reforms, and overcoming growing inflation.

Yanukovych declared a readiness to acknowledge "errors of the past". "We, and you, should recognize them, and highlight them," he said. The prime minister supported Viktor Yushchenko's ideas on reforming the political system in the country: "The contradictions which exist today must be removed, spheres competence regulated, and a new a hierarchy of democratic state institutions constructed," said Viktor Yanukovych.

The Head of Government reported that without a shadow of doubt, efforts of the branches of authority will be soon united. He several times mentioned the President as the higher authority of decision making. The Premier even intends to examine the question of increases in prices of the basic commodities together with the head of state. Among other things, Mr. Yanukovych promised to soon conduct a session of government dedicated to check whether orders of the President and government are being fulfilled. Several months ago he had declared that the President does not have a right to give to the government instructions.

However, when Viktor Yanukovych spoke of reformation of the economy of the country, he took up a position different to that of the President. The PM considers the role of state in the regulation of the economy must be increased, and called the stance of politicians who ask the KabMin not to interfere in market processes: "economically short-sighted and politically irresponsible".

The priority of the government according to Yanukovych is fighting price increases. He is even ready on Friday 2nd November, together with the President, to take part in an extended conference with experts and leaders of local organs of authority, in order to resolve this question. He accused the latter of inactivity on tackling price increase. The Head of Government gave special attention to increases in the prices of the petroleum products.

He directed fuel and energy minister Yuriy Boyko to complete negotiations with Gazprom on the price of gas for Ukraine within the next ten days. "We all heard the President expressing his position on this subject, that the price of gas, [mentioned by representatives of Russia] is unacceptable for Ukraine. According to our calculations, it should not be above $150-160 per thousand cu.m." noted the premier. He called Ukrainian delegation to raise the question of revision of cost and delivery of gas in the Ukraine. in the course of negotiations with the Russian side.

It is remarkable however, that during his appearance Mr. Yanukovych did not mention the possibility of increasing transit tariffs for gas passing over the territory of Ukraine. But Yuriy Boyko, who left immediately after the appearance of premier, reported that this question will also be brought up during negotiations.

LEvko thinks Yanuk is being smart. The now traditional parliamentary coalition-building is looking a bit shaky, [will it be as Victor Chernomyrdin once commented on an earlier failure: "We hoped for the best, but things turned out as usual?" ] The prime minister and cabinet are rising above this to give the impression that they [and now with the president, it seems] are running the country. Yanuk is aware that the price to be paid for a broad PoR-NUNS coalition is his own head [see my previous postings on this]

'Regiony' spokesmen are more openly talking about 'serious concessions', 'serious compromises', and about 'controversial questions' being removed beyond the [negotiation] framework' during the creation of a broad coalition, when its platform is being formed'.

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