President Yushchenko's Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha has terminated his membership of the pro-presidential 'Our Ukraine' party. His resignation statement was posted on the president's website on Friday.
He is one of 'Our Ukraine's founder members and one of the president's closest confidants, so this step was a big surprise.
"It is now necessary to look for new political instruments, modern forms of political dialogue, political competitiveness and interaction. It is necessary to strengthen the democratic flank, and to ensure democratic political forces can maintain an advantage over parties, who are trying to impose slogans of the past onto society,” wrote Baloha. He intends to play an active role in politics and revealed that he has "concrete political plans" [for the future].
The resignation has set off a flurry of speculation that this is the start of a fresh project to re-elect of Victor Yushchenko for a second presidential term.
Baloha's new political project could take the form of a centrist, liberal party which appeals to both Ukrainians in the eastern and western parts of the country. Its leadership could include those politicians most keen on grand coalition, and names such as Ivan Plyushch, Raisa Bohatyryova, Yuriy Yekhanurov, and even Arseniy Yatsenyuk have been mentioned.
Whether this project has realistic prospects, or whether it could spell the end for 'Our Ukraine', no one can yet say.
LEvko thinks that whatever happens, it will need significant new political figures to emerge 'pronto' if Tymoshenko is to be challenged. Her support is growing in eastern oblasts.
Getting Yushchenko back into office for a second presidential term is a huge political challenge, bearing in mind his current popularity ratings, but he is rumoured to now have some of Ukraine's richest oligarchs e.g. Viktor Pinchuk, Ihor Kolomoyskiy, and possibly even Rinat Akhmetov backing him.
The project would also mean Viktor Yanukovych leaving the battlefield and spending more time at his nearly-complete new residence firing assorted weapons on the shooting range, rowing around the islands on its artificial lakes complete with powerful fountains and waterfall, or plucking the grazing ostriches and llamas.
[Yanukovych is known to enjoy blasting wild boar and the occasional mushroom-collector to bits, so perhaps these animals are being bred for the purposes of the first hobby mentioned..who knows]