Here are some loosely translated portions of an article entitled 'Spring offensive - Tymoshenko-Yanukovych pact', from Saturday's 'Gazeta po Kiyevski':
Prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko had hardly recovered from her recent illness, when she gave a significant press conference. The proposals advanced are so suprising they cannot but attract attention.
Tymoshenko hinted that constitutional reform cannot go in the direction determined by the President, and [in order to prevent this] BYuT is ready to negotiate with the Party of Regions.
Tymoshenko proposes determining either to remove from the system of authority the post of the President, or the premiership, i.e. dispose of the current dual power structure. This proposal is about possibly changing the form of administration from a parliamentary-presidential model, not to a presidential model, as Yushchenko wishes, but on the contrary, to a parliamentary model. The leader of BYuT is sure that the proposal on the liquidation of the post of President could be passed through the parliament.
On what is this assumption based? The total votes PoR and BYuT could muster together is more than 300 - i.e sufficient to change the constitution. "The consolidation of political forces in the parliament is possible only for adopting the new constitution with
a purely parliamentary form of administration. The other possible version of the constitution - a presidential form of administration - would not be passed by default in the Ukrainian parliament", said Tymoshenko.
This "possible consolidation" can be perceived as a signal to the leader of 'Regionaly'. If the speculation of political scientists is correct, then the leader of PoR, Yanukovych, was not taken into the account by negotiators either from the president's administration or from 'Regionaly', when there was talk of another consolidation - around Yushchenko.
The association of large financial-industrial groups from both east and south of the country for the advancement Yushchenko's second presidential election bid has been mooted.
These proposals to 'Regionaly' from Tymoshenko are a direct answer to the intrigues of the head of President Yushchenko's secretariat, Viktor Baloha, who is garnering resources for Yushchenko's bid for a second term in office, and is simultaneously organizing pressure on the premier and her government.
Premier Tymoshenko is yet again demonstrating that attempts to drive her into a corner will end in failure. But chances for BYuT and PoR to agree do exist. It is sufficient to recall their 'situational voting' to overcome the presidential veto on the KabMin laws which increased the authority of the government. And both of leaders, Tymoshenko and Yanukovich, have not bad confidence ratings amongst the electorate.
But simultaneously, Tymoshenko's words are a signal to Yushchenko that it is not yet too late to agree, to resuscitate coalition, and to find a compromise to problematic questions. Not in vain did Tymoshenko specify that BYuT will participate in the introduction of changes in constitution on the basis of the consensus between all political forces of the country.
It will be clear very soon if her signals have been received by the President's secretariat.
Tymoshenko stated on Saturday that from 1st March 2008, gas into the Ukraine will be supplied exclusively to State gas company Naftohaz. According to her, during negotiations between the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine (in February 2008) it was agreed that at some time during a period of 3 months beginning 1st January, gas would be received directly by Naftohaz Ukrainy.
The last statements of premier on gas are very bold, especially viewed against the background of criticism from the president's secretariat, and the blackmail by Russian Gazprom, who promise to reduce delivery of gas toUkraine by 25% from 3rd March.
Yulia T has seized the initiative from Yushchenko and has consciously aggravated the crisis. The calculation is simple - her rating is on the rise and her chances against Yanukovych in early elections (presidential or parliamentary) are improved. And why should she give time to Yushchenko to regroup and finally agree a deal with the new Kremlin administration, which is on the verge of being reformed? This is why Tymoshenko "does not exclude" early presidential and parliamentary elections in the event that a new constitution is adopted.
p.s. On Sunday, official spokesman for Gazprom, Sergei Kupiyanov, appearing on a Ukrainian TV channel said that no contracts for supply of gas to Ukraine have been signed yet even though, "All the required documents, particularly agreements were already prepared on 14th February, and send to Naftohaz Ukrainy on the 15th of February...No official reply has been received, these documents have not been signed yet.. A scandal is guaranteed, for sure.."
LEvko thinks if Russia cuts off some of Ukraine's gas supply, as it has promised to do, and the story hits the media again, then Tymoshenko will have succeeded in spoiling newly-elected president Medvedev's big day tomorrow..