Premier Tymoshenko's personal website runs a posting entitled: "Yulia Tymoshenko is expecting to submit a project of changes to the Constitution next week." It quotes her as saying: "I really expect that next week changes may be submitted to parliament on the basis of a consolidated majority in the VR [parliament]."
'Gazeta po Kiyevski' have provided quick analysis on her declaration:
BYuT leader stakes all - it cannot be excluded that she is bluffing, and that there are not the 300 votes in parliament required to change the Constitution.
The premier is possibly simply frightening the president that she will reduce his powers if he proves to be intractable.
Prime minister Yulia Timoshenko has unexpectedly declared that next week in parliament she may introduce changes to the Constitution. And she hopes that for this purpose, a constitutional majority of 300 votes will be collected. Rumours of unofficial negotiations between BYuT and the opposition may be shown to be true. The purpose of these arrangements, is, clearly, the transfer of powers between the government, the president and parliament.
Political scientist Konstantin Bondarenko assumes the leader of BYuT's statement indicates that she is already aware of the results of these secret negotiations.
Others do not agree: while the Constitution project has not received public support and all political forces have not approved it, statements about 300 votes is mere political spin or bluff, they say. Tymoshenko simply wishes to score political points over the president.
Blackmail or not, next week parliament returns to work after the May holidays.
'Gazeta po Kiyevski's sources reveal that events may pan out very quickly: the bill is to be sent to the Constitutional Court and the current VR session is to accept it in the first reading. BYuT will demand the president quickly puts forward any proposed ammendments. "We will consider all proposals, introduced to parliament," said BYuT deputy Valery Pisarenko. "We propose cardinal changes be made on how power is distributed. They will concern parliament, the president, Constitutional Court, the Central Electoral Committee, and the Office of Public Prosecutor. It will be the reformation of the country to a parliamentary republic. And the opposition will acquire the right to form governing bodies in parliament and to supervise executive authority. The president will no longer have powers to influence the economy. He will not be able to block the work of the government. The president will remain the guarantor of the rights and freedoms of citizens. Governors will finally be subordinate to the Cabinet of Ministers. The president will be only able to send them greeting cards on Holy days. He will not have any relation to executive authorities, and appointments in the system of executive authority will be made with the participation of the prime-minister," said the BYuT deputy.
Pisarenko added the president can make proposals, but doubts, that Yushchenko could gain even 100 votes of support. Optimistic forecasters in BYuT suggest that by the autumn the country could already be living under the new Constitution.
But in the Party of Regions, on whose support Tymoshenko is counting, no-one has yet confirmed these arrangements.
"Perhaps, conceptually in the things BYuT proposes it is possible to say, that they can be supported," said 'Regional' Yuriy Miroshnichenko. "We have our own project; we too have prepared systemic changes intended to finalise political reform, the liquidation of two centers of influence on executive authority, and guaranteeing real local self-government."
The pro-presidential fraction, NUNS, meanwhile does not have a uniform position on these initiatives. In the opinion of NUNS deputy Yuriy Karmazin, a minimum of a year is required for the process of modification of the fundamental law of the land, so therefore it is hardly possible to expect any amendments to the Constitution already during this VR session.
Even though the compromise of 2004, when many changes to the Constitution were brought about in one packet, is still too memorable, this was result of political arrangements at the time of the orange revolution.
LEvko wonders if this is just a bit of 'tit-for-tat'. Some days ago Tymoshenko postponed an official visit to Sweden because of the tense political situation in Ukraine. Later next week Yushchenko is to be in Great Britain on an official visit. He is to meet members of the Royal family and top politicians, and also address a prestigious gathering. Maybe Yulka is just trying to spoil his trip..