Friday, May 02, 2008

Tymoshenko's three-pronged attack

A few days ago EDM posted an excellent account of the showdown between President and PM over the State Property Fund [SPF] and the sale of the important Odessa Portside Plant [OPP].

An article in "4Post" website provides more detail. Here are some loosely translated portions:

The sharp attack of Yulia Tymoshenko on the State Property Fund could be the prologue for fresh elections. The leader of BYuT must soon determine for what post in the state administration system is it worthwhile fighting for at full power.

Bids from potential buyers of the Odessa Portside Plant have to be submitted to the SPF by 12th May. In actual fact the anti-monopoly committee will not accept any submissions after May 5th, so this is the real cut-off day for bids from investors. On May 20th the sale of the OPP is scheduled to take place in the grand hall of cabinet of ministers. It will be recorded and broadcast on television, as with the "Krivorozhstal' auction. This information appeared in the latest SPF bulletin "Vidomosti Pryvatizatsii', but the edition was declared as a fake and forgery by sacked former SPF head Valentyna Semenyuk-Samsonenko.

The Kabmin is ignoring all the President's Decrees on the question of the privatization of this strategic plant, which has become pivotal in determining who is master [hospodar] of the country.

A meeting is to take place on May 6th of all leaders of regional SPF departments within walls of the Kabmin under the direction of Andrey Portnov, who was appointed head of the SPF by Tymoshenko to replace Valentyna Semenyuk, even though Yushchenko demanded she remains in place. [The SPF office has been described as a layered cake - floors 1,3,5 occupied by Portnov's people, and floors 2,4,6 occupied by Semenyuk's people]. Tymoshenko has warned that if the regional SPF heads do not turn up, their oblast governors will be held responsible, and BYuT will demand they be sacked. [They are, of course, now appointed by the Pres.] The premier has, for a while had serious pretensions to the heads of oblast administrations because the government, in spite of the law, has had no influence over their designation. Official letters from Tymoshenko to President Yushchenko have been leaked to the press requesting that the practice of designation of governors by him be ended.

What is clear is that Tymoshenko is engaging in as many battles as possible with the president.It is far from certain that the planned 20th May sale of OPP will take place - the president's secretariat on Bank Street have a team of pragmatic lawyers too, who will initiate judicial actions advantageous for themselves. The legal tangle may mean that the income from OPP's privatization may fall well short of that which was expected.

In the course of the struggle for the SPF Tymoshenko is again setting the pace of the political process, demonstrating that protracted delays are not for her. During January of this year the PM began compensation repayments to the depositors of Oshchadbank, and in April demonstrated a determination to obtain additional financial resources for continuing her dynamic social policy.

Recent events show that BYuT has rolled out offensives in three directions: a fight to ammend the Constitution, to establish of control over the SPF enabling replenishment of state coffers, and to win pre-term Kyiv mayoral and council elections. Fighting battles on three fronts is a difficult business. The leader of BYuT's absence of military education, may mean she is not aware of the danger of fighting on several fronts. Or maybe Tymoshenko is simply striving to find the most suitable configuration for a decisive attack.

The leader OF BYuT cannot allow herself to enter protracted battles with Viktor Yushchenko which could harm her ratings, hence her blitzkrieg tactics. All the crises enumerated above: the stand-off over the SPF, voting for the Kyiv mayor and city council, and perspectives for the transformation of Ukraine into a parliamentary republic - must be resolved already during May. Then Tymoshenko can determine the direction of her main attack in her fight to gain widest possible powers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What are the legal grounds that Yushchenko claims exist? Article 106 s15 of Ukraine's constitution The President of Ukraine: ... suspends the operation of acts by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on grounds of their inconsistency with this Constitution and challenges concurrently the constitutionality of such acts before the Constitutional Court of Ukraine;

All too often we have seen Yushchenko misuse and abuse his power and authority by making specious and unfounded claims to the Constitutional Court. When he is faced with the courts determination Yushchenko has no qualms by illegally interfering in the independence and operation of the court. Bring on the reform that would see Ukraine become a parliamentary democracy putting an end to the political divisions and power struggle between the President and the Parliament.