Thursday, April 23, 2009

PoR and BYuT planning joint deal?

The leader of PoR, Viktor Yanukovych, intends to stand for president but it's not clear whether this will be in a national election, or if the head of state will be elected by parliament.

Sources close to the 'Kommersant' newspaper assert that PoR and BYuT have recently renewed their talks on constitutional reform in Ukraine.

Right nowYanukovych is slightly ahead in opinion polls, but his ratings cannot be called absolutely stable. However, despite the O.P.'s, PoR are not rejecting the idea of conducting the election of the head of state in parliament. Officially Yanukovych says he's against this, quoting the constitution which provides for national election of the president. Recently parliamentary chairman, Volodymyr Lytvyn, openly declared that he is aware of plans to introduce changes in the constitution of Ukraine concerning the method of electing the president, i.e. by election in parliament. According to Lytvyn these changes are planned to be made "by July this year, in order they be finally accepted in September." 300 votes are required in parliament in order to make changes to the constitution - PoR and BYuT together have sufficient deputies to do this.

According to information obtained by 'Kommersant', last Saturday a meeting took place between Viktor Yanukovych, first parliamentary vice-speaker Olexandr Lavrinovych, prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. and member of the Supreme Council of Justice, Viktor Medvedchuk, during which the plans mentioned by speaker Lytyvyn were discussed.

'Kommersant' claims that Lytvyn was also invited to attend the meeting but he declined to do so. The entire encounter allegedly lasted six hours, and the results of secret O.P.'s were revealed to its participants indicating the PoR leader, having reached round two of the presidential elections, would lose both to Tymoshenko and to Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

The idea of conducting Presidential elections in the Verkhovna Rada is not new. "We proposed a similar initiative last year, but then no one supported it. But now, as far as I know, officially no-one is conducting any negotiations," said PoR spokesman Vasyl Khara. However, at that time negotiations fell through because BYuT refused to accept the conditions set by PoR and introduce corrections into the constitution concerning changes in the Presidential elections procedure.

Now, apparently, the situation changed, and supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko are ready to agree with the proposals advanced previously. "Since the majority of the population are in favour of the national election of the President, it will be complicated to explain why this procedure needs to be changed," says Serhiy Mishchenko, (BYuT), chairman of the VR legal policies committee. At the same time, he claimed that, in theory, an argument for the proposed scenario could be made based on the need to "avoiding a massacre" in the presidential elections.

Meanwhile, at a press conference, president Yushchenko stated: "One political party developed a constitution project which is not relevant to the majority of sections requiring alteration. There was [only] one aim - to plan zones of influence of two political forces for [the next] ten years." He added that the proposed changes: "Ignore the interests of the electors and [are] the formation of a model, which will lead to tyranny."


UkrToday said...

There are many examples in the western democracies were the head of state of appointed by the Parliament. Canada, Australia India and a host of other states where the head of state is hereditary.

At a cots of over 300 Million dollars one has to question that value and justification of a direct election system

The directly elected Presidential system has failed Ukraine.

Ukraine needs a head of state who can represent all of Ukraine, who has the support and trust of a majority of its citizens.

The appointment by a constitutional majority of two thirds of the people's elected representative parliament is not an easy task.

If this change is implemented as suggest in your article then it should be welcomed and embraced.

A step in the right direction

UkrToday said...

On a side note: There was a interesting report in the media that has been largely swept under the carpet.

Kyivpost reports that "The Kyiv Okrug Court of Appeals on April 24 passed a ruling saying President Viktor Yushchenko's decree dated May 24, 2007, dismissing Sviatoslav Piskun from the post of the prosecutor general was unlawful"

This is the second time the Ukrainian Courts have reviewed and ruled against the President on the question of legality of the president's actions.

In May 2007 Victor Yuschenko also dismissed three Constitutional Court Judges in order to prevent the Constitutional Court from ruling against his decrees.

Ukraine's constitution provides for the independence of the Courts and prohibits political interference.

Ukraine as a result of Yushenko's actions suffered seven months of political unrest and instability. Yuschenko has never been held to account for his actions and the Constitutional Court has never ruled on the legality of the Presidents initial decree dated April, 2007 following his interference in the judicial process.

The crimes and unconstitutional acts of Viktor Yuschenko were made worst in that he was and is Ukraine's head of state.

Had Victor Yuschenko been in a Western society he would have been immediately been subjected to review and impeachment.

Equally of concern is that the Executive of the European Council stood by, knowing that Yushenko's actions were unconstitutional and illegal, remained silent and complacent in this serious breach of constitutional law.

The European Council failed the people of Ukraine by denying them the their constitutional rights. In the process they have also undermined confidence in Ukraine's democratic development.

Ukraine must undertake a full and comprehensive review and if need be call on the European Council's Venice Commission to submit a report and assessment of the events and the President's actions.

Anonymous said...

"There was [only] one aim - to plan zones of influence of two political forces for [the next] ten years." He added that the proposed changes: "Ignore the interests of the electors and [are] the formation of a model, which will lead to tyranny."Was Yuschenko referring to his own political parties constitutional reform proposals?

The proposals put forward by Yuschenko are window dressing and would do nothing to resolver the ongoing political crisis and divisions in Ukraine.

The best and only option is for Ukraine to complete the transition from a Soviet Presidential "rule by decree" to a European parliamentary "rule of law" system of governance.

Yuschenko has and continues to oppose democratic reform in Ukraine. Reform that would see Ukraine adopt European standards and European systems as have other former Eastern European Countries

Ukraine's struggle to become a Parliamentary democracy is one that should be supported by Western Nations.

UkrToday said...

The Moscow timeshas a rather telling article by Anders Aslund,

Aslund correctly points out that

"On April 1, the Ukrainian parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to hold the next presidential election on Oct. 25, which will help the country to clarify the political situation. The fundamental political problem, however, lies in the confusing constitutional compromise of December 2004, which was one of the most significant results of the Orange Revolution. Now all major parties demand a transition to a purely parliamentary system that would make it impossible for a president to block all decisions.He also makes the point that

Ukraine's Central Bank made one serious policy mistake. It insisted on maintaining a fixed peg of the hryvna to the U.S. dollar. Because of the apparent safety and obvious profitability, foreign banks transferred short-term, speculative funds to Ukraine, which expanded the domestic money supply as the exchange rate was fixed and boosted inflation similar to what happened in Russia but worse.adding

What ultimately scared foreign investors was Ukraine's open political feuding.The actions and policies of Victor Yuschenko, in particular the events of 2007 where Ukraine suffered seven months of political turmoil and instability have taken its toll on Ukraine. Yuschenko has not acted in Ukraine's best interest and is widely seen as a failed President and a failed leader.

Anders also praises Yulia Tymoshcneko for what he claims

Ukraine has shown exemplary crisis management thanks to a few Ukrainian top officials --notably Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko -- and a good job by the international financial institutions.

elmer said...

Ukrainian Pravda has a very telling article, along similar lines (of a BYuT-PoR) deal, which states that in actuality, the deal involves constitutional changes (I won't call them amendments), which have occurred in 4 stages.

Several secret drafts have been prepared, and they mainly involve deal-making between the 2 sides - Yanuk as Prez, including a guarantee that he gets to keep his personal huge mansion-estate "Mezhihirya", and Tymo as Prime Minister.

Of all things, it seems that one Vladislav Surkov, first deputy of the Russian presidential administration, is involved in the deal-making.

One of the unexpected developments which hastened talks recently is the unexpected rise in the polls of Arseniy Yatseniuk as a presidential candidate, which did not fit in with the Kremlin's plans.

The article outlines 4 stages of talks on the deal, beginning in winter 2008 on an extremely secret basis.

This is all planned on the basis of the 300 votes necessary in Parliament (as opposed to a vote of the people) to make changes to the constitution.

One of the obstacles is Speaker Lytvyn, who is openly against the creation of a mega-coalition.

And, of course, there is the problem of making it not look and smell like what it really is - a backroom manipulative deal designed to firmly entrench 2 political blocs in power, which stinks to high heaven.

Lytvyn, as Speaker, has some say over the processes
in the Parliament.

Plus, Tymoshenko's political base in Western Ukraine will not forgive her for entering into such a pro-Russia mega coalition - her poll ratings dropped when she was widely viewed as buddying up to Putler.

The article has attracted a significant number of comments.

Here's the link:

UkrToday said...

Plots and allegations of sub-plots and counter plots including Yuschenko planning another constitutional Presidential coup.

I would not trust a word the president's office has to say. His acts have not been constructive or democratic.

Yuschenko has contently undermined democratic governance in Ukraine.His proposals for constitutional reform as a serious attack on democratic values as he seeks to install an undemocratic voting system and dived Ukraine into disproportionate regions.

In 2007 he held the country to ransom for 7 months, interfered with Ukraine's Constitutional Court and justice system to prevent the courts from ruling against his decrees, until he got his way and refused to hold early presidential elections as a means of settling the conflict of his making.

Now he wants to dismiss another parliament, without just cause, in order to prevent the parliament from reaching agreement on constitutional reform, This time, now his term of office has come to an end,he wants simultaneous Presidential and Parliament elections. (In 2007 he was opposed to it)

Constitutional reform and the struggle to see Ukraine adopt a European parliamentary system of governance has been has been on the agenda since independence. Yuschenko has opposed Ukraine's transition to a democratic parliamentary system at every step.

IF and its a bog IF Yulia and Party of regions can reach agreement and implement a parliamentary in line with other European states then this would a step in the right Direction

Yuschenko and Elmer advocate a ill-0consioderd single member first past the post representative model.Such a model would divide Ukraine and deny over 50% of Ukrainians the right to representation of a candidate of their choosing. Yushenko's system would build in distortions in the vote and imbalance in the parliamentary representation, turning Ukraine into a Federation of Regions.

I dare say the if Elmer, who lives in the USA, took the time to study the system more carefully he would realise that Yuscheno's proposal would not produce the result he and his fellow Yuschenko supporters would desire.

Any system of reform MUST be based on sound principle of equal democratic representation and not designed to bring about a particular outcome.

The Parliament should where possible reflect the make-up and opinions of the electorate.

There are better democratic alternatives to Yushenko's model.

Create smaller local multi-member electorates, each electorate electing 9 members of parliament by a system of preferential proportional representation with a quota of 10%.

This would provide for a truly democratic representative open list proportional model that reflect the nation. It is then up to the Politicians and the new Head of State to govern in the best interest of Ukraine.

Ukraine needs a first and foremost stabal system of government. Yuschenko has consistently undermined the stability of Ukraine by his actions.

The previous parliament was stable and there was no justification for their dismissal.

The Current government has endured constant acts of betray and sabotage by Yuschenko and his supporters, who in reality only represent 3% of the Ukrainian electorate.

Yushcneko's polices have been destructive and detrimental to Ukraine overall.

The Presidential system has failed Ukraine. Yuschenko has failed Ukraine. It time for a true democratic Revolution.

The October Revolution can not come sooner enough.

Better still would be the right of the parliament to appoint its head of state by a constitutional two thirds majority. Ukraine would save 100's of millions of dollars in holding Presidential ballots.

Anonymous said...

Western parliamentary systems evolved from monarchies under the pressure of changing domestic and external environments. Implementing such a system in a corrupt and chaotic environment of Eastern Europe would lead to a complete take over of a country by organized crime and business interests -- which Ukraine has been moving since the weakening of the presidential powers after the Orange Revolution. The history of the region clearly shows that any reforms can be accomplished only by a strong executive branch, led by a strong president. Look at Russia (although I in no way approve of what happened there, my point stands), and look at Bulgaria, for instance.

elmer said...

The supposed rationale for the constitutional amendments in 2004, during the Orange Revolution, was that the Kuchmites, who clearly were going to lose the presidential election, did not want another - Kuchma.

That is, they (the Party of Regions, the party of Kuchma) did not want someone other than one of their own to emerge and to make the reforms which Yushchenko campaigned on, and which he promised to the people in order to get elected - "all bandits to jail."

So, this mishmash of a Constitution was a "compromise" - to protect incumbent bandits. And as the people recognized - "all bandits to the Rada."

The issue is not a "strong" versus a "weak" president. The issue is implementing a representative democracy, with a system of checks and balances.

Right now, there is no representative democracy in Ukraine. There is an oligarchy, and a dysfunctional system, with judicial and other corruption.

Whom does Yanukovych's son, a member of Parliament, represent in Parliament? Whoever the Party of Regions tells him to - but certainly, not any people.

And the very LAST place anyone should look to for anything is rasha and Pootler.