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."