Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
An article in Unian suggests this could be done in three ways: by a legitimate process, an illegitimate process, or by an alternative process.
The legitimate process would include winning a vote of no confidence in parliament, forming a new coalition, forming a new government, and approving a new prime minister.
In theory PoR would be able to garner enough votes to pass a no confidence resolution, but not enough to create a new government-controlled majority.
In order to form a majority coalition it is not sufficient to have the support of a majority of deputies - the majority coalition must nominally include sufficient complete factions to have a majority in parliament. Without the participation of Yulia Tymoshenko's Bloc in a ruling coalition, even if the PoR faction is joined by the Lytvyn Bloc and the Communists, they still require the support of the NUNS faction.
About 36 NUNS deputies [out of 71] are oriented towards BYuT - if Tymoshenko goes and early elections are called, they will find themselves out on the street, so clearly they will not favour joining any new coalition.
The remaining deputies that remain loyal to Yushchenko also potentially interested in limiting the impact of PoR in the government and in the preservation of the current parliament, as they also may not get back into the parliament. However members of this group may be given certain guarantees from Yushchenko, Yatsenyuk or Tihipko and may be placed on these leaders' electoral lists in any future elections.
About 5 to 8 members of the NUNS faction are loyal to Viktor Baloha, but they also are not interested in the removal of Tymoshenko, because in the event of early parliamentary elections, they have virtually no chance to getting on electoral lists of any party likely to overcome the three-percent threshold to enter parliament. The same is true for a smaller, residual group of NUNS deputies.
Any attempt to change the government, therefore, is problematic. The NUNS deputies could, possibly, agree to replace Tymoshenko with someone not from PoR, e.g. Viktor Yushchenko, but considering Yushchenko's miserable electoral performance, such a move would damage PoR's voter appeal and is unlikely. In theory, PoR and NUNS could offer this position to e.g. Arseniy Yatsenyuk or Yuriy Yekhanurov, but a Tihipko candidacy would be viewed with suspicion by PoR.
The Lytvyn bloc in parliament would not favour any early elections either. Their leader's poor showing in the presidential first round elections indicates that they may not enter into any new parliament, and Lytvyn himself would lose his current important pivotal parliamentary speaker position.
Non legitimate means of removing Tymoshenko are unlikely - they would result in a major backlash in any future elections.
An alternative process would involve the election of a compromise candidate, acceptable to all political players, but who would not support early parliamentary elections. The staging of early "semi-legitimate" parliamentary elections, as in 2007, cannot be ruled out, particularly in view of the parlous state of the country's finances and the consequent risk of government default.
Another option would be a new Constitutional Court decision requiring the government to constantly benefit from the support at least 226 deputies. If the government cannot satisfy such a requirement there would then be legitimate grounds for early elections. But this would not reduce the need for PoR to remove Tymoshenko before then. They would dearly like to deprive her of any administrative and financial capabilities provided by the post of prime minister. In addition, they themselves would want access to administrative and financial levers of power, which would provide the opportunity to use information gained to discredit their arch-enemy.
The Unian article also hypothesizes on events that would follow a Tymoshenko victory..but maybe more on this later..
p.s. My views on speculation surrounding 'bronze medalist' Serhiy Tihipko:
Tymoshenko made a cunning and desperate move in her attempt to gain some of Serhiy Tihipko's votes from the first round of the elections by letting electors know that if she becomes president, Serhiy Tihipko will be offered the PM's chair.
However, if as it seems far more likely, Yanukovych is elected president, Tihipko could be left out in the cold - other PoR pretenders for the PM's chair will not be happy to have an interloper dash their own ambitions at the moment their leader has been elected president and when imminent personal financial reimbursements could be put at risk. Tihipko, who has no political base in parliament, has has allegedly clashed on business matters with Rinat Akhmetov in the past.
If PoR manage to set up a new parliamentary coalition why should they call early elections and possibly lose some of their voters to Tihipko's 'Strong Ukraine' political project? PoR will not be too happy to have their vote diluted by leakage to Tihipko in any such early elections. If Tihipko 'cozies up' too close to PoR he will lose the support of those amongst his electors who are more likely to have BYuT and Tymoshenko as their second preference.
A straw poll at the end of last Friday's Savik Shuster show, following a long debate between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko deputies, revealed that amongst those in the representative studio audience who had voted for Tihipko in the first round of voting, about 2:1 were more convinced by the arguments made by Tymoshenko's people than those of her rival.
In most western countries bankers such as Tihipko are 'keeping their heads down' right now - they are the ones who are principally being blamed for the current global crisis..He has had a very easy ride so far in his recent political career - but there are weaknesses that make him vulnerable to attack.
Neverthess, he is safe in the knowledge that that either new president has to deliver, or his [or her] political project is at an end. Voters will only give the winner of the presidental elections one more chance before a third force eventually come to the fore.
In the meantime the words of one British PM will be going through Tihipko's mind: "We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies..."
p.p.s . Another short video from the 'FT' on the elections here
Monday, January 25, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Don't know where he found time to make it between packing his suitcases, and flicking through exotic holiday brochures..Ah..just a few more weeks..
Monday, January 11, 2010
The main points are as follows:
Both Viktor Yanukovych's and Yulia Tymoshenko's attitude to democracy and civil liberties are the same: "Democracy and freedom are good when we are in opposition, but bad when we in power".
However it cannot be said that the consequences for Ukraine will be the same whichever of these two candidates becomes president.
In case of a Tymoshenko victory Byelkovsky proposes the following scenario:
Party of Regions falls apart or ceases to exist in its current form. As a 'quasi-political' structure created by a few big business groups it needs to be in power or have a good chance of acceeding to power quickly. Long spells in opposition are of no concern to them.
Yanukovych's possible successor as the political leader of the South and East parts of the country will not be fundamentally hostile to the Ukrainian authorities. Instead, he will try to find a compromise with Tymoshenko and lead a constructive opposition, possibly in the current Russian manner.
The ruling parliamentary coalition will grow due to the influx of defectors and will be stable. Any new Prime Minister will be totally loyal to Tymoshenko i.e. Tymoshenko will be at the same time a de facto president and head of government. The threat to democracy and freedom are obvious.
In the case of a Yanukovych victory Byelkovych predicts:
Yulia Tymoshenko will not disappear from the political scene. She is a true charismatic leader that can survive regardless of external circumstances.
Yanukovych's success especially, against the background of Yushchenko's departure, will lead to consolidation of lesser political groups around PM Tymoshenko. In the event of a Yanukovych victory the current parliamentary coalition is unlikely to collapse, on the contrary, it may rally. Obviously Tymoshenko will be against any strengthening of constitutional presidential powers. It will be difficult for Yanukovych to call for early parliamentary elections in such circumstances.
As a result President Yanukovych will have limited powers but will act as strong counterweight to the government and their parliamentary majority. In such a scenario democracy and freedom of speech will be preserved.
[Some BYuT , NUNS and Lytvyn bloc deputies might not 'run to matron' but could be enticed to defect to a re-energized PoR VR fraction. However most if not all of the 72 NUNS deputies would not get back into parliament in any fresh elections..same goes for BL..a powerful disincentive.. LEvko]
Byelkovsy concludes that, ironically, five years after the Orange Revolution, the interests of Ukrainian democracy may be best served by a Yanukovych victory.
He also downplays the chances of Ukraine being drawn into some kind of Russian Eurasian project 'that does not exist'. Ukraine, unlike Russia, does not need a tsar to legitimize the kleptocracy of the type that also exists in many third world countries having an abundance of mineral wealth to be plundered. In Ukraine there are no large stocks of such materials to provide an economic base. Under either future president, Ukraine's movement toward EU and NATO will continue.
p.s. FT is going with Yanik too but pities Ukraine that it has come to this..
The FT editorial should had mentioned economic policy in Ukraine is in the hands of the PM and her cabinet, not in the hands of the president.
Friday, January 08, 2010
Friday, January 01, 2010
In a previous blog I mentioned an excellent in-depth analytic article in 'Leviy Bereg' that followed a seminar held jointly by the publication and the Kyiv Horshenin Institute, to predict what 2010 will bring to Ukraine.
The article makes the following conclusions, which I've loosely translated below:
The battle between Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko will continue, not only during the election campaign, but also after it. Interrelations between these two politicians will determine the state of Ukrainian politics for at least a year - this will be not a battle of ideas, platforms or concepts, but rather an interpersonal fight.
Next year the prerequisites for the formation of a wide coalition and for instilling order in the country will be actualized. The only question at the moment is who is to be the moderator of this process - Yanukovych or Tymoshenko. The style of moderation will depend on which of those two becomes President, as well as what diplomatic moves are made, and what the main subject of negotiations will be, but the result will be one and the same, whatever the scenario. A broad parliamentary coalition with a high ability to co-operate with the president would improve conditions for effective realization of presidential authority.
On February 7th 2010, [the date of the final round of the presidential elections] it will not be just the president that is chosen, but also the prime minister. The result of the election will be decided by the extent one or other main candidate can garner the support of the candidate who comes third in the first round.
Everyone understands well the conditionality of any pledges made to any future prime minister because it is not the President that designates the PM. However, it is obvious that the appearance of a 'tandem' would give either of the two presidential candidates numerous electoral benefits. It appears, at the moment, that most desired partner, both for Yanukovych and for Tymoshenko, is Serhiy Tihipko.
Next year will be a year of rotation of elites. Serious processes with disintegration and the regrouping of large party formations will occur inside political parties. Next year will be the year when new political realities will be conceived.
Whoever becomes president, Ukraine will be fated to reboot its relations with the Russian Federation, but it will not be possible to avoid conflicts. From a predominantly humanitarian plane they will be transferred to an economic plane and will not be limited exclusively to questions of the price of gas.
Whoever becomes President in Ukraine, under the pretext of restoration of order, a roll-back to authoritarianism and curbs to freedom of speech in its current form, will unavoidably occur.
It is unlikely next year will become a year of breakthrough in the economic sphere. The economic crisis will not have been overcome, and political processes (including frequent election campaigns) will only contribute to its deepening.
The primary task of the new president will be to obtain an obedient and loyal parliament, and for the duration of the next year we could see a complete neutralization of the system of parliamentarism in Ukraine - the Verkhovna Rada's role gradually reduced to purely nominal functions.
The role of local self-governance will grow - regional elections will become the third stage of the presidential campaign and either they will make it possible for the new president to consolidate victory, or they will lead to weakening of his, or her, position and will create preconditions for the loosening of the foundations of presidential authority. The elected President will not be able to ignore the interests of regional elites and it will have to build new relations with the regions.
p.s. Happy New Year to visitors of this blog! I'll try and post more regularly in the weeks to come!