In a recent interview in the Austrian daily 'Die Presse', Viktor Yanukovych declares that if he is elected president he will make proposals to parliament to change the Constitution. If they do not confirm the changes, he will call fresh parliamentary elections. He suggests he may call a referendum to ascertain what kind of system of rule the country wants, and says: "In my view, the [current] situation requires a strong president."
Yulia Tymoshenko has similar ideas. The National Radio Company of Ukraine recently ran this:
"In her opinion, it is expedient to make the amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine that would introduce a presidential form of government. Yulia Tymoshenko underscored that only in this way it is possible to put an end to chaos and helplessness in Ukrainian today's politics."
And the man many are predicting to come third in the 17th January presidential elections, Serhiy Tihipko, supports "strong presidential authority" too.
Tihipko could become 'king-maker' after the first round of the presidential elections. Some bloggers have doubts about this, but according to one of the lesser presidential candidates, Inna Bohoslovska, Tihipko has sunk as much money into his election campaign advertising as has Tymoshenko. This is an investment for the future - whether in the PM's chair or the future presidency.
I guess, one way or another, the new president, whoever he[or she] may be, will quite soon have greater levers of power in their hands than the current president.
Incidentally, Bohoslovska also claimed a couple of days ago that Tihipko is in cahoots with Tymoshenko, and that he is "doing everything for a Tymoshenko electoral victory".
There is still a 'what if' question still hanging in the air - What if Yushchenko comes in third? It may be that his OP ratings have been depressed because his supporters are not willing to openly declare their support for him. The same could be said of Tymoshenko's supporters.
If Yushchenko does indeed come in third, what does he do? After years of bitter criticism there's absolutely no chance of him credibly supporting Tymoshenko. But if he openly supports Yanukovych it would be counterproductive and could weaken Yanukovych's position. Tymoshenko and others have repeatedly accused Yu and Ya of working in tandem to prevent her becoming president. However if he announces that he is 'against all', this would, on balance, benefit Yanukovych because the current president's supporters would abstain from voting leaving Yanukovych's first round lead intact. And Yush may even find himself head of the National Bank of Ukraine.. following a Yanik victory...