Friday, January 08, 2010

'Strong president' arriving soon?

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...

1 comment:

UkrToday said...

We wait with baited breath., S tong president does not exclude a strong Parliament. Ukraine is at a Cross road it can other embrace a European parliamentary system of governance or revert back to a soviet style presidential autocracy.

25 out of 27 EU states are governed by ta Parliament.

It Ukraine wants to be a member of the EU then it is best adopting a parliamentary system as is the case with Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Czech Republic.

If it reverts back to a presidential system then I think Ukraine can at best is hope for an associate membership only.

Ukraine has only been a semi democracy since 2006. And it has been plagued by a president who has undermined its stability and success. Both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko have experienced the problems associated abuse of presidential authority.

Hopefully there will be extensive debate and a unficed position within the parliament as to which system to adopt. As to current opinion polls it all depends on how you ask the question.

If you ask Do you support Ukraine adopting a European democratic parliamentary system of governance or would you support a return to dominance under a society style presidential system? You might get a different response then if you ask Do your support a string President or a String parliament.

A parliamentary system is by far more democratic and stable if it is not undermined by a head of state.

Tymoshenko and Yanukovych to face off in final round

Nothing has changed in the election to warrant any major shift in support form that reported in the last published opinion polls. There is just over one week left before the first round ballot. Voters do not swing in that magnitude without a major issue or crisis pending. The election would have to be rigged for any significant change in outcome.

The suggestion that Yushchenko will come in third this is pure fantasy. The ballot papers are printed. Yushchenko would have to persuade Yatseniuk and the voters to back him. Something I doubt either would do. If Yatseniouk pulls out then Tymosheko's vote will increase. Such is the extent that Ukraine despises Yushchenko.

If Ukraine had adopted a preferential voting system then maybe Yushchenko could climb up the middle but Ukraine has a first-past-the-post system.

Yushchenko has 17 candidates running against him, four from his own party. He will come in a distant fifth on a tie with Symonenko. Tigipko and Yatseniuk and will hold third and fourth place respectively.