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!