If Yanukovych wins the presidential race in under two weeks time he would undoubtedly want to remove Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from office.
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