Monday, January 11, 2010

Yanukovych presidency best for Ukraine?

There's an interesting piece of speculative commentary entitled 'The matter of Ukraine's Democracy', by Stanislav Byelkovsky, on Ukraine's upcoming presidential election in today's 'UP'

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.


Ring of power said...

It is all superlative any political party that is defeated undergoes a decline and revision in its support base. If Yushchenko loses Our Ukraine will become a spent force and will collapse. Party of regions is not as fragile. They hold poll position and more then likely will win the presidential election. Viktor Yushchenko is effectively campaigning against tymochenko 0 and for Yanukovych.

Kyiv Post has summarized a analytical review published on where a German analysts has predicted a revised democratic revolution supporting Parliamentary democracy in the event that Tymoshenko loses. (something Ukraine should have embraced long ago)

Bloc Tymoshenko can not survive in the long term. No political party based on an individual can.

One the presidential elections are over the question what do they do with the parliament will need to be addressed.

Ukraine can not afford a continued round Robbin of elections.

Local elections are due to be held in May 2010 and Yanukovych, if elected as presidxnet, may opt to force new parliamentary elections be be held simultaneously with local elections. In which case party of Regions will come close to winning a majority of the new parliament but will fall short by 5 seats. If Our Ukraine can hold on and manage to secure more then 3% and retaining the right to representation then we may see a Party of Regions and Our Ukraine coalition in June.

Yanukovych will have his choice of coalition partners, but he will not hold a constitutional majority of two thirds, unless he can form an alliance with Tymoshenko.

An alliance with Tymoshenko is possible before May buy it is difficult to see what common ground could exist other then the need to form a stable government and implement much needed constitutional reform. something both parties have attempted in the past but failed to reach agreement.

Given past experiences and a new found lust for presidential authority I somehow doubt that alliance in the best interest of Ukraine is possible. Certainly not whilst Ukraine maintains presidential system.

Why would Yanukovych want to give up power when he has finally regain it. Power is additive and very few who hold it are prepared to throw the ring into the furnace of creation. (Lord of the Rings analogy)

Matthew said...

I have to say - dodgy Russian polls or not - I really think that man Sergiy Tigipko can get into the second round and win it. Looking through all the election propaganda his seems the strongest - he's handsome, he comes across with the right amount of charisma and he's not 'the other two' - his is a message of optimism and he looks a winner. Yatsenyuk...well are his 'team' deliberately trying to sabotage his campaign? Such a negative message and image coming across from his ads and posters. I liked some of the words used by Yushchenko in his and he might gain more of the vote than you'd think but as we all know he's blown his chances.