Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Ukraine's magic roundabout

The Tymoshenko-led cabinet will almost certainly not survive a vote of no confidence in the VR on Wednesday. The 'virtual' BYuT-led ruling coalition has fallen apart, but is by no means certain that a new coalition can be constructed in the thirty day time frame before new elections [that no-one wants] have to be declared.

NUNS, the political bloc that PoR must bring over to their side, insist that any new PM has to be one of their guys. Although Arseniy Yatseniuk is frequently mentioned as a potential candidate, it has to be remembered the biggest plank of his presidential campaign platform was "the creation of a new political elite". In Davos at the end of January he made it clear that he "will remain in opposition to Yanukovych and to Tymoshenko...I cannot work with either Yanukovych or Tymoshenko..". Although smart politicians "never say never", becoming PM without any personal power base in parliament could well be a poisoned chalice, particularly for the young and ambitious Yatseniuk. His best bet could be early elections to gain a useful foothold in the VR on which to develop his political project.

Tonight on a TV programme, Viktor Yanukovych's principal long-time close advisor and spin-doctor, now deputy head of his presidential administration, Hanna Herman, candidly declared: "[When] we recall Yushchenko's premiership - this was not the worst time for Ukraine. It seems to me he would be a good premier, if he agreed on this position."

Yushchenko will bide his time and choose his moment, but for him the PM's job could be an opportunity to resuscitate a discredited political career. And how often in Ukrainian politics do the country's principal figures dramatically disappear on one side the roundabout, only to emerge some time later, on the other side of the roundabout?

Update: After today's no-confidence hit received by Tymoshenko, head of NUNS political council, Vira Ulyanchenko today announced that NU would join a new coalition with PoR on the provision that any new cabinet were to be led by Viktor Yushchenko.

Ulyanchenko, long-time Yushchenko ally, "nursery maid", and the last head of his presidential secretariat, is a formidable political manipulator. She recently 'rendered assistance' to Yanukovych, enabling him to acquire large tracts of forest and land for indulging in his boar hunting passion. No doubt Yushchenko will be expecting similar gestures of reciprocation.

p.s.I hope the accuracy of Yanik's shooting is better than his knowledge of geography.

p.p.s. See Tymoshenko's speech in the VR delivered, just before the no-confidence vote, here.

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