Wednesday, August 08, 2012
New parliament to be short-lived?
The 'Economist' writes about the pressure being applied on Ukraine's media here
They claim: "[October's parliamentary] polls (and the media climate in which they are held) must be fair enough to avoid sanction [from the West]. But they must also secure a majority for the ruling team in parliament."
Whatever the results of these polls, Sonya Koshkina of LB.ua predicts the seventh convocation of the Verkhovna Rada will be truncated at some point. Here's a summary of what she says:
The V.R.'s lifespan depends on how long it will be amenable to the president's whims. Parliament has long ceased to be a place for political debate and decision-making, or for generating new ideas. Moreover it has long-ceased to be a self-contained branch of government, balancing out the cabinet of ministers and the presidential administration. It is no longer a place where the remnants of political competition can be maintained; as soon as Parliament tries to become what once was and what it is duty-bound to be, Yanukovych will dismiss it. He has the power to do so.
All those standing for election and investing considerable sums to do so should be aware of this.
The three main tasks assigned for new parliament will be:
Transfer of the remainder of state property into the hands of the country's most influential clans;
Removal of immunity from prosecution from its members to produce a more obedient and subservient parliament;
and alteration the Constitution, to provide an opportunity for president Yanukovych to be re-elected for a second term in office by a vote in parliament rather than by popular mandate.
Another reason for the fragility of the seventh convocation is economic.A sharp downturn in November and December is inevitable, because of the current global economic situation, and because of the big pre-election bugetary splurge currently being indulged in by the Ukrainian government.
Yanukovych will deflect blame on PM Azarov, possibly sacking him and dissolving parliament. But everyone knows he has concentrated all authority in his own hands - it is he that will ultimately be held responsible.
Responding to questions from 'Ukrainska Pravda's Mustafa Nayem, about Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, an American law firm contracted by the Justice Ministry of Justice earlier this year in connection with the Tymoshenko trial, Ukraine's Ministry of Justice replied:
"The Ministry of Justice has concluded an agreement with the Skadden legal company to provide services in the field of legal investigation.
According to the conditions of the agreement, lawyers of Skadden should conduct an investigation on the adherence to the principle of supremacy of the law and practices of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of "Tymoshenko vs Ukraine", which is [currently] being examined in the ECHR.
According to the agreement, payment for services...cannot exceed 90,000 Hryven, [less than $12.000] hence tender procedures need not be applied..."
In other words, they are being employed to provide justification for Tymoshenko's persecution.
Top Washington lawyers do not even get out of bed for this sort of money, never mind travelling abroad to conduct investigations in a distant foreign country. If the Ukrainian Ministry were serious they would earmark a sum of at least an order of magnitude greater. Skadden's 'fig-leaf' report will only be suitable for lavatorial purposes. Why on earth did they not employ a major Ukrainian law firm? It's all just a cheap PR stunt...and an embarrassment for Skadden.