Monday, December 03, 2012

Why Azarov resigned today

"KyivPost" reports  Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his government have resigned immediately after approving the next year's budget, and President Viktor Yanukovych has, apparently accepted the resignation,

"Azarov and many members of his Cabinet were elected to parliament during the Oct. 28 vote, and had to file their letters of resignation to the president. They will still act as an interim government until the new one is approved. A vote in parliament is required to approve the prime minister, but ministerial appointments do not need such a vote..."

However, in Ukraine nothing is ever quite what is seems to be.

'Glavkom' provides a possible explanation for this manoeuvre, which is intended to provide Azarov with parliamentary immunity from prosecution for the duration of the soon-to-be-sworn-in parliament, and enable him to remain as acting Prime Minister, for quite a few months to come.

Immunity from criminal persecution is important - had Azarov's predecessor, Yulia Tymoshenko, been in parliament she would have been 'fireproof', but just days after her government was dismissed, criminal proceedings commenced against her. As a parliamentary deputy, Azarov can sleep easy at night for several years to come.

Constitutionally, Azarov can only hold both a parliamentary mandate and be acting PM for a period of two months, but there have been many many cases in the last few years where, by means of blatant underhand trickery, such anomalies have been allowed to remain in place.

Had he not resigned as head of the Cabinet of Ministers, he could not have been sworn in as a parliamentary deputy. This is a reason for today's action.

Update: A top PoR spokesman, the president's official spokesman in parliament, in preparation for this scheme has declared that although Azarov cannot combine two jobs according to 'the rules', this would be  permissible according to higher 'principles'.

Other serious commentators confirm the likelihood of many of the recent cabinet of ministers, including  Azarov, staying in place for quite a while in order that balance of force amongst Yanukovych's team of loyalists remains 'as is', perhaps until the 2015 presidential election campaign.

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