Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Yekhanurov Rejected as Premier

OK, this isn't good but I still think that it's a matter of horse trading--Yekhanurov Rejected as Premier.

It all could go to pot here I don't mean to sound like I am minimizing that possibility at all. But I don't think we're there yet even with this result. He only fell three votes short and knowing their history of getting out the vote, this isn't all that big a defeat. It might end up that way but I don't think it is necessarily. It might be more of a botched job of it.

That Yanukovych didn't vote along with his party was no surprise though I think that Yuschenko's meeting with him was a good thing all told. That it might not look good to the people is a different matter and that is a real possibility. But the real problem is not that Yuschenko does these things so much as it is that he doesn't tell the people what he is doing. Yanukovych wants things to go to smash because he believes the people or the powers that be will call on him to pick up the pieces and form a new government. My gut feeling is to say "Not bloody likely even in a crisis" but I guess there is always a way that could happen. I will say that with the people he has and the way he has managed things after the election it isn't all that probable. He's become a marginal political character notwithstanding what the commentators have made of him. That he lost an election that should have been his with hundreds of millions of dollars pouring in to fix it just puts a mark on the guy.

It could have been different and with maybe another crew it could still be. He can argue that things were prosperous under his watch. "Where were the price increases? Where were the central bank manipulations of the dollar?" and etc. Could be effective right now but still nothing from his camp.

The article makes the claim that the Parliament, the Rada, is pushing Yuschenko to adopt the amendments to the constitution on presidential power early. That puts the power for selecting the Prime Minister into the hands of the deputies and most all of the significant powers of government devolve to the PM. Since the Parliament still represents the old guard, the state of affairs under Kuchma, the old guard would have significant power. And Russia is still active around here. There is some evidence that they pulled strings in the WTO vote of a couple of months ago and got some deputies to vote no. The reason for this is that if they get into the WTO first, Ukraine will have to deal with them to get in. (If Ukraine gets in first, Russia will have to deal with Ukraine to get in. That's like your "go-get-the-coffee-grunt" assistant suddenly becoming CEO.)

Ironically, the interests of Russia might just be with Yuschenko on this one. Chernomyrdin (sp) came out in support of Yuschenko the other day in the government dismissal and any hope of having business as usual is more likely with Yuschenko than with Tymoshenko. But they might argue they could get more working behind the scenes with some sort of intrigue than by working more diplomatically. They might be thinking like Yanukovych: If things go to smash Russia will be there to help put the pieces together once more. What will Russia do? Probably the latter because diplomacy is something that is had between equals and this Kremlin isn't all that sane when it comes to Ukraine.

If I were Yuschenko, I would have gone right down to Maidan and made a speech to the people about the results of that vote yesterday. He could have talked about the old guard making their play, about their support for Tymoshenko now, about any recalcitrance on Tymoshenko's part in not supporting the new government. ("She says she is for the people but look who is supporting her now?") I'd hammer them over the head with their own vote and even use the word "coup," a strong word but quite true in these circumstances. They want to supplant the power of a democratically elected president with the power of a crony based, corrupt Parliament.

I don't think Yuschenko will do this though. He has a lot of qualities that serve him well as a good man but may not serve him well as a president. The one big one is that I think he wants people to get along. I called it a desire for harmony. There might be a better word for it; I haven't thought about it enough to come up with one. But that expresses it. Sometimes though you've got to be Machiavellian in government, at least a little bit. And now's the time for that little bit I'm afraid. Hammer them for their vote.

The problem is that a lot may be given away in any revote. I hope not.


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