Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Coalition-building drags on..

The latest OP indicates 35% of Ukrainians would like to see Yanukovych PM, while 32% would like to see Tymoshenko in that position. Yekhanurov comes in a weak third at 7%.

47% of those questioned would favour a BYuT-NSNU-Socialist coalition, while 38% a RU-NSNU coalition - the former possibility, significantly, being supported by 36% of NSNU supporters.

One of the problems with all of this coalition-building is that leading members in both NSNU and the Socialist party are not 'singing from the same hymn sheet'. Yesterday veteran Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz admitted that his party may be included in a Grand coalition with NSNU and PR. And yet today Yosyp Vinskiy, head of the Socialist polit-rada, says that entry of his party into coalition with PR is not permissable.

Although the Socialists garnered less than 6% of the votes in the elections, they have a pivotal role to play, and are under a deal of pressure to join a grand coalition. If they did so, BYuT would be left out in the cold [with the Communists]. For Moroz it would be a last chance to get his hands onto the levers of power rather than go into opposition with BYuT.

It's generally accepted that NSNU #1 Yekhanurov is keen on a grand coalition, but other leading members of his party, eg Zvarych and Bezsmertniy are far less enthusiastic. I've written in past about some waverers in RU, but now Yanukovych has stamped his authority on his party again, and has probably brought them back into line - and he wants the PM's job.

There are even rumors that several members of BYuT would rather 'jump ship' and join a grand coalition than go into opposition. Many newly elected deputies paid large sums of money 'up front' for a favourable place on party lists. They didn't pay to go into opposition.

Meanwhile President Yushchenko ostensibly declared last week that he is not a participant in coalition negotiations, and that formation of a coalition is solely the responsibility of the newly-elected political blocs entering parliament.

Today Communist leader Petro Symonenko, whose party is the smallest to 'scrape' into the VR, prognosticates that a grand coalition will eventually be formed between PR and NSNU [and possibly Socialists]. The coalition will be dominated by business structures, with Yekhanurov remaining PM, and the remainder of the cabinet dominated by PR.

Whoever forms the ruling coalition, most observers agree that the new government will continue to progress on Ukraine's path to Europe. As ex-Economics minister Seghiy Teryokhin says in an an interview today, "The top managers in PR are [now] used to living by the rules of European life - they want stability and certainty for the future."

My own hunch is that if PR were driven into opposition, then the fissures that must exist in that party would open up too.

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