Thursday, December 06, 2007

Possible scenarios on the political front

Some good analysis in 'Gazeta po Kievski' today. I've loosely translated portions below:

The day after Yatsenyuk was elected VR speaker the victorious democratic coalition is not hurrying to celebrate its triumph, and "Regionaly" have not lost their swagger either. Both camps await the battle for the premiership - few have full confidence in Yulka T's success.

The election of Yatsenyuk showed that "Regiony" were absolutely not ready to this turn of events - they were sure that a couple of the votes required for a coalition would 'disappear'. On Tuesday the 'Regionaly' simply departed in all directions - some home, and some to the football - waiting out the night in order to gather in the morning in the "Zoryaniy" and decide what to do. It turned out they did not have any plan at all. By noon acting vice- premier Vladimir Rybak, member of the PoR fraction stated that they would work constructively in the Verkhovna Rada with Yatsenyuk as speaker.

No-one in PoR can give an meaningful comment as to where will the party go and what it will do right now. Will it block the work of the VR or will it propose a candidate for first vice- speaker as proposed to the opposition? But while 'Regionaly' decide whether they want one of their own as Yatsenyuk's, 'zam', Byutovtsy say they had already offered the position to communist Martynyuk [in exchange for votes in support of Yatsenyuk?] but they declined the offer. Similar offers were made to Lytyvn's bloc, but they declined the offer too.

Regionaly are adopting a wait and see attitude. They need to wait until the internal contradictions in the 'demkoalitsiya' causes it's breakdown into separate components, and then it should be possible to begin negotiations on a new configuration of the 'vlasti'.

According to a source into the Party of Regions, the confusion and disunity of actions seen recently amongst PoR members is the result of differences of interests inside the party itself. Yanukovych understands that no type of broad coalition will guarantee him the premiership - PoR's partners would accept any candidature, other than the leader of PoR.

Therefore the absence of a new government, combined with a workable VR led by a compliant speaker-Yasenyuk would be an optimum version. The premier's people hint this would suit the president and his secretariat also. At the same time, the wing of party led by Rinat Akhmetov is moving ever further from Yanukovych. Stability in government policy, and also therefore, in business is in their interests. For the presidential elections they need a candidate that will have a greater guarantee of success than in 2004, i.e. somone other than Viktor Yanukovych.

Yuliya in a win-win situation

The President, Akhmetov and Yanukovych are not interested in strengthening Tymoshenko - i.e. they have mutual interests in this matter. Therefore events could develop in three possible ways:

The first, and most probable is Tymoshenko becomes premier with the smallest possible advantage over her opponents. After this, the de-facto 'demkoalitsiya' will disappear, and parliament will begin to vote in a 'situational' regime. Complex problems start springing up for the government starting with a large increase in the price of gas, and a crisis in the state of infrastructures. After about a year Tymoshenko is sacked for her failures and for the worsening economic situation. This would not be a disaster for her because presidential elections would be close in any case.

The second, Tymoshenko is simply 'dumped' - the full BYuT-NUNS list simply fails to vote for her. It is no secret that such moods exist amongst some members of the bloc. Either negotiations continue with Tymoshenko, in order to obtain more concessions, or she goes into opposition, and the PM's post goes to a less controversial person. Yushchenko will then find himself in a difficult situation: a large part of NUNS may well go over to Yulka, and the dependence of the President on PoR increases significantly.

The third possibility is that Tymoshenko does not become premier, and Yanukovych remains as acting PM for the winter months. For Yushchenko and Akhmetov this in by no means the worst turn of events. Under Yanukovych's "suspended" KabMin the situational majority will pass the 2008 budget. The further weakening of Yanukovych, after blows on the "gas" and other fronts would be to the benefit of Akhmetov and Yushchenko. Yanukovych will lose more electoral support and by the Spring could be 'sent for a rest'. His chances to play a strong hand in the presidential elections would be greatly reduced too.

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