Sunday, December 09, 2007

Signs of democracy maturing

The September 30th early parliamentary elections produced and inconclusive result, and no one party or bloc will dominate the Verkhovna Rada. There has been speculation that the newly-elected parliament may operate, in the short term, in a 'situational' mode - with blocs co-operating to vote through individual pieces of legislation according to their particular requirements.

Viktor Yanukovych, at a recent extraordinary congress of judges, complained that it has become impossible to begin judicial reform. He reported that annual expenditure for maintaining the judiciary keeps rising, but societies' confidence in the judicial authorities is not growing, and bureaucracy and corruption persists at the highest level.

During the congress, the head of the Supreme Court of Vasyl Onopenko proposed President Yushchenko submits a law as soon as possible 'on the Supreme Judiciary Council' to parliament, and heads the Council [i.e. gains greater control] himself.

An example of 'situational' co-operation in this matter is given in Ekonomicheskiye Izvestia in a piece entitled, "PoR and BYuT against the President and Oponenko," about possible co-operation between the two parties to pass legislation to decentralise the Ukrainian judicial system, against the wishes of both the Supreme Court and the President.

Rinat Akhmetov made conciliatory statements about BYuT last week. "The colour of the coalition is not important to me, the main thing is what it will do. If its work will be directed to the economic growth of the country - we are ready to co-operate. But if the coalition works according the principle "seize and divide up" then this will not be a democratic coalition, this will be a 1917 coalition."

When asked about what he thought of Tymoshenko as premier, he said, "What is my thought? Tymoshenko received the support of 31.5% of the voters. This means a large number of people trust this politician." And if a coalition is formed and Yuliya Tymoshenko becomes prime minister, "I will respect this."

The main political players: PoR and its two main sub-fractions, the President and his secretariat, NUNS and its argumentative constituents, BYuT, the Communists, and Lyvyn and his chums, are all jockeying to be best placed in the new administration and have maximum influence in the future development of the country. No-one is certain quite what to do for the best.

E.g. the pragmatists in PoR, who are undaunted by a spell in opposition, wanted Rayisa Bohatyryova elected VR vice-speaker in order to nevertheless maximize their influence in the VR. The romantics in PoR, who feel that retention of power is still realistic, were willing to sacrifice this post in favour of Communist Adam Martyniuk in order to maintain the Communists' support in a 'wide coalition'. Yanukovych may have even influenced Bohatyryova's withdrawal - he did not want this close ally of Rinat Akhmetov holding such an influential position.

Tuesday will be 'crunch-time' as VR deputies attempt to vote in Yuliya Tymoshenko for prime minister. If BYuT fails to persuade Lytyvyn and his chums to support them, Levko thinks it may be quite a while before the crackle of Yulka's electric tights and clack of her stiletto heels are heard in the KabMin offices again. Lytvyn's bloc failed to enter the VR in March last year - this time they are in again. The possibility of political 'big beast' Lytvyn getting into a position of influence in government again, must be a temptation.

Even though President Putin [as well as other observers] considers all this political toing and froing chaotic and undesirable, whatever happens, all sides are behaving quite responsibly right now and sticking to the rules.

No comments: