Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tymoshenko cracks whip already

Today the BYut-NUNS coalition elected Tymoshenko prime minister for a second time by the tightest possible majority of one vote in the 450 seat parliament .

When NUNS leader Vyachelav Kyrylenko was earlier asked by journalists whether his party had used "an electric iron, or a soldering iron" to persuade Yuriy Yekhanurov to remain loyal and vote for Tymoshenko, he replied that "a route of persuasion" had been used. "In the morning he declared that he would not vote, but after that we spent two hours convincing him."

In January 2006, BYuT voted with 'Regionaly' in a no confidence motion in the-then PM Yekhanurov, in what some saw as an act of revenge against Yushchenko for dismissing Tymoshenko from the PM position several months earlier.

Yekhanurov is now Minister of Defence, appointed by the president in the newly elected cabinet [hmm..]..

Tymoshenko's first priorities will be to sort out the almost bankrupt 'Naftohaz Ukrainy', the tax administration, and the state customs service where many heads will roll.

She immediately made it clear that decisions as to whether Ukraine is to have a presidential, or parliamentary system of administration, and whether Ukraine is to apply for membership to NATO, are to be decided by referendum. "Entry into any kind of collective system of defence - via a referendum," explained Tymoshenko.

Quite a good report on today's event from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty here. It includes this quote from Tymoshenko, when she addressing the VR, vowing to fight against corruption and curb the power of those oligarchs who in the past have wielded influence over public officials: "I believe that the process of cleansing in Ukraine cannot be reversed. Maybe for a few months more you will be able to cling to power. Maybe for a few months more you will be able to scratch together a few bits of Ukrainian resources. But in the end, you will have to return everything, right to the last drop. Hear my words."

This no doubt caused much buttock clenching and squirming in chairs amongst some of those present..

p.s. From my internet-piped view of proceedings in the VR, Yanukovych seemed to be just going through the motions, without much conviction in his valedictory speech..

'Ekonomicheskiye Izvestia' reports Yanukovych's brief visit to the "Yedina Rossiya" party conference on Monday was not a success. The position of 'Regionaly' on the status of the Russian language in Ukraine and Ukraine's entrance in NATO is baffling the 'Yedinorossy', they say.

"We expect a more clearly expressed position from 'Regionaly' on questions of the non aligned status of Ukraine, and on providing the Russian language a state status," stated member of the general council of "United Russia" Konstantin Zatulin.

According to E-Izvestia's sources, Tymoshenko has already formed understandings with the Kremlin, including in the sphere of energy. She has been assisted Oleksandr Turchinov and Viktor Medvedchuk [yes, Kuchma's old fixer].

The day before the United Russia congress, Russian vice-premier Dmitriy Medvedev was officially proposed presidential candidate for the Russian presidential elections. "Medvedev is a godparent of Viktor Medvedchuk's, and a close friend Ihor Bakay, whom he saved from deportation back to Ukraine. Bakay is wanted on charges of abuse of power, defrauding the state, and other crimes.

Some information on Bakay-Tymoshenko feuding from the past here.

Whatever anyone says, PoR acted in a fair-minded manner today, so that's progress.

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