Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Disfunction at the top

Segodnya runs a punchy piece on the turmoil inside the parliamentary coalition, together with a telling photograph. I've done a rough translation:

BYuT Dismisses Baloha - Baloha dismisses ministers

The crisis in the coalition continues. Tymoshenko and "Regiony" take on the Constitution.

The ruling coalition teeters on the edge of collapse. BYuT and NUNS gathered on Monday in order to resolve their differences - but they failed.

The reason for the current crisis in relations between the orange parties was the intention of BYuT, together with "Regiony", to jointly create a Temporary Special Commission on the introduction of changes to the Constitution. NUNS interpreted this treachery - "Byutovtsi" were going behind the back of their partner in the coalition and negotiating with "Donetski", not about trivial matters, but about reducing the powers of the President in fundamental law. "Nasheukraintsy" even warned that the unity of coalition was hanging by a thread.

On Monday BYuT seemingly stepped back from the brink and declared that it would not vote on Tuesday for the Temporary Special Commission. But BYuT 'NarDep' Andriy Shkil' yesterday stated that in any event, the commission would be created, perhaps just a little later.

Curiously, also on Monday, deputies from BYuT, and part of NUNS fraction, in particular representatives from "People's Self-defence", proposed a motion that the President sack the head of his secretariat Viktor Baloha and his deputy Ihor Pukshin. But Andriy Shkil' revealed that NUNS categorically refused even to put the motion to a vote.

Yesterday Baloha himself spoke of dismissals too, but not of his own. The head of Presidential Secretariat demanded the resignation of representatives of the economic bloc of the KabMin (assigned on BYuT's quota) because it was they that were responsible for inflation reaching unprecedented heights.

On Tuesday both BYuT and NUNS claimed that they had found surprising unanimity on the question of conducting the Kyiv mayoral elections in two rounds (which would guarantee the defeat of the current mayor Chernovetsky). "When we voted at our coalition meeting on this question, there was no-one against this, and no-one abstained, so a decision was made that we would support this bill. "To prevent talk of some in NUNS not voting, I could say that the document would be supported by the Litvin bloc, so there would have been sufficient votes in any event," said mayoral candidate from NU, Mykola Katerynchuk.

At first 'Regionaly' collected around the VR platform in order to prevent the coalition voting for this law, but later reconsidered. "The President himself is against this law and against mayoral elections in stages. Even if they gather sufficient votes in order to pass the law, the President will not sign it off. Yushchenko still controls a large part of his fraction, and I think, the law will not be accepted," said PoR 'NarDep' Mikhail Chechetov.

Deputy PM Oleksandr Turchynov responded brusquely to Baloha's demands: "Again we do not accept the subsequent portion of dirt that pours from the walls of the President's Secretariat this week. We consider it beneath our dignity to give an assessment to this Bank Street intellect." [The pres's secretariat is located on Bank Street]

LEvko considers that changes to the Constitution would need to be supported by over 300 votes in the 450 seat parliament, or by a majority of citizens in any referendum, so an all-party commission on Constitutional reform doesn't seem to be too crazy an idea..


Anonymous said...

I would like to propose an idea.

NONE of the politician ought to be in any sort of commission regarding constitutional reform.

It's just a bunch of pigs at the trough, jockeying for position.

That changes nothing.

Indeed, there ought to be a commission created. But it ought to consist of neutral "intellects," with the best interests of Ukraine at heart - and not the interests of the various pig-oligarchs who simply want to perpetuate the pig-trough system of corruption and oligarchy that now exists in Ukraine.

Indeed, one serious and major reform ought to be the elimination of the "party list" system of voting for the piggies in the Rada.

(That having been said, I firmly believe that Tymoshenko, Lutsenko and Yatseniuk have the best interests of the country at heart.)

There is no doubt that systemic reform is needed. However, it is essential to take the pigs out of further monkeying with their little pig trough (лавочки).

Blair Sheridan said...

The party list system is, in my view, hideous. Under this system, party discipline is all-important and, even if a party were to fundamentally change its platform, an individual deputy would have no choice but to go along with it, or be stripped of his/her mandate. And, let's face it, that's what YT wants, as she said only yesterday, in defending her position on the imperative mandate at PACE. She wants it written into the Constitution, so YT is foursquare for the list system, I'm afraid.

In addition, of course, the party list system means that deputies are not accountable to any readily identifiable constituency. They're only beholden to those who put them on the list (for a fee, we can assume) and can coast through their time in the Rada, selling their influence, enjoying immunity and sucking up to their higher-ups, in search of committee chairs and more influence.

With that being so, I don't think we can expect the politicians to change the system. It's in the interests of the electorate, but certainly not in those of the politicos. Party leaders love it, as they get the "sign-up fees" and "party dues" from their members, and are able to control the latter with an iron hand. WHen YT talks about her "штыки" - she ain't kidding: her deputies might as well be a mass, a troop of soldiers, for all of the intiative they show. Not that I'm singling her out - they're all like that.

Deputies love it since they can afford to be lazy and get rich (and a pension) while doing nothing that's too taxing or of use to the electorate, as long as they don't rock the boat.

It's pathetic.

Anonymous said...

During her speech in Strasbourg to the Council of Europe recently Tymoshenko said the following:

– Мені не треба вам пояснювати, що парламентська республіка має переваги над будь–якими потужними монополізованими системами влади, –

The report is at Ukrainian Pravda.

Her statement reflected support for a parliamentary type republic.

Blair Sheridan said...

Indeed. With the present system of party discipline.