Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tymoshenko fights on?

A loose translation of an article in the current 'Kommentarii':

Yushchenko scared off by Tymoshenko's [possible] resignation

The president decided against personally calling [VR speaker] Arseniy Yatsenyuk to announce the fall of the ruling coalition

The two-pronged attacks on the Yulia Tymoshenko government by the President's Secretariat and Party of Regions has ceased despite the the fact that her demise - her resignation as prime minister - was seconds away. It seemed nothing could prevent Tymoshenko's opponents finishing her off.

The leader of BYuT was to be removed from power according to the following scenario: the announcement of the dissolution of the democratic coalition; the reading of the KabMin's economic progress report in parliament [see previous blogs]; a vote of no confidence in the government; and the formation of a new semi-legitimate 'broad' coalition and new 'broad' KabMin. Bank Street [Pres's Secretariat] had planned all this according to tight schedule: even the date for Tymoshenko's 'execution' - June 24th - had been 'pencilled in' by 'Regionaly' when the reading of the KabMin report at an extraordinary parliamentary session of parliament was to take place. But the extraordinary VR session proposal was still-born as it became clear that at each stage of the plan, [named by ill-wishers as the Baloha/Kolesnikov plan], there were unsurmountable obstacles.

Yatsenyuk acts dumb

Problems for the initiators of reformatting of the parliamentary majority begun at the first stage, i.e. the official announcement of "death" of the ruling BYuT/NUNS coalition following the exit of deputies Ihor Rybakov and Yuriy But. The speaker of the Supreme Rada Arseniy Yatseniuk showed unexpected obstinacy. The ignoring of demands and threats from the Party of Regions fraction by the VR speaker was quite predictable, but a similar reaction from Yatsenyuk to desperate requests from the President's Secretariat to 'bury' the democratic coalition was an unpleasant surprise for Bank Street. A 'Kommentarii' source claimed that Arseniy Petrovich Yatsenyuk had a long telephone conversation with the head of this joint venture, Viktor Baloha, about this. Baloha demanded the speaker make an official statement in parliament declaring the absence in the VR of a majority during an extraordinary session planned for June 24th. Such a statement would have cleared a direct route to resignation of PM Yulia Tymoshenko, and would at least downgrade the government and its head to "acting" status only. The source asserts that the conversation between Yatseniuk and Baloha was heated, but without success for the head of the presidential office. It seems the speaker Yatsenyuk had explained to the head of the joint venture that he would terminate the democratic coalition only if he was personally asked to do so by the President. Yatsenyuk's calculations were correct - the president did not have the guts to make this request and as a result all the clever schemes to get rid of Tymoshenko collapsed like a house of cards.

Its no secret that any reformatting of the parliamentary majority would harm Yatsenkyuk's political interests and the chances of him hanging onto the speaker's chair would diminish. He has begun to enjoy his leading role parliament, and for him it had become important to find ways to rescue the democratic coalition, thereby raising his own rating. Yatseniuk had spent a fruitful round of personal negotiations with Tymoshenko, and right away the parties agreed mutual neutrality and non agression postures. So, in exchange for his adherence to principles of preservation of the coalition the premier promised Yatsenyuk support in the mass-media controlled by BYuT. After Bank Street became aware of the mutual understanding reached between the prime minister and the speaker, Baloha broadcast a statement on behalf of Yushchenko that the head of parliament is a key figure in action to renew the democratic coalition, and has tried to place all responsibility for the majority's future prospects on speaker's shoulders.

Publically, the formation of this 'situational' union between Tymoshenko and Yatseniuk was marked by a meeting of the prime minister, the speaker, and leaders of fractions of the coalition covered by television cameras when Yulia T. entirely supported Arseniy Petrovich's initiative to urgently pass a law about internal and foreign policy of the country until 2010. (In truth, the prime minister is suggesting consideration be given to this bill in a package together with a statement on the program of activity of the government which would give Tymoshenko a year's immunity from dismissal). She also informed of the KabMin's intention in the near future to submit the long-awaited project of changes to the state budget. At the same meeting both Tymoshenko on behalf of BYuT, and Vyacheslav Kirilenko from NUNS mutually declared pre-term parliamentary elections of which the opposition and also President's Secretary frequently speak, to be unnecessary.

'Regionaly' fail to do homework set by President

'Kommentarii' sources in Bank Street assert that Yushchenko has already approved the formation of a new parliamentary majority, requesting Party of Regions do the 'spadework', the President's position being: "I am ready to support you if you collect the necessary 226 VR votes".

'Regionaly' quickly got down to business garnering 150 VR deputies' votes demanding examination of the question of responsibility of the KabMin, but then encountered problems organizing an extraordinary session of parliament. The Communist Party declared they were against any extraordinary sitting of parliament. Party head Petro Symonenko even called a special press conference to explain there was no sense in it. Their position is clear - they realize they will not be asked to participate in any majority coalition of whatever variety, primarily because of a Yushchenko's hostile attitude to the Communist Party. At this moment the Communist Party is more inclined to co-operation with Tymoshenko, situationally supporting some of BYuT's initiatives, so to change the current political set-up would serve no purpose for them.

Bank Street and PoR placed much hope in co-operation with Lytyvyn's Bloc too. According to observers, Volymyr Lytyvyn really did engage with them on the creation of a broad coalition, but simultaneously continued a dialogue with the democratic coalition about the possibility of joining the still-existing de jure majority. Lytvyn's aim, by operating on two fronts, was to secure the VR speaker's chair for himself. However, Yushenko is against giving Lytyvn this important position because he is afraid that under a Lytvyn speakership he would definitively lose control over parliament. At least the current VR speaker, Yatseniuk, does not have his own political project, or ideas of political independence, so dialogue between Bank Street and Yatsenyuk are much simpler.

So, at the moment its is unlikely that the necessary number of votes in favour of a non confidence vote in the KabMin could be assembled. The situation is aggravated by that fact that those in favour of reformatting of parliamentary majority are split on the nomination of any future prime minister.

There are several pretender to replace Tymoshenko from the Bank Street/Akhmetov combination - Bohatyryova, Baloha, Yatseniuk and others, but not one of them is a candidate of general concensus. The are different views on who should head the government even in the Party of Regions where Viktor Yanukovych's ambitions are well-known. The internal party group focused on the current PoR leader were the most enthusiastic in proposing the resignation of the KabMin and were most heavily engaged in conducted a mass p.r. attack against the goverment. Authors of the no-confidence vote project included Alexander Efremov, Elena Lukash and Alexander Lavrinovich -all of them from Yanukovych's circle, rather than that of Akhmetov. And nobody is seriously mentioning one important nuance: according to the new version on the law on the KabMin Viktor Yanukovych actually has no right to hold a post in the government because of previous criminal convictions. Unlike previous versions, the new version does not include a clause stating that a citizen can be a member of Cabinet, if any previous convictions have been legally quashed. Therefore any second premiership for Yanukovych could be met with the most serious legal problems.

p.s. Tonight Spain beat Germany 1-0 in the final of the Euro 2008 soccer competition and have been crowned soccer champions of Europe. The next European championship is planned to be hosted jointly by Ukraine and Poland in 2012, but a final decision is to be made in the Autumn.

The whole of Spain are united by the joy of victory, but there is a lesson to be learned by Ukraine here. Seventy years ago Spain was in the grip of a bitter civil war. Regional and linguistic differences are deeply felt even today, but the country has prospered partly as a result of putting aside old scores.

In soccer too their national team has perennially underachieved, in no small part because of the disharmony between players from different regions. It seems these problems have been overcome too, and as a result their team has produced success on the field of play. Well done Spain.

p.p.s. LEvko is sorry for not posting more recently - have been engaged in other matters..Will try and do more in the days and weeks to come..


Anonymous said...

So, there was supposed to be a Stalin show trial in the Ukrainian Rada! And Baloha, the little punk-thug on which Yushchenko relies, was part of the orchestration, together with the punk-thugs from the Party of Regions.

Good for Yatseniuk!

Yuschenko plants a tree in front of a government building - but he doesn't want to "soil his hands" with personally telling Yatseniuk to quash Tymoshenko.

Yushchenko believes he is too saintly, and as President, too powerful, for that trivial stuff. He believes he is above it all, and that henchmen should do the dirty work.

Sovok habits die hard.

In the meantime, rather than building a good government, the Party of Regions continues to engage in a pie fight for the benefit of a few "businessmen"-politicians.

Ukrainiann Pravda had very telling side-by-side pictures at one point - Yushchenko was kissing the hands of people in the crowd; in contrast, people were kissing Yanukovych's hand, as if he were some Stalin-like dictator.

Unfortunately, Yushchenko is also kissing Akhmetov's hand - which is not democracy.

The Party of Regions sneers derisively at Yulia's "populism" - so does Yushchenko. But she's one of the few in Ukraine (Lutsenko is another one) who understands that government serves the people, and not the other way around, that government serves the public good, and the people, and not just Akhmetov.

Old sovok habits die hard.



Anonymous said...

Additionally, see the excellent interview with Yatseniuk:

Yatseniuk is absolutely right - there's a lot of posturing and public hand-wringing in the Rada about the "fate of Ukraine" - but the goal of political parties such as the Party of Regions is - how many positions of power can we grab, in order to continue looting the government?

There is no concern for building government, for improving the country, for improving the lot of citizens.

And tinkering with the Constitution is simply an ad hoc game, based on gaining advantage for a particular person or party, and not on any coherent and logical principles of good government.

Finally, Yatseniuk points out "you can't build a country out of ruins."

On all of this, Yatseniuk is absolutely right.

So what does Yushchenko do? On the Orange Revolution, he screwed the pooch - if he simply stuck to the principles of the Orange Revolution, instead of relying no a punk-thug puke like Baloha, he might regain some support from the people.

Instead, Yushchenko kisses Akhmetov and makes a big show of planting a tree.

Old sovok habits die hard.

Thank God for Yatseniuk.

Anonymous said...

Semi Legal....

It all hinges in the ability of forming a new coalition. Which is not easy.

Under Ukraine's constitution the governing coalition needs to be formed by Factions representing a majority of the parliament. That means Our Ukraine would have to do the dirty deed again and abandon Yulia.

This would mark the death of Yushchenko's political career and would see Our Ukraine's percentage plummet further. Possible below 3%.

Lets no forget it was Our Ukraine that caused the collapse of the Orange alliance and it was Our Ukraine that failed sign on the dotted line in 2006.

Givern the numerous past statements it i hard to see how Our Ukraine can bring PSD on side with them. If you believe the polls before the OU=PSD merger PSD represented over half of the factions voter base.

Our-PSD would have to abandon the coalition and in the process sign their own death warrant.

Remember either Yulia or PoR can come November force fresh elections and Yulia will also be seeking Yushchenko's impeachment if he or his party abandons the coalition.

The only party that is in a winning seat is PoR and the Socialist Party who will most likely exceed the 3% threshold in fresh Parliamentary elections. They only need 0.014% more votes and the overall results of the 2007 elctions would have been very much different then what is teh case today.

The only other certainty is the end to Yushchenko divisive games.

The CCU correctky ruled that a MP must remain a member of then faction that appointed him/her. BUT The cort did not answer the question of teh right of a indiviual member to withdraw from teh governing coalition. as long as they remain members of tehir parety they retain their mandate. The political crisis continues to bubble away... waiting for November and the new year and Presidential elections.

The best solution remains meaningful constitutional reform and the adoption of a full parliamentary system follwoed by fresh presidential and parliamentary elections.

Then and only then will Ukraine have a chance to regain stable government.