Thursday, December 11, 2008

Parliamentary Cheating II. OK, the Speaker is elected, but is there any coalition in Ukrainian Parliament?

On Tuesday, 9 December at 17.46 PM by Kiev time Volodymyr Lytvyn was elected as a Head of the Verkhovna Rada. His candidacy was supported by 154 MPs from the Block of Yulia Tymoshenko (total size of faction – 156 MPs), 40 MP’s from the Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence Block (total size of faction – 72), 20 MP’s from the Block of Volodymyr Lytvyn (total size – 20), and also 27 MP’s from the Communist party faction (total size – 27) and 3 MPs from the Party of Regions (total size – 175).

It was really hard to believe that the Presidential faction of the Our Ukraine - People’s Self-Defence Block (OU-PSD) will –support Volodymyr Lytvyn, together with the Block of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYT) and even with communists, despite the will of President Viktor Yushchenko, who was against the candidacy of Mr. Lytvyn and publicly in favour Ivan Plyushch, member of his party. But the things went even further: a new-elected Head of Parliament declared the formation of the coalition of OU-PSD, BYT, and the Block of Volodymyr Lytvyn.

The Tuesday events are still the object of discussion not only for political analysts, but also for politicians themselves. I would quote the main statements of historical Tuesday and the following day.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008:

Petro Symonenko, leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine stated his party supported the candidacy of Volodymyr Lytvyn to unblock the work of Parliament to fight the world economy crisis consequences. “We voted for the work of Verkhovna Rada”, he said, adding that the communists would never vote for Ivan Plyushch or any other candidacy from national-democratic forces.

Head of the Verkhovna Rada Volodymyr Lytvyn doesn’t see any preconditions to re-elect Prime Minister or to make cardinal changes of Government. But “it’s obvious that there will be some proposals from the coalition concerning the structure of the Government”, Mr. Lytvyn thinks.

Our Ukraine - People’s Self-Defence faction did not approve a text of the Treaty, forming the coalition of OU-PSD, BYT, and the Block of Volodymyr Lytvyn, the press-service of OU-PSD faction informed. Deputy Head of the faction Borys Tarasiuk signed the text of Coalition Treaty without the faction’s agreement. The project of Coalition Treaty will be in the agenda of a faction sitting on 10 December.

The Party of Regions has doubts on the liveliness of a new-formed coalition, if it will not have a permanent support of the Communist party, one of the PR faction leaders Oleksandr Efremov said. “It’s hard to imagine, how communists could work together with the nationalists”, he mentioned. “Without the Communist Party faction, the new-formed coalition doesn’t have 226 votes to approve decisions in Parliament”.

Member of Parliament of the OU-PSD faction (leader of the PSD) Vladyslav Kaskiv declared that there is no coalition in parliament as there is no decision of the OU-PSD faction on participation in this coalition; and there is also no Coalition Treaty as nobody in the OU-PSD is familiar with such a document. “De facto we can say that Volodymyr Lytvyn, obviously moved by positive emotions, made a political statement. But there are no legal fact of forming the coalition”, Mr. Kaskiv said. “We can not do good things with not honest methods… The misrepresenting of facts took place today”.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008:

The President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko greets Volodymyr Lytvyn for his election as a Head of Verkhovna Rada. “I hope that the election to this responsible position of so experienced and well-balanced politician will permit to unblock a work of the highest lawmaking institution of a country”, he noticed. Parliament has to approve anti-crisis laws and the project of a State Budget for 2009 as an urgent matter, and the needed condition for that is “parliamentary coalition, efficient and capable de jure and de facto”.

Member of Parliament of OU-PSD faction Ksenia Lyapina informed, “During 4 days we have to sign a Treaty (coalition treaty. – TV); if not, the Head of the Verkhovna Rada has to disown his statement about the formation of a coalition”. During the OU-PSD faction sitting on 10 December, MPs “came to a conclusion that the Coalition Treaty doesn’t exist, nobody of us signed it or authorised anybody to sign it”, Mrs. Lyapina noticed.

Taras Stetskiv, Member of Parliament (OU-PSD, PSD branch) emphasized that the coalition “legally does not exist as it is not signed”.

Oleksandr Efremov, the Party of Regions faction noticed that during the Coordination Council sitting Wednesday, 10 December “one of the Deputy Heads of OU-PSD block Roman Zvarych declared that his faction didn’t make a decision on formation of a coalition with the BYT and the Block of Lytvyn, and Borys Tarasiuk was not authorised to sign the Coalition agreement. So, in reality there is no parliamentary coalition”.

Statement of the Presidium of the Political Council of the party of Regions: “So-called formation of a coalition in Parliament is the another adventure and fraud of people. We don’t believe in capacity of this so-called coalition not only because it doesn’t have the quantity of voices needed. We don’t believe in this coalition as it is based on the politicians who had twice proved their incapacity to work together, to work effectively”… “Ukraine will have to watch again the scandal show of Orange chiefs, who are eager to sink each other in a spoon of water. The Party of Regions is out of this campaign. We also would like to hear a clear position of communists – which was their motivation, when they supported Oranges?”

First Deputy Head of the BYT faction Andriy Kozhemyakin hopes that “a progressive part” of the Party of Regions faction will take part in a constructive work of the Parliament. “It is obvious that the highest management of the Party of Regions is leaded by its own ambitions, not understanding that the crisis is a threat for independence of Ukraine”, he added.

Deputy Head of the OU-PSD faction Borys Tarasiuk issued a statement where he noticed that “due to the absence of a Head of the OU-PSD faction Ivan Kyrylenko during the negotiations, I took responsibility to sign the document on founding of a coalition of three factions – OU-PSD, BYT, and the Block of Lytvyn. Of course, I understood that it would be better if the Head of the faction signed this document. But I don’t know whether Ukrainians would understand us, if, delaying action until the next day, we lost this unique chance to start to work in Parliament normally”.

The Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko in her TV appeal to the citizens: “Parliamentary political crisis is over. A normal and consistent work will start in Verkhovna Rada tomorrow. Our hands are free from the irons… All these positive steps were done not with the help of President, but in spite of his active countermeasures to the formation of the Coalition”.

So, is there any coalition in Parliament? Nobody knows. The answer to this question depends on the results of current negotiations of parliamentary factions.

P.S. There is still a possibility of formation of a coalition in Verkhovna Rada with participation of the Party of Regions.

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