After a split of the Our Ukraine – People Self-Defence (OU-PSD) parliamentary faction into pro-President and pro-Coalition parts, the President’s Office is thinking seriously about what to do next. The Our Ukraine party, which is officially headed by Viktor Yushchenko, seems to be split also, and its members are demoralised and bewildered. In its current state the party cannot serve as a real support for President neither in Parliament, nor during the elections – both parliamentary and presidential. There is a strong need for the Our Ukraine party to be reunited and reshuffled somehow. It seems that President Yushchenko, together with his Secretariat, has already worked out a decision – to unite the Our Ukraine with the United Center (UC) party of Viktor Baloha, the Head of Presidential Secretariat.
It is a fact that Viktor Yushchenko lost his influence on Parliament and its work. Even the part of OU-PSD that didn’t join the Coalition with the Block of Yulia Tymoshenko and the Block of Lytvyn is getting out of Presidential control. The previous Head of the OU-PSD faction, member of Our Ukraine Vyacheslav Kyrylenko resigned from this position. Another old strong supporter and friend of Viktor Yushchenko, New York born Roman Zvarych, declared that he may leave the Our Ukraine party at all. Situation with the regional offices of Our Ukraine is even worse. As member of Our Ukraine Puslan Knyazevych (who signed a Coalition treaty) informed journalists yesterday, the party local managers have lack of finances, and feel like “being thrown out” as the central party leaders hadn’t contacted them for months.
Kseniya Lyapina, member of the Our Ukraine who didn’t join the Coalition, worries about the future of her party. In particular, she shared with journalists the information that some people - on behalf of the United Center - are proposing money to the local representatives of the Our Ukraine party . “We are against unification with the UC”, Mrs. Lyapina emphasized.
The irony is that to unite Our Ukraine with the United Center does not mean to strengthen the “presidential party”. Despite of bright financial opportunities, the UC is very weak, and doesn’t have a visible party structure. The Member of Parliament of Ukraine and member of the United Center party Lesya Orobets have recently said in a live interview at the Radio Liberty that total amount of UC members is about 100-200 people in every region. According to this info, the most optimistic estimation of a current size of the United Center is a bit more than 5000 (five thousand!) members. So, is it the Our Ukraine who is in need of support?
I would suggest that the union of the Our Ukraine and the United Center is an idea and a goal of Viktor Baloha, who is interested in re-gaining a status of the Member of Parliament before the presidential election, using the rests of the rating of Viktor Yushchenko in parliamentary campaign. Just as a leader of the United Center, unknown in regions, Mr. Baloga may not win 3% of votes to pass the electoral barrier, not using so called administrative resource.
The future of the Our Ukraine party may be decided next week, when the party Summit will have place.