Monday, December 1, 2008

What’s up, Ukraine? 23-30 November 2008.

Just in case. Viktor Yushchenko was elected as official leader of his party.
On November 29 Viktor Yushchenko was formally elected as a leader of the People's Union “Our Ukraine" party. From now he may appear as “number one” in the party list for early parliamentary elections, and will have a possibility to run for a position of Prime Minister. Previously President Yushchenko had been the party's honorary chairman.
Some experts think that there are possible problems with constitutional law, since article 103 of the Constitution of Ukraine states that “the president of Ukraine cannot have any other representative mandate, or occupy a position in institutions of executive power or associations of citizens.” The law “On Associations of Citizens” defines political parties as associations of citizens.

Last warning. Yulia Tymoshenko scheduled a deadline for formation of parliamentary coalition with "Our Ukraine" - 1st of December.
”If the democratic coalition is not formed until the end of this week, we will be looking for other options and opportunities,” Prime Minister said. She also made an offer to Volodymyr Lytvyn, leader of the faction of his name, to join the probable coalition of BYT-NU-NS “to form a strengthened variant of the democratic coalition.” The BYT faction was ready to support the candidature of Mr. Lytvyn for Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada.
Both Viktor Yushchenko and Volodymyr Lytvyn refused to join the proposed “democratic coalition”. Head of Presidential Secretariat Viktor Baloha noticed on Sunday’s news evening show that “today’s ultimatums of Yulia Tymoshenko is an evidence of one thing: inconsistency. Who may sit at the table for negotiations with BYT and say that the coalition is possible after that? It is not ethical to raise a question about the return, when it was she who did everything for this coalition not to exist”.

Another space. The Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry accused Viktor Yanukovych in putting his leg on the President’s ground.
On 25 November Ukraine's Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the proposal of the leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych to establish the single economic space with Russia. Viktor Yanukovych put forward this idea at a congress of United Russia party in Moscow last week. “Since the start of talks on a comprehensive and enhanced free trade zone with the European Union, the issue of establishing a single economic space has lost its relevance," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The ministry emphasized that only President Viktor Yushchenko and Parliament, not party leaders, decide foreign policy priorities.

In contrary to national interests. Ukrainian hryvnia reached a new historic low on Friday.
Ukraine's currency sank to a new historic low on Friday, 28 November, at 7.5-7.6 to the dollar on the interbank market, against a low hit the previous day of 7.25-7.5. One of the conditions of the IMF 16.5 billion loan was greater currency flexibility. The National bank of Ukraine linked its official rate of hryvnia with the interbank rate.
Meanwhile, the Head of the National Bank’s Council Petro Poroshenko has accused Ukrainian authorities of the inefficient use of an IMF loan. “I may officially state that IMF resources are used very inefficiently,” he declared at a Russian-Ukrainian forum in Kiev on Friday. He also criticized authorities that agreed with the policy worked out by the IMF experts. In the opinion of Mr. Poroshenko, this policy “does not take into the account national interests of Ukraine.”

Black hole? Blackstone will consult Ukraine for 1 million euro monthly plus another 3,5 million, and all-inclusive working conditions for its experts.
Blackstone has been appointed as a financial adviser to Ukraine, highlighting the US private equity group's ambition to become the consultant of choice for countries faced with financial crisis, informs Reuters. According to a Ukraine cabinet document seen by the Financial Times, Blackstone will be paid a monthly fee of €1m ($1.26m) and a further €3.5m on completion of the contract. It will be paid all expenses, including bodyguards for staff. The contract, dated November 17, says Blackstone will co-ordinate Ukraine's $16.4bn standby loan from the International Monetary Fund, mediate between the government, the IMF and the World Bank and work on the country's stabilisation plan. It is also responsible for handling talks with Ukraine's creditors and developing a communication strategy for the stabilisation plan. The contract says Blackstone is not responsible for implementing the stabilisation plan or for its success. Blackstone's team of advisers to Ukraine is being led by Martin Gudgeon.

Charity first. Kateryna Yushchenko is on the visit to United States.
The first lady of Ukraine was visiting Pittsburgh hospitals at the end of last week – to gather some ideas that she can take back to her home country. Mrs. Yushchenko heads the supervisory board of the Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Foundation, which works with hospitals around the world to improve pediatric care in Ukraine. “She is coming basically to do work for her foundation, to see what can be done to help the hospitals in Ukraine,” said Luba Hlutkowsky, chairwoman of the board of directors of Pittsburgh Ukrainians, according to the local press.
More than 3,000 people in Pittsburgh – about 1 percent of the city's population – claim Ukrainian heritage. Kateryna Yushchenko, 47, was born in Chicago to Ukrainian immigrants. She moved to Kiev in 1991 and became a Ukrainian citizen in 2005, the year that her husband was elected president.

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