Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yushchenko or Yatseniuk – who will be the next Prime Minister of Ukraine?

Viktor Yanukovych was inaugurated as the President of Ukraine today. Yulia Tymoshenko still insists that he is not her President. Prime Minister and members of her faction have even ignored the official inauguration events. Looks not very smart, imho.

But who will be the next Prime Minister? Has Yulia Tymoshenko any chance to save her chair? Here is some news on the negotiations inside Parliament:

1. The Block of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYT) has started to gather signatures of MPs to justify the current parliamentary coalition, the existence of which is rather questionable. (The Speaker of Ukrainian Parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn has demanded to prove the existence of current coalition before 2 of March, otherwise a new coalition shall be formed, or in 60 days Parliament will be dismissed according to the Constitution).

2. The BYT will definitely fail to gather 226 signatures; it is obviously seen after today’s sitting of the Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense (OU-PS) faction. Not more than 10 MPs from the faction would support Mrs. Tymoshenko premiership.

3. To form a new coalition (in order to avoid the early election) the Party of Regions and its leader Viktor Yanukovych need support of the OU-PS faction.

4. According to the info from today’s OU-PS faction sitting, the majority of MPs may support the coalition with Yanukovych party, but only if the ‘democratic Prime Minister’ is elected (i.e. not-member of the Party of Regions).

5. The candidacy of ex-President Viktor Yushchenko has been actively lobbied, and is in general approved by the Party of Regions. But the OU-PS faction (ex-pro-Yushchenko monolith, now split to little groups of interest) has not approved the Yushchenko-PM-scheme. Yet?

6. Today OU-PS MPs had discussed the idea to nominate ‘number 4’ in the first round of Presidential election Arseniy Yatseniuk as a future PM. He made a speech, which did not inspire the majority of veteran MPs as was made in Yatseniuk’s habitual paternalistic and moralizing style.

7. On Monday, 1st of March, the OU-PS faction will have the next sitting to approve the final decision. Before that they are going to negotiate with Yanukovych, and also with Tymoshenko.

8. It sounds surreal, but I think Viktor Yushchenko has about 80% of chance to become next Prime Minister – he is the most convenient for all (as nobody wants to keep the rating of Yatseniuk).

9. Though the PM’s chair is not a convenient place to seat in these days, due to the total crisis of Ukrainian economy and state finances, when the declaration of default is a very realistic outcome.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Court-Round. Hearing of the case on election of President of Ukraine to be broadcasted live this week, and the Inauguration ceremony – next week.

Presidents Obama, Medvedev, Sarkozy, and other world leaders has already congratulated Yanukovych on winning the presidential election, but Prime Minister Tymoshenko still fights. Tomorrow (on 16 February) she is going to take the election-case to the Supreme Administrative Court. The victory was fabricated, Yulia Tymoshenko claims. The same time Viktor Yanukovych is getting ready for the inauguration: Parliament is expected to approve the date – 25 February 2010 – during its tomorrow morning sitting (16 Feb).

On Sunday, 14 February, the Central Election Commission of Ukraine officially declared Viktor Yanukovych as a winner of presidential election in Ukraine (the results adopted by the CEC are here in Ukrainian language).

One day before the CEC decision, on 13 February, Yulia Tymoshenko made an appeal to the nation, saying she would not accept the victory of Yanukovych because the result of election was fraudulent. Saturday declaration was the first public appearance of Mrs. Tymoshenko after the Election Day (except of her televised opening speech at the Cabinet sitting, when she avoided mentioning election topic at all). ‘I want to declare very clear: Yanukovych is not our President. In whatever way the situation develops, he will never be the legitimately elected President of Ukraine’, she said.

So, the ‘court-round’ of election of the President of Ukraine – 2010 is inevitable. But it is most likely that the claim of Prime Minister will not be satisfied. The difference between candidates is to big (3.48 percent) to prove the falsifications and to change the winner’s name. Though the Tymoshenko camp (at least a part of it, as some personages, including, according to rumors, the Vice Speaker of Parliament Mykola Tomenko, Vice Prime Minister Grygoriy Nemyria, and even a top-lawyer of BYT and Deputy Head of Block of Yulia Tymoshenko faction Andriy Portnov were strongly against the court appeal) expects the cancellation of the election result and declaration of a repeat, third round of election, or even the roll-back to the new first round with a new nomination of presidential candidates.

Whatever the case, the show will surely be worth watching. I used a word ‘show’ as the First Vice-Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchynov has promised today that the Supreme Administrative Court sitting will be broadcasted live on TV.

Very interesting point is the possible involvement of some OSCE observers as witnesses during the court examination. Direct speech of Yulia Tymoshenko: ‘My convincement in the idea that we have to fight is supported also by the last evidences of some OSCE observers. They expressed a wish to testify in courts on our side with video materials, with their estimations that there was a system fraud at the Ukrainian election’. Oleksandr Turchynov also has said today that they will file to the court some video materials, which prove the fraud in favor of Yanukovych.

The same time the winner’s establishment prepares to the inauguration procedure. According to the law on election of the President of Ukraine, the inauguration shall take place during 30 days from the official declaration of the winner by the CEC (in this case – by March, 14). The first question in tomorrow’s order of business of Parliament is the establishment of the inauguration date on Thurthday, 25 February. This proposal is very likely to be approved by the majority of MPs.

The Inauguration Day is closer, and the negotiations inside Parliament are more and more active. As I mentioned in my previous posts, to dismiss Prime Minister a new coalition of at least 226 MPs (leading by the 172-seats Party of Regions) should be formed. Despite of some controversial Constitutional provisions on the procedure of coalition-building (some details on the formation of current, very questionable BYT-leaded coalition may be found here) the coalition of the Party of Regions, the Block of the Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, part of Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence faction, and maybe the Communist Party faction is likely to be formed, and Parliament will pass a no-confidence motion against the PM Tymoshenko. It is very probable that the no-confidence-vote will appear in the parliamentary agenda even next week.

By the way, the ex-presidential Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence (OU-PS) faction is demonstrating re-load tendencies. Some members of the faction has already mentioned that there are active negotiations on the formation of a new political movement (group, party) on the base of OU-PS, with the participation of members of other parliamentary factions (BYT, Party of Regions) and out-of-parliament political forces.

Who will be elected as a new Prime Minister? It may be a PM of a current ‘opposition government’, ex-Vice Prime Minister (2002-2005 and 2006) and ex-Minister of Finance (2006), Head of Viktor Yanukovych electoral headquarters Mykola Azarov. But some people say that the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko may be appointed to this position due to some shadow pre-election agreement with Yanukovych. Let’s see. The scheme with the Prime Minister who is not a member of the Party of Regions is very convincing – in that case ‘democratic’ forces in Parliament will have a strong argument to explain to electorate their decision to join the anti-crisis coalition of Viktor Yanukovych.

In the meantime the phantom of snap parliamentary poll is still present in Parliament’s building. As it would be easy to link the early parliamentary election with the regular local elections, scheduled for this year, MPs are preparing the decision to postpone the local vote, scheduled on 30 May 2010 (the campaign shall be started on 23 February). Vice-Speaker Mykola Tomenko (BYT faction) has registered a project of law proposing to shift the local election date to 27 March 2011. MP from the OU-PS faction Oksana Bilozir proposed another (earlier) date in her law project – 26 September 2010. Parliament will discuss this question tomorrow. Show to be continued.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Breaking News. Yulia Tymoshenko decided not to recognize the victory of Viktor Yanukovych and to contest the result of election in court.

The press conference of Yulia Tymoshenko was announced and cancelled two times today. Instead of making public speeches, Prime Minister held a closed sitting of her parliamentary faction. Yulia Tymoshenko, who, according to preliminary calculations of Central Election Commission, is 3.20 percent behind Viktor Yanukovych, had to make a vital decision: what to do next?

The result of today’s evening sitting couldn’t stay hidden from journalists (that’s what democracy is, by the way!). Ms Tymoshenko declared that she will not recognize the victory of head of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych, and ordered her lawyers to start legal proceedings to contest the result of the election. The main goal is to repeat voting, i.e. to have the third round of presidential election as it was in 2004.

According to the latest CEC data (99.44 percent of electronic ballot-count records counted), Viktor Yanukovych has 48.81 percent of the vote, and Yulia Tymoshenko – 45.61 percent. 4.37% of Ukrainians voted against all. 1.19% of ballots were declared invalid.
The turnout on 7 February was 69.07%.

To be continued tomorrow.