Community News

Monday, March 15, 2010

Counter-revolution in Ukraine

By Taras Kuzio

Leonid Kuchma (woops Nikolai Azarov) has returned to power in Ukraine. Five things are certain with the formation of an unconstitutional coalition and government.

The first is that the president was only in his job a few weeks before he began infringing the Constitution by postponing local elections and changing parliamentary rules so that deputies could join a coalition.

The real coalition has only 219 deputies from three factions with the remainder defectors and independents. These, such as Taras Chornovil and Inna Boguslovska, have no moral right to be still in parliament as it was the party in a proportional system – not them as individuals – who won the votes in the 2007 elections.

The second is that political stability, about which Yanukovych has set his heart on, is not likely to appear. This would have only been possible if a coalition had been established by the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine.

A grand coalition would have entailed Yanukovych compromising on his radical pro-Russian policies and dropping his revisionist platform, as well as giving the position of Prime Minister to Arseniy Yatseniuk. Yanukovych wanted to take neither of these steps and instead created a neo-Kuchmaite, Party of Regions-Communist coalition and government with ‘reformer’ Sergei Tigipko as mere window dressing.

The third is that the government has no reformist credentials and will deepen Ukraine’s stagnation leading to further regression from European integration. The choice of cabinet ministers is a telling sign that the old boys have returned. Dmytro Tabachnyk as minister of education brings on the threat of a direct attack on Ukraine’s nation-building project. This is the same person who wrote last year that "Galicians have virtually nothing to do with the people of Great Ukraine, mentally, confessionally, linguistically or politically. We have different enemies and different allies. Furthermore, our allies, and even brothers are their enemies, and their "heroes" (Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych) are for us murderers, traitors and accomplices of Hitler's executioners" Tabachnyk wrote in Izvestia in Ukraine (Sept. 23, 2009).

The Party of Regions gas lobby have also returned which means that the mass corruption of the Yushchenko era, when RosUkrEnergo was in place, will return.

The fourth is that pre-term elections are inevitable for two reasons. The first being that Yulia Tymoshenko will never agree to remain outside parliament until the next elections in 2012. This is what Yanukovych is counting on as he fears Tymoshenko heading the opposition inside parliament.

Ukraine is in legal no-mans land. The largest party in opposition in a democracy is the one to normally establish a shadow cabinet which in Ukraine is the Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT). But, Tymoshenko is not a deputy and it will be impossible to head a shadow opposition cabinet from outside parliament.

Yatseniuk has therefore stated his objective of establishing a shadow cabinet. Ukraine will therefore have two oppositions: a radical one led by Tymoshenko and ‘constructive’ opposition led by Yatseniuk.

The second point is that the Constitutional Court will inevitably find that Yanukovych and his counter-revolutionaries have infringed article 83 of the constitution and ignored a 2009 Constitutional Court ruling that only factions can establish coalitions. The coalition and government will be therefore officially unconstitutional.

The Communists, the Volodymyr Lytvyn bloc and Our Ukraine are all afraid of pre-term elections as they will not enter parliament. The Our Ukraine vote would go to Arseniy Yatseniuk and to Tymoshenko.

Viktor Baloga’s United Centre and Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine will not enter the new parliament and it is good riddance to both of them.

Yatseniuk supports new elections as he would receive his own faction with opinion polls giving him 8% (approximately 35 deputies). Yatseniuk came 4th in the first round of the elections and received 7%.

BYuT would receive about the same result as in 2007 (31%). In the first round of presidential elections Tymosenko received 25% which represents her hard core vote in support of BYuT. Her 45% second round vote included additional negative voters against Yanukovych. A 25% voter base can be easily increased in an election campaign.

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