Sunday, April 30, 2006

Coalition agreement on hold until June

Viktor Yushchenko puts Ukraine's economic and political future development future at risk

Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko, has indicated that a coalition agreement may not be singed until June 2006.

Whilst other players have all signed agreements on the formation of a coalition government Our Ukraine which is spearheaded by Ukraine's President has to date refused to sign any agreement. Under dispute is Ukraine's choice of Prime-minister and other cabinet positions.

Yulia Timoshenko party and the Socialist Party of Ukraine both who are part of the Orange coalition have agreed to the formation of an Orange coalition with Yulia Tymoshenko who received 22% of the Parliamentary vote taking the Prime-ministers position and the leader of the Socialist Party ( 7.5%) as the Parliamentary Chairman/Speaker.

On the surface of it this proposal seams fair and justified given that Our Ukraine who only received 14% of voters support currently holds the Presidency.

Problem is Our Ukraine are not happy about Yulia Tymoshenko being re-appointed as Prime Minister.  Yulia Tymoshenko was sacked by Viktor Yushchenko last year following Yulia's allegations of corruption in the Our Ukraine ministerial and Presidential offices.

The announcement by the President that a coalition agreement would not be agreed to until June seriously undermines Ukraine's economic and political stability. 

Uncertainty and procrastination only undermine Ukraine's future

If the parties can not quickly and amicable agree to a coalition within the first week of Parliament sitting then it all over but for the shouting.  Yushchenko and Our Ukraine would have singly handed destroyed the Orange Revolution before it started. What confidence can their be in any marriage when it starts off on a bad footing? 

Any delay in the formation of a government would be a disaster for Ukraine and Ukraine's democratic development. 

loss of confidence would seriously effect Ukraine's economy with Ukraine potentially facing meltdown.

The President, who is currently travelling around the Baltic countries, should be back in Ukraine trying to avoid any possible fall-out as a result of his parties failure to sign up to a working coalition.  The formation of a working coalition government should and must be his first priority.

It is of serious concern that the president is prepared to place at risk Ukraine's economic and p[locity development for the sake of power politics.

Politics is the art of compromise

Our Ukraine needs to decide if they support the formation of an Orange coalition or they don't. With any coalition the division of power needs to be balanced and given the outcome of the results of the election the proposal on the table that has been signed by all parties involved in the Orange camp except Our Ukraine is reasonable.

Our Ukraine with only 14% of voters support is not in the position to make unrealistic demands.  They already have the Presidency and they must now demonstrate that they are reasonable and considerate and prepared to work together for the sake of Ukraine and not just the interest of a minor party.

If they can not agree and live up to the ideals of the orange movement then they should form a coalition with the Party or Regions.

Fresh elections out of the question.

History shows that disunity and indecisiveness is the death of any government. The other alternative of holding fresh elections would be a disaster.  Our Ukraine would be the biggest loser as the costs of holding fresh elections are prohibitive and are unlikely to produce a different outcome other then provide Party of Regions with the opportunity of a clean sweep win.  

Politics aside.

The most important at risk in Our Ukraine's procrastination and refusal to agree to a coalition is Ukraine's economy.  To weeks is a long time in politics and two moths is even longer in terms of economic stability.

If, as LEvko reports, this mess won't be sorted out until June, will the markets hold still for that? That is a long time for politics and an eternity for markets. Will there be any confidence in the government after all that? It is quite possible that any confidence could evaporate and start a selloff. It happened in the 90s in both Mexico and Venezuela for a lot less.

A rapid devaluation of the currency is not a pretty thing. I was in Venezuela when it happened there. The bolivar crashed, there was a run on the dollar and that caused the central bank to put controls on dollar buys. They needed to do this to be able to use dollars to control the descent (soaking up the bolivars on the market requires buying with dollars) and dollars reserves are needed to pay for goods coming in the the country.

The restrictions pretty much put a halt on imports. I talked with a grain trader at one point and he said the whole country was down to a 3 days supply of wheat. And the owners of any tankers with wheat bound for Venezuelan ports were seriously considering turning them back around because they thought they wouldn't get paid when the grain landed.

People tend to get surly when they get hungry and the Venezuelans have been known to riot. The owners didn't turn them back in the end and there were no riots and Venezuela came through it but came butt up against nationalism. Enter Hugo Chavez. Not a good ending, really.

I hope it doesn't happen here (and I should add, there are many, many reasons why it shouldn't.) But one thing is for certain: The parties on all sides believe they are in a fight to the death with their opponents only and with no others. But there are other interests and other actors who also have a say in what happens in Ukraine. The politicians here need to take that into account in their deliberations and in their public statements. Because those other actors, acting on the basis of self interest, criticize it for that reason as we will, can have a very significant effect on the lives of Ukrainians. (That has been my point with the very careless— irresponsible, really— way the investment situation here has been handled.)

But noting what has been said and done in the past, I won't be holding my breath.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Our Ukraine and Party of Region Coalition

Agreement has been made on the formation of a coalition to govern Ukraine

It is always hard knowing what is true and what is not but this article was recently published and is widely circulating around the media.

This sort of speculation is rife in Ukraine and the longer Our Ukraine delay in formulating a coalition the the more confidence in Ukraine's political and economic development is undermined.

Victor Yushchenko, Ukraine's President MUST call for a quick decision on the formation of Ukraine's Government, even if this means compromise on their close of Prime Minister or coalition partners.

Whilst the impact of this indecisiveness has not yet become apparent the longer uncertainty drags on the greater the impact. The President MUST put an end to the uncertainty as soon as possible and before the Markets and international community begin to take flight.

KIEV, April 28 (Itar-Tass) -- The pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc and the opposition Party of Regions, led by Viktor Yanukovich, have agreed on the formation of a coalition in the new Supreme Rada (parliament) of Ukraine. This sensational report was circulated on Friday by a number of electronic mass media organs of Ukraine with reference to reliable sources.

Regions, led by Viktor Yanukovich, have agreed on the formation of a coalition in the new Supreme Rada (parliament) of Ukraine. This sensational report was circulated on Friday by a number of electronic mass media organs of Ukraine with reference to reliable sources.

According to their information, the parties reached agreement on Thursday night that Sergei Taratuta, chairman of the board of directors of the Industrial Union of Donbass Corporation and one of the three Ukrainian multimillionaires, would be nominated to the post of prime minister.

President Viktor Yushchenko, who is in Latvia on a visit, sent a message from there on Thursday giving his consent to the formation of a coalition by Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions, the sources report.

The political council of the Party of Regions adopted a resolution at its meeting on Thursday, which said that the party would hold talks on the formation of a parliamentary coalition with all the political forces, qualified for the new Supreme Rada, without exception. Yanukovich expressed confidence that the coalition formed by Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions could be the most effective.

Previously the observers forecast that Taratuta could well be regarded as a candidate to the post of prime minister. In their opinion, he will be a “technical premier,” because he does not have “clear political orientation.” This is exactly the thing that could suit both Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions. On the one hand, Taratuta comes from Donetsk. On the other hand, he supported the “orange revolution.”

The Party of Regions got 32.14 per cent of votes (186 seats in parliament) at the March 26 parliamentary elections. The Yulia Timoshenko bloc got 22.29 per cent of votes (129 seats). The pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc, with Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov on the top of the electoral list, got 13.95 per cent of votes (81 seats). The Socialist Party led by Alexander Moroz got 5.69 per cent of votes (33 seats), and the Communist Party led by Peter Simonenko got 3.66 per cent of votes (21 seats). There are 450 seats in the Ukrainian parliament. A minimum of 226 Mph is needed for forming a parliamentary majority. If Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions form a coalition, it will have a total of 267 seats.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Final Results

Following the unsuccessful outcome of court challenge

Following the determination of the courts the following is the final results of the March 26 Election campaign.

The Parliament must meet within 2 weeks from the offial publication date and then they have 30 days to form a coalition. Should a coalition not be able to be formed the President has the right to call for fresh elections. The holding of fresh elections is unlikely as the political fall out and costs is considerable. It is most likely that an Orange coalition of convenience will be formed in the first instance. With the passage of time (12 months) The President's party Our Ukraine' may withdraw from the coalition causing a constitutional crises and justification for the President to call fresh elections. With the election over Ukraine is expected to undergo major economic changes in the near future. Local prices will rise and inflation will continue in the double digits as Ukraine's economy begins to suffer. If the President, Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions can successfully focus the blame on to Yulia Tymoshenko's block then A fresh election in 12 months would be to their advantage. Big issues will be the increase in the cost of living, economic changes required for Ukraine to join the WTO, NATO and possible future EU membership.

Another alternative is that coalition negoitions break down with Our Ukraine spititting and agreeing to form a coalition with Party of Regions. There only needs to be a shift of 12 to 13 votes for their to be a change in government.

SourceCEC Final Results
DateApril 27, 2006 Poll Date: March 26, 2006
Name of the party or electoral bloc
PRParty of Regions (PR)
NS-NUBloc 'Our Ukraine' (NS-NU)
BYuTYuliya Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT)
KPUCommunist Party of Ukraine (KPU)
SPUSocialist Party of Ukraine (SPU)
LPBLytvyn's People's Bloc (LPB)
NVBNataliya Vitrenko Bloc 'People's Opposition' (NVB)

UPBKPUkrainian People's Bloc of Kostenko and Plyusch
OBNYOppositional bloc NOT YES! (OBNY)

Party BlockPoll%Vote%Seats%No of Seats










Sunday, April 23, 2006

Yushchenko Game Play (cont..)

Day 30 and still no Orange coalition

Day 30 since the March 26 Parliamentary Elections and still Yushchenko Our Ukraine party have not signed up for a working coalition.

The longer this goes on the more it will begin to undermine public confidence and begin to effect Ukraine's economic stability.

Yushchenko's who's election cost Ukraine over 300 Million Dollars in 2004 with the support of Yulia Tymoshenko and others refuses to acknowledge the outcome of the election results which saw Yushchenko's party come in 3rd place with only 14% of the overall vote behind Yulia Tymoshenko (22%) and Party of Regions (32%). As a result Our Ukraine does not hold a commanding lead. Prior to the election an agreement within the Orange team was reached with the understanding that whichever party receives the most votes will decide whop will become Prime Minister. This agreement was signed by all parties.

Following the election when it became obvious to all but Yushchenko and his team that Yulia Tymoshenko out polled Our Ukraine and in doing so represented an absolute majority of the future Orange coalition.

Viktor Yushchenko who played a major role in the election campaign in support of the Our Ukraine bloc has now reneged on the initial agreement and is holding out, in the hope of stopping Yulia Tymoshenko from being appointed Prime Minister.

In September last year Yushchenko fell out with Yulia Tymoshenko following her expression of concerns about corruption in the Our Ukraine camp and failure of the President to address a issues related to a number of highly questionable privatisations undertaken by the previous government. In retaliation the President sacked Yulia Tymoshenko and installed his own nominee as President.

On January this year modifications to Ukraine's constitution which came into full effect with the election of the new Parliament transformed Ukraine from Presidential decree to a Parliamentary democracy. No longer is Ukraine's government appointed by the President.

The President having lost power and failed to win support in the March elections is trying now desperately trying to hold on to what little power he has left.

The numbers game

The numbers in the new Parliament are tight and the President's Party are trying its utmost to twist the arms of various power brokers to see his man re-appointed PM and to ensure that his one time ally Yulia Timoshenko is sidelined.

Presidential Trump Card

The President has a trump card in that if an agreement can not be reached then he can call for fresh elections - But this would be unwise and unpalatable to the electorate.

A gamble not worth taking.

A fresh election would cost 100's of Millions of dollars, something that Ukraine can ill-afford). If a fresh elections were held the President runs the serious risk to alienating his support base even more and handing over complete control to the Party of Regions who would be seen better alternative to the indecisive personality clashed of the Orange coalition.

Yulia holds ground and conviction

Yulia Tymoshenko and her supporters, including the Socialist Party of Ukraine (7%) who make up the other 1/5th of the orange coalition show no issues of backing away from the original agreement.

The Blame Game

Meanwhile Yuchenko Our Ukraine are tying to shift the blame and justification for not signing the agreement to form a governing coalition on to Yulia's Tymoshenko who it appears Our Ukraine taking the prime Ministers position and they want a acceptable alternative to be nominated before agreeing to any formal coalition. (Something that seems unlikely to be agreed to).

Who folds first losers.

Whilst both parties try to out stare each other in the hold of blinking and caving in first all parties are losing ground with a continuing loss of public confidence in the future of any governing coalition.

The damage has probably already been done and there is little chance that public confidence can be fully restored.

If Yulia Tymoshenko hold out and ends up winning the chances are that the President will, most like in 12 months time, find reason and just cause to sack her again sometime in the future again in the hope that he can pull off a political-coo and have his man appointed as Prime Minster.

The alternative option

The other option available to the President and his Our Ukraine bloc is to form a coalition with the other major player "Party of Regions" whilst this option, in the absence of a firm signed agreement amongst the "Orange camp", continues to be canvassed with major business interests, who are opposed to a Yulia Tymoshenko lead government, indicating their support for such a coalition.

Problems with a Party of Region Coalition

If Our Ukraine was to form a coalition with Party of Region, the Party that was the main opposing force during the 2004 Presidential election, there would be a significant public fall-out with Yushchenko being seen Asa traitor to the 'Orange revolution' and would forever ruin his chance of playing a serious moderating or mediating role as Ukraine's Head of State. This loss of public confidence would destroy any hope of winning a referendum seeking further changes to Ukraine's Constitution, something that the President has signalled he want to achieve although he us yet to spell out exactly what it is he wants changed.

Assuming that a coalition between Our Ukraine and Party of Regions can be forged, it is difficult to predetermine on what basis and platform such a coalition can be managed. Yushenko is seen as a puppet of the United States whilst the Party of Regions, whose support base is in the East is backed by Russia.

Should a Our Ukraine and Party of Regions coalition be formed, apart from the political fallout, there is every chance that the two political blocs could form a government that is capable off addressing serious economic issues. Such a coalition could bring on side Ukraine's business elite and win back much needed Russian support and improvement in neighbourly relations. Russia is Ukraine major trading partner and effectively providers Ukraine Billion's of dollars in subsidies. The ability to develop a better working relationship whist pursuing independent national policies would assist Ukraine in improving its position in the short term and help it establish its economic development.

Assessment of options

It is difficult to trying to make an assessment as to which course would be best for Ukraine. Ir-perspective of the outcome Ukraine's immediate future is not looking bright. Prices are expected to rise and inflation will continue to sore no matter which party coalition is formed.

What is clear is that a Orange Coalition Government will have little chance of moderating inflation and its economic consequences. If Ukraine is unable to mend bridges And its relationship with Russia, then Russia rightly so will continue to withdraw the extent of its subsidies to Ukraine making it that much more difficult for Ukraine overall. Ukraine can not and should not expect the West and the United States to fill any short-fall.

It is for the reason that we believe in the event that Yulia Tymoshenko does not fold and Yushchenko ends up staying an Orange player he will try and buy some time ( 12 months or more) in the hope that he can manage any serious political fall out and with the passing of time his standing and position may improve. His party, and as a result his Presidency, suffered a serious blow during the March elections Both the President and Our Ukraine desperately needs time to rebuild, regenerate and regroup.

Yuchenko has little time for indecisiveness.

Once the official elections results, which have been held up by a legal challenge, are declared his has little time left. Parliament must sit within two weeks of the official results being published and then they must decide within 30 days who will govern Ukraine. Although technically the Parliament has thirty days any delay would begin to take its toll once the Parliament sits. Our Ukraine's time would have run out and he President can no longer afford to gamble with the outcome.

The time has come for each party to declare there intentions and for Ukraine to move forward.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Yushchenko Game play

Ukraine's President holds out and rejects 'Majority rules' whilst concern expressed about his constitutional standing

Ukraine's President, Victor Yushenko holds out, indicating his refusal to sign an agreement with his former orange coalition partners.

Viktor Yuschenko who was elected President of Ukraine following public protests and the decision of the court to hold fresh elections in December 2004.

His election, which cost Ukraine over 300 Million dollars, was only made possible with the support of Yulia Tymoshenko and Ukraine's Socialist Party. In recognition of her support Viktor Yushchenko appointed Yulia Tymoshenko Prime Minster.

Nine months later Viktor Yushchenko, amidst allegations of corruption within the Presidents Our Ukraine Party, sacked Yulia Tymoshenko as Prime minister and appointed a representative from the President's own Our Ukraine block.

Yulia Tymoshenko fought back and put her faith in the people of Ukraine and successfully campaigned winning 22%of the vote in the March 26 Parliamentary elections, coming second behind Party of Regions (32%) headed by Viktor Yushchenko's rival Viktor Yanakovic.

Yulia Tymoshenko won the hearts and minds of Ukraine and out polled the President's Party who only received 14% of the vote and in doing so has seriously undermined the President standing and credibility.

Viktor Yushchenko was portrayed as a traitor to the Orange cause in that under his administration mistakes and injustices of the past were not brought to account. The President's reforms came to a virtual stand still as Ukraine's economy stalled and inflation took off.

The problem now facing the President is that changes to Ukraine's constitution, agreed to by the President prior to his election, has seen Ukraine move away from a system of Presidential decree to a system of Parliamentary Democracy.

No longer is Ukraine's Prime Minister and Government the sole prerogative and choice of the President. Parliament now rules and it is Parliament that selects who will become Prime Minister and forms the Government .

The President and his men find themselves in a compromising position. Having only obtained only 14% of the vote in the March Parliamentary elections his party Our Ukraine is in a significant but minority position. The public and his supporters expect the President to reform alliances and fulfil his original agreement with his former Orange coalition members which also include Ukraine's Socialist Party.

Since the election representatives of the Orange Coalition have been meeting to reach agreement on the platform and basis of a coalition agreement that will govern a Orange coalition government. The Socialist Party and Yulia Tymoshenko bloc have both signed off on the agreement which includes the previous understanding that the party with the most support would select and appoint the Prime-minister who in turn will lead the coalition. But the President's party Our Ukraine have refused, to date, to sign.

Viktor Yuschenko is faced with a difficult decision. He can honour the commitments he made prior to the election or he can hold out and betray yet again the hopes and dreams of the the Orange supporters. At risk is the reform, as little as there have been, that were made following the 2004 Presidential election. If the President fails to re-establish the Orange alliance he seriously runs the risk of further undermining public and international confidence in Ukraine's political democratic reforms.

The main sticking point at this stage is the reappointment of Yulia Tymoshenko as Prime-minister .

If an agreement can not be reach and a working coalition representing over 50% of the newly elected Parliamentary representatives can not be formed then the President has the right to sack the new Parliament and call for a fresh election. Such a move would only further undermine Ukraine's political stability and would have serious implications on Ukraine's already fragile economy.

Further it is unlikely that fresh elections would break the stalemate within the Orange camp with the possibility of the President's Our Ukraine Party loosing further ground and public support

The other option that has is being talked about is that there will be a break in ranks within the Our Ukraine bloc and Our Ukraine would team up and form a coalition with the Russian backed Party of Regions. How much of this is reality as opposed to game play is difficult to determine, each party is using its options to try and win point and better position themselves in the negotiations.

The longer it take for The President and Our Ukraine to decide the more difficult and problematic it becomes.

To date the delays in announcement and the forming of a workable coalition has had no real impact on Ukraine's economic stability but this could change if it negotiations drag on.

The President and various players have been given more time to finalize negotiations.

Challenges to Ukraine's Parliamentry election results are before the court with one party "Natalia Vitrenko Block" having received over 3% of the formal ballot fell short ( 2.97%) of the Central Electoral Commissions 3% threshold which includes informal ballot papers in its calculation. A request for a recount to verify the results was refused by the electoral authority which has claimed that it can only undertake a recount if instructed to do so by the courts. The Courts are not expected to rule on the challenge until later this week and could be held back until next week. As a result the outcome of the election can not be confirmed until the court decides what to do. It is possible that the Court might order a recount in which case the Official results of the election would delayed another week.

This buys time for the President who rightly claims that it is inappropriate to conclude any coalition agreement until the results of the election are finalized.

The outcome of negotiations are finely tuned.

Whilst the President holds the trump card it is one that can not readily be played and all parties are aware of this. The calling of fresh elections would be a disaster and would only create insecurity and disability within Ukraine.

An alliance between Our Ukraine and Party of Regions would also create difficulty as it would require significant concessions to the Presidents's desired reform programme, setting back development of closer ties with Western Europe including plans for Ukraine to join NATO. Although such an alliance has been advocated by Ukraine's business community and industrialists and could possibly provide the nessassary political stability Ukraine so much needs the costs would be considerable in that it would severely undermine public confidence in Ukraine's political reform and would see Yushchenko join the many others recorded in Ukraine's history for their acts of betrayal.

The signing of the Orange coalition is the most likely outcome, if only to buy time and distance between the election and any future fresh elections.

The main unknown aspect to the formation of an Orange coalition is the current court challenge. If the Court rules that there should be a recount and the recount changes the result of the preliminary count with Natali Ventrenko exceeding the 3% imposed threshold she will gain 15 Parliamentary seats which will effect the balance of the power within the elected Parliament. In theory the Orange coalition would still hold a majority but with a significantly reduced margin.

The most likely out come will be the signing of an Orange coaltion. This would buy time and distance which in turn would allow further constitutional reforms, which the President hopes will hand him back the power that was taken from him, and in the President's thinking path the way for more favourable circumstances and possible justification in the holding of fresh elections.

Eitherway the future is not that bright or at least in the short term.

Prices are expected to rise with inflation continuing to outstrip income. Ukrainians will effectively be worst off as the President and Orange partnership pushes though various and necessary reforms that will in the short term create more hardship before it begins to produce fruit.

12 months from now Ukraine can expect fresh elections and the President will begin to question the decison to call his election a revolution when in reality what Ukraine needs most is evolution and the creation of a stable democratic government.

BBC- Yushchehnko's Our Ukraine to team up with Party of Regions

Focus News - Our Ukraine will not form alliance with Party of Regions

Ukraine Radio - Our Ukraine postpons desicion on signing Orange Coalition agreement

UNIAN - Our Ukraine hopes to team up with Orange Coalition


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Final result

Official Results of election announced

Ukraine today release official results of Parliamentary Elections held on March 26.

KIEV, April 10 (Itar-Tass) -- After two weeks of vote counting Ukraine’s Central Election Commission on Monday announced official results of the March 26 parliamentary elections.

The opposition Party of Regions led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich received 32.14 percent of votes, former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko 22.29 percent (129 seats), the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc 13.95 percent (81 seats), the Socialist Party 5.69 percent (33 seats), and the Communist Party 3.66 percent. (21 seats)

Several parties and blocs failed to overcome the 3-percent barrier. These include Natalia Vitrenko People’s Opposition bloc received 2,93 percent of votes, Vladimir Litvin bloc 2.44 percent, the Kostenko and Plyushch Bloc 1.87 percent, the Veche party 1.74 percent, Pora-PRP 1.47 percent, Not So! Bloc 1.01 percent. Other parties and bloc received less than 1 percent.

Although Natalia Vitrenko People’s Opposition bloc received over 3% of the formal vote the Central Electoral Commission includes informal ballots in calculating the required 3% threshold.

The election overall as reported was considered to be within the norms of a democratic election. Over 60% of voters participated in the election process.

The main issues of contention as we have noted was:

The refusal of Ukraine to establish polling booths in the Transd. region of Moldova, Changes to the absentee voting rules which disenfranchised some voters who were unable to attend their allocated polling place on the day and the refusal of Ukraine authorities to undertake a preliminary recount of the ballot. The last point being the most contentious.

Over 22% of voters were disenfranchised by the Party List System which in turn inflated the representation obtained by major political parties.

Had Ukraine adopted a preferential voting system these voters would have been given the right to express a preference in determining who should represent their interests.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Deep Division

Ukraine's president seeks to regain power as delays and uncertainly begin to become apparent

The deep divisions that exist within Ukraine's newly elected Parliament are becoming more and more apparent as the Financial Times, Tom Warner reports.

There was even the suggestion of a coalition of all five parties to come together to form a truly national government. But in reality this would not work and policies begin to divide and separate any working coalition.

Behind all the negotiations is the Trump Card held by Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko. If The new Parliament can not compromise and find agreement to form a coalition government the President can sack the new parliament and call for fresh elections.

Tom Warner in his article has mentioned that two- fifths of the President's faction "Our Ukraine" have called for coalition talks with the blue "Party of Regions" something that is supported by a majority of Ukraine's business leaders. How much of this is gamesmanship in an attempt to persuade Yulia Tymoshenko to forgo her ambitions to regain the prime-ministership and hand over the top job to Our Ukraine's nominee is yet to be determined.

Yulia Tymoshenko received over 22% of the national vote whilst Our Ukraine lead by Viktor Yushchenko only managed a mere 14% of the vote.

What is clear is that there needs to be more distance and independence from the office of President, Ukraine's Head of State, and his party of choice "Our Ukraine" if any coalition government.

No matter what shape or color of Ukraine's future Government the President withdraw from party Politics and Resign from Our Ukraine. Until then Yushchenko will only undermine the office of Ukraine's President and his own standing by continuing to be seen as only interested in representing the views of 14% of Ukraine's electorate.

It is unlikely and unwise for the President to force Ukraine back to the polls so soon. The outcome of a fresh election would be uncertain and would definitely play into the hands of the Blue Party of regions.

Tacticly it would be better for the President to enter into a marriage of conveinance and bid his time for 12 months and then if need be pull out of any coalition agreememnt and hold fresh elections but at what costs to Ukraine.

The longer the delay in reaching an agreement the greater the degree of uncertainty will have a negative impact on Ukraine's economy (Something that neither party can afford).

Squabbles hinder Ukraine's attempts to form coalition
By Tom Warner in Kiev
Published: April 8 2006 03:00 Last updated: April 8 2006 03:00

The world may be congratulating Ukraine on its first "free and fair" elections, but not all of its newly elected legislators are happy. Many are considering asking the president to dissolve the new parliament and try again.

The vote two weeks ago, in which a divided pro-western "Orange" camp won a narrow victory over "Blue" pro-Russian forces, has led to a stand-off in coalition talks that some say could be a stalemate.

The outcome depends mainly on whether the two "Orange" leaders - Viktor Yushchenko, the president, and Yulia Tymoshenko, who was his prime minister until they fell out and he sacked her - can be reconciled.

The trouble for Mr Yushchenko is that Ms Timoshenko's bloc won the biggest share of the "Orange" vote, which she says gives her a mandate to return as prime minister. If Mr Yashchin-ko's bloc disagrees, there will not be any coalition, she says.

Mr Yushchenko argues that the "Orange" camp should commit to a coalition but put off the decision about a prime minister.

He wants signed promises from the Tymoshenko bloc and the third prospective partner, the Socialists, that the coalition would carry out a programme in line with the president's vision - including quick entry to the World Trade Organisation, a free-trade agreement with the European Union, and no revision of past privatisations, one of the issues Mr Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko quarrelled over.

But, privately, Our Ukraine insiders say the real obstacle to a coalition is the animosity that exists between Ms Tymoshenko and leading Our Ukraine members, including several whom she has accused of corruption. At a closed-doors meeting this week where Our Ukraine leaders voted on a draft coalition agreement, many opposed giving her the premiership.

A group around Petro Poroshenko, a businessman and Ms Timoshenko's leading opponent within Our Ukraine, proposed a draft that would have invited pro-Russian "Blue" parties to join the coalition talks, which was voted down by a three-to-two majority.

Viktor Yanukovich, leader of the pro-Russian Regions party, which came first in the elections with 32 per cent of the vote, is calling for a "universal" coalition embracing all five parliamentary parties.

Most Our Ukraine members say their bloc would prefer new elections to an "Orange-Blue" coalition. But they say the stand-off is likely to continue until June or even July. Parliament is expected to open session in the second week of May. If it fails to appoint a cabinet within 60 days, the president can call new elections.

Mykola Katerenchuk, an Our Ukraine leader, says Ms Tymoshenko will be able to get herself nominated as prime minister, but she may not win confirmation as only 18 supporters would have to defect to undermine her bid.

The uncertainty is testing investors' nerves. The central bank released data this week showing it spent $1.8bn (€1.5bn, £1bn) of reserves defending the currency during the three months before the elections. Analysts say a coalition failure could precipitate a currency crisis.

But Mr Katerenchuk says the threat of new elections will force a compromise. "There's a lot of 'he doesn't like her' and 'she doesn't like him' and 'he doesn't like him' around. We need to put all that behind us."


Friday, April 07, 2006

Coalition Negotiations

Power game play as President's men play power politics

Viktor Yushchenko Files His Papers// For entry in the Orange coalition

by Vladimir Solovyev, Maxim Zagorestky All the Article in Russian as of Apr. 07, 2006

The pro-presidential party Our Ukraine People's Union disclosed a protocol of intention declaring its readiness to enter into an Orange coalition. That does not mean, however, that the disagreements over the new government are over. The protocol has only angered the potential Our Ukraine allies – Yulia Timoshenko and the socialists – and caused even more doubts about the possibility of reuniting the Orange forces.
Two Memoranda

The Our Ukraine political council met Wednesday night, and Thursday morning a new document was announced, around which the Orange forces are supposed to unite at last. It is officially being called a protocol of intention, and it has already been sent to Timoshenko and socialist leader Alexander Moroz. The document states at length that the allies are required to follow the political course of the president and no mention is made of the division of ministries among the coalition members. “The question of positions in the future government must be raised after the development of a program for the coalition and rules for its actions, and members of the coalition cannot issue each other ultimatums, not even over the assignment of posts in the government and parliament,” Our Ukraine council chairman Roman Bessmertny explained.

The document was harshly criticized by Timoshenko and Moroz as soon as they saw it. “We absolutely cannot understand why today, ten days after voting ended, not one real step toward a coalition has been taken,” Timoshenko said.

Moreover, Timoshenko and Moroz wrote a joint letter to the president in which they expressed their dismay at the difficulties in forming a coalition. “We see the protocol drafted and approved by the political council of Our Ukraine as one more confirmation of conscious stalling and as a pretext for not signing the memorandum agreed on earlier,” Moroz stated, referring to the memorandum that Our Ukraine agreed to and is now trying to forget.

The difference between the two documents in question is drastic. The memorandum describes the principle for the formation of the coalition and the rights and duties of its members in detail. One of its main points is the obligation not to engage in separate negotiations with other political forces. Another principle point is that, after the formation of a trilateral coalition, the parties in it will see to the full implementation of constitutional reforms. And the main condition is that the cabinet of ministers will be formed based on the proportional representation of the coalition members in the Supreme Rada. That means that the prime minister would come from the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc, which took 129 places in the parliament.

Not surprisingly, the Our Ukraine most annoyed Timoshenko, whose ambitions for the prime ministership are no secret. “The contents of the protocol can be paraphrased as the sun is warm, the grass is green, spring has come,'” she commented acidly, threatening that she and Moroz were prepared to join the opposition.

Two Our Ukraines

The protocol of intention is more likely to hinder the formation of an Orange coalition than help it. They are saying openly in the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc that the new document was pushed through by those who are not interested in a coalition with the bloc, much less a prime minister from her bloc. “The impression arises that the document on a coalition agreement with Our Ukraine comes from the business part of that bloc, which is doing everything it can to prevent the formation of an Orange coalition and to make the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc reject it,” deputy head of the Timoshenko Bloc Nikolay Tomenko said yesterday.

In spite of its declarations of unity, Our Ukraine is a highly mixed association. It was formed from six parties – the pro-presidential Our Ukraine People's Union, The People's Movement (Narodny Rukh), the Congress Party (Sobor), the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Christian-Democratic Union. When the political haggling began after the election, the bloc practically dissolved into political groups with different goals.

One wing of Our Ukraine, the president's inner circle, has long been in conflict with Timoshenko. It has the support of influential businessmen. Our Ukraine People's Union s at the center of that group and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is its honorary chairman. In addition, Anatoly Kinakh's Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, led by Naftogaz Ukrainy head Alexey Ivchenko, are also Timoshenko opponents. Together, they are a powerful influence on the president and they are categorically opposed to an alliance with the Timoshenko Bloc.

That group is thought to take its inspiration from Petr Poroshenko and Roman Bessmertny. They were already the main opponents of then-prime minister Timoshenko when the government crisis broke out last year, when their conflict resulted in all three leaving the government. During the election campaign, Poroshenko and Bessmerthy had pointed words to say about her professionalism in the post of prime minister. She responded in a similar vein. Even before the elections, she said that she would agree to a coalition with Our Ukraine only if the president banished his inner circle. When her bloc came in second in the elections, Timoshenko said that she would “get rid of the corrupt business layer” of Our Ukraine if she become prime minister.

A coalition with the Yulia Timoshenko bloc thus promises to be unpleasant for the business wing of Our Ukraine. Therefore, it would find a coalition with Viktor Yanukovich's Party of the regions more acceptable. The protocol of intentions presented to the Timoshenko Bloc and the socialist party could be considered a tactical victory by Timoshenko's opponents in Our Ukraine. In pursuit of their own aims, the president's has been saying more often that the president should unite the country, a hint at a coalition with the Party of the Regions.

The coaxing seems t be having some effect on the president. In any case, Yushchenko spoke of the unacceptability of a schism in the country last night after a meeting with Para-Olympic athletes. He said that the Orange coalition threatens to “divide Ukraine” in East and West. “We have to pay attention to the fact that a third of the voters showed a preference for another political force,” he said, and spoke of an alliance with the Timoshenko Bloc and socialist party skeptically. “We have to be open and honest. Eight months ago, there was such a coalition. It fell apart. Have we learned our lesson? Have the problems that tore apart the last coalition been solved? How long could that coalition last?” he said.

It is not likely that many in the president's staff will support an alliance with the Party of the Regions. At the overnight Our Ukraine political council meeting, the question was raised of leaving the protocol of intention open to signature by the Party of the regions and the communists. That option was rejected by a majority vote, however.

There is a fairly powerful counterweight in the so-called national-democratic wing of Our Ukraine. It is centered around the People's Movement and Interior Minister Boris Tarasyuk. Tarasyuk is supported by pro-Western politicians, and they are not willing to form an alliance with the opposing Blue forces. They are lobbying for a union with the Timoshenko Bloc and are demanding that the president restore Orange unity. Their position comes from the fact that their political base is in Western Ukraine, and their voters will not understand an alliance with Yanukovich. They will most likely leave the bloc if such an alliance is made.

Viktor Yushchenko is in a sensitive position. He will lose support no matter what side he takes. That's why he is stalling.


Yushchenko's Coalition Offer Receives Icy Response

Coalition Talks continue admist calls for Yushchenko to resign

Radio Free Europe reports orange Coalition negotiations go sour with the President's Our Ukraine holding out for a better deal without Yulia at the helm. Yulia Tymoshenko (22%) received nearly twice as many votes as Yushchenko's Our Ukraine Party (14%). The Socialists Party (6%) backed the position put forward by Yulia Tymoshenko.

Meanwhile calls for Ukraine's President to withdraw from party politics and resign from Our Ukraine continue unabated. Ukraine which has transferred power from its President to the Parliament. The President is no longer the leader of the government but Ukraine's Head of State.

The President must represent all of Ukraine and not just the views of a minor political party. By resigning form Our Ukraine and withdrawing from direct involvement in party politics Yushchenko would help regain public and international confidence in Ukraine democratic development. under the principles of a westminster parliamentary democracy the President is not a member of a political party and act independently on the advice given to him in the interest of all of their subjects. If Ukraine is to develop strong democratic government the Yushchenko must distance himself from Party politics and resign from Our Ukraine.

want to be on the outside looking in (file photo)
Uneasy talks are under way in Ukraine on how to put together a governing coalition following the March 26 parliamentary election. President Viktor Yushchenko's party has drafted a protocol of intent it says could serve as a basis for an alliance with the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialist Party. But Yushchenko's former Orange Revolution partners today poured cold water on the presidential offer.

PRAGUE, April 6, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The Our Ukraine People's Union (NSNU), the leading party in the Our Ukraine election bloc, yesterday said it had offered its former Orange Revolution allies the chance to form a coalition.

NSNU said it had decided to team up with the bloc led by former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko and Oleksandr Moroz Socialist Party and that it had drafted a protocol of intent to that effect.

Dual Rejection

But both Tymoshenko and Moroz today rejected the offer. Addressing reporters at a joint press briefing with the Socialist Party leader, Tymoshenko accused the pro-presidential party of dragging its feet for political purposes.

"I know for sure that these guys would rather eat their own hands than sign a memorandum under which our political force would have the right to form a government," Tymoshenko said.

The NSNU, Timoshenko's bloc, and the Socialists collectively garnered more than 42 percent of the vote in the March 26 legislative election. Together they would control 243 seats in the 450-member parliament, or Verkhovna Rada.

If completed, the new alliance would be similar to the one that was set up in the wake of Viktor Yushchenko's election in December 2004.

Addressing reporters ahead of Tymoshenkos and Moroz press briefing, Yushchenko said he hoped the upcoming coalition would not meet the fate of its predecessor.

"Such a coalition existed eight months ago," Yushchenko said. "It fell apart. Lessons have been [learned]. The problems that made the previous coalition fall apart have been resolved. How lasting is this [new] coalition going to be? I'm sure everything depends on trust, on the sincerity of declared values, and on individual actions."

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Ukraine's first post-revolution coalition collapsed when Yushchenko last September dismissed Timoshenko's cabinet amid infighting over privatization and accusations of corruption among high-ranking government officials.

Timoshenko's bloc finished second in the March 26 election with nearly 23 percent of the vote. The pro-Yushchenko Our Ukraine bloc finished third with just 14 percent.

Ukrainian media reports suggest a vast majority of NSNU leaders oppose the idea of having Tymoshenko run the government again.

The former prime minister has pledged that, should she return to office, she would amend some of Yushchenko's policies. She has notably threatened to review a controversial gas deal with Russia that the Ukrainian president insists is good for the country.

Presidential Stamp

But Yushchenko has made it clear that he wants the future coalition to fulfill his program.

The Ukrainian president has mandated Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov and NSNU Political Council Chairman Roman Bezsmertnyy to agree on a future coalition program with his potential allies.

Bezsmertnyy today said no negotiations on ministry portfolios would be held until an agreement is reached on how the governing alliance should work.

"The coalition should be united around the president's program and coalition members cannot present ultimatums, including regarding candidates for specific posts in the government and in parliament," Bezsmertnyy said.

In his first comments since the March 26 election, Yushchenko on April 1 accused Ukraine's political leaders of being more interested in vying for cabinet posts than working for the good of the country.

In addition, the president today warned his prospective coalition partners that they should pay more attention to those voters who backed his rival in the bitterly contested 2004 presidential election --Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukraine Divided

Yanukovych Party of Regions, which is deeply rooted in Ukraine's Russian-speaking eastern areas and in southern Crimea, finished first in the March 26 polls with nearly one-third of the votes.

In Yushchenko's words, steps need be taken to overcome the traditional divide between Ukraine's regions.

He said: "The [new] coalition must find enough courage in itself to give the proper answers so that calls [for federalism] are not heard again."


Thursday, April 06, 2006

More reports of Orange Coalition

Euro News also reports an agreement between Orange Partners

Yushchenko's party goes for "orange" coalition

Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko's party has announced it will form a coalition with other so-called "Orange Revolution" liberal parties. This effectively rules out a deal with a pro-Moscow party that won a parliamentary ballot on March 26. Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party will join up with the Socialist party and the bloc led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The question still remains though: who will be prime minister? Observers say Tymoshenko has been pushing for the job, a post that Yushchenko took away from her last September. The polls were the first to be held under new rules that give parliament the power to name the premier. A new Orange coalition would leave the Regions Party of pro-Moscow politician Viktor Yanukovich out of government, even though his party won most of the votes in the election.


Orange Coalition

World News reports agreement between Orange Partners but details unknown

World News reports an agreement has been reached between Yulia Tymoshenko, Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party of Ukraine to form a coalition.

Unresolved is the choice of Prime Minister and the basis of any agreement. Analysts predict that the Orange Coalition will falter within 12 to 15 months and with the passing of time Our Ukraine will withdraw from the coalition and call for fresh elections. It is expected that Ukraine's economy will get worst before it gets better with inflation expected to extend well into double digits as prices rises take off.

As discussions between the various factions continue more players in the Political arena will be calling for Ukraine's President to withdraw from Party Politics and independently represent all of Ukraine and not just the perceived interests of Our Ukraine with only obtained 14% of Ukraine's constituent vote in the March 26 Election.

Under Changes to Ukraine's constitution Ukraine is no longer governed by Presidential rule and as suck the President is no longer the leader of Government but a head of state of a Nation. Like that of the judiciary a Head of State should be independent from Political forces.

Ukrainian president Yushchenko backs "Orange Revolution" coalition

A spokeswoman for Our Ukraine said its leadership had agreed to team up with the Socialist party and the bloc of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's party backed a coalition with other "Orange Revolution" liberals on Thursday, consigning to opposition a party sympathetic to Moscow that won first place in a March 26 poll.

A spokeswoman for Our Ukraine said its leadership had agreed to team up with the Socialist party and the bloc of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko -- the president's estranged ally who had the best score of all liberal groups. But there was no indication who might be named prime minister. Nor was it clear whether the other parties agreed or when an accord could be formally signed.

The fiery Tymoshenko, whose bloc finished second in the poll and far ahead of the president's party, has made clear she will settle for nothing less than getting back her job as prime minister. She has also pledged that, if returned to office, she would cancel a deal with Russia sharply raising gas prices. "We declare our intention of creating a coalition of democratic forces after political groups are formed in (parliament)," read a statement issued after a late-night meeting of Our Ukraine's political council.

"The basis of our union will be the intention to implement the programme of President Viktor Yushchenko." Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov and Roman Bessmertny, head of Our Ukraine's election campaign, were assigned the task of meeting Tymoshenko and the head of the Socialist Party to agree on a future coalition programme.

By opting for a purely 'orange' coalition, Yushchenko spurned a deal with his old Moscow-backed adversary, Viktor Yanukovich, whom he humiliated in the December 2004 revolution but whose Regions Party finished first in the election taking around 32 percent of the vote.

Dragging feet

Both Bessmertny and Tymoshenko scheduled news conferences for later in the day. In the run-up to the announcement, Tymoshenko and Socialist Leader Oleksander Moroz had accused Our Ukraine of deliberately dragging its feet in coalition talks under way now for more than a week.

Both Tymoshenko and Moroz had stood alongside Yushchenko at weeks of rallies in Kiev's snow-covered Independence Square in the "Orange Revolution" -- overturning a rigged election initially won by Yanukovich. The Supreme Court ordered a re-run of the poll -- won by Yushchenko, who immediately appointed Tymoshenko prime minister.

But after months of infighting over privatisation policy and her attempts to control markets the government split into two camps, each accusing the other of corruption.

The president dismissed Tymoshenko, prompting mass disillusion among supporters who had taken part in the protests. Yanukovich, the president's defeated rival in the 2004 poll, made a comeback in the March election, conducted under new constitutional rules, when his Regions Party finished first. But Timoshenko's fiery rhetoric clearly appealed to voters and her bloc came second with 22 percent to 14 percent to Our Ukraine.

With the president's powers reduced, the 450-seat parliament is for the first time empowered to name the prime minister -- and is given about 60 days to form a working government. The combined number of seats won by "Orange" parties clearly outscored the Regions Party, which on Thursday said it would only take part in a coalition if Yanukovich was named prime minister. It also demanded other top cabinet posts.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Editorial: Yushchenko Faces Tough Coalition Choice

Focus English News

Below is an interesting editorial commentary and though it worthwhile re-publishing. It addresses some of the issues confronting the choices facing Ukraine.

Whilst the electioneering is over the political battle is just beginning.

We continue to hold the view that Yushchenko who is no longer the leader of the government but now a head of state must resign from Our Ukraine. It would be wrong for him to reassert undue influence in any proposed marriage of convenience between Our Ukraine and Yulia Tymoshenko.

Yushchenko would best serve Ukraine if he remained an independent President representing all of Ukraine and not just the interest of Our Ukraine who in turn represent only 14% of the country

Predication: Any marriage/coalition between Our Ukraine and Yulia Tymoshenko would be short lived and with the passing of time and a bit of distances the President will propose changes to the constitution and may use this as a pretence to dissolve the coalition and call for new election. We would give it 12 to 18 Months max.

Whilst we personally support many of the issues, the emotion and heart felt passion of Yulia Tymoshenko a coalition between Our Ukraine and Party of Regions would be best for Ukraine's economic development.

A coalition with Party of Region and realignment of national policies will produce a more stable and consistent government spelling the end to the Orange revolution and a move back to evolution.

By Valentino Mite

President Viktor Yushchenko's party suffered a humiliating third-place finish in Ukraine's March 26 parliamentary elections, but is still in a position to determine the shape of the new government by joining a coalition with one of the two leading parties. Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc faces a tough choice -- its 81 seats can help form a solid majority in a coalition with the winner of the elections, former rival Viktor Yanukovych Party of Regions. Or, it could repair its estranged relationship with the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, which finished second, in an effort to form a three-party coalition including the Socialist Party of Ukraine. Both marriages of convenience pose potential pitfalls.

The Ukrainian president must choose between two of his main political rivals to forge an alliance that will determine the next government.
His Our Ukraine bloc is the trump card in helping either of the top two finishers in the election to construct a coalition that will hold a majority of the votes in the new parliament.

The Choices

But the top party, the Party of Regions, is led by Viktor Yanukovych -- Yushchenko's bitter rival in Ukraine's 2004 presidential elections.
The second-place finisher, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, is led by his closest ally during the Orange Revolution that launched him to power in 2004. But their relationship became strained after Yushchenko dismissed Tymoshenko from her post as prime minister in September.
Tatyana Stanova, who heads the analytical department at the Center for Political Technologies, a Moscow-based think tank, says choosing Tymoshenko as a partner would be politically advantageous for the president.
"In fact, for Yushchenko the scenario of uniting with Tymoshenko is a perfect one, but only if Yuliya [Tymoshenko] abandons her pretensions of heading the government," Stanova said.
Tymoshenko has made no secret of her desire to regain her position as prime minister, and analyst Stanova believes that chances are high that she would refuse any other cabinet position.
But while Tymoshenko and Yushchenko share pro-Western principles, Stanova concedes that forming a coalition with the pro-Russian Party of Regions might be easier for the president.
"In the second case [a coalition with Yanukovych] there are fewer obstacles and it is less complicated and easier," Stanova said.
Others envision further obstacles to a Yushchenko-Tymoshenko reunion.

Stumbling Blocks

Oksana Shular, an analyst at the Institute of the Euro-Atlantic Cooperation think tank in Kyiv, says that talk of another Tymoshenko premiership could scare away foreign investment.
"Already now, many British experts have expressed their concern that Timoshenko's premiership will cause a very big flight of investment from Ukraine," Shuler said. "Investors might start doubting whether to invest in Ukraine -- as Timoshenko's premiership was marked by calls for reprivatization and creating stricter rules for privatization."
In addition, it is plausible that in the event that Tymoshenko were to regain her position as prime minister, the president would have a harder time checking her power this time around. This is in part due to reduced presidential powers courtesy of new constitutional amendments, and because of the political strength Tymoshenko gained by finishing ahead of the president's party in the recent elections.
Shuler believes that for investment, a Yushchenko-Yanukovych alliance makes more sense. But such a convergence would also mark a return to the past, as it would serve to unite business and politics -- the separation of which was one of the main aims of the Orange Revolution.
"The east of the country is more industrial, all big business is mainly in the east and it is represented, of course, by the Party of Regions," Shuler said. "It [a Yanukovych-Yushchenko alliance] will be a minus. There were many calls [during the Orange Revolution] to make a clear division between the authority and business. But in case of this big coalition -- the one between the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine -- there will be no division between the authority and business."
Meanwhile, others believe that Yushchenko is in a lose-lose situation, as an alliance with either of the two parties will weaken his credibility and hinder his political future.

No Third Option

However, analyst Stanova says there is no third way, as a coalition between the Party of Regions and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc is out of the question. Stanova says Tymoshenko has characterized Yanukovych as an evil force in the hands of the Kremlin, while Yanukovych has described Tymoshenko as unpredictable and too ambitious.
Sohat leaves Yushchenko holding the cards, and while Our Ukraine has announced that it will not decide on a coalition partner before April 7, the clock is ticking.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ukraine takes a backward step

Democratic rights to a fair and honest election denied

The Ukrainian Parliement today took a step backwards in refusing to protect the democratic rights of minorities by refusing to undertake a recount and verification of the elections results.

In teh west preliminary recounts of votes is a common practics to verify the results of the election. It should be a matter of course and part of the responsibiles and duties of the electoral commission.

The fact that the outgoing Parliament is called on to pass judgement is of concern itself. under normal circumstances Parlaiments go out of office on teh eve of the election and any caretaker administrative responsibilities are the responsibility of the President or Head of State.

To date the election process was well conducted but the same can not be said for the process of counting the ballot. There is serious doubt as to the accuracy of the count with allegations of possible fraud and deception.

The failure of the Ukrainian electoral commisison to undertake as a matter of course a recount of the ballot only undermines public confidence and brings Ukraine further into disrepute the administration of its democratic rule.

Viktor Yushchenko should excerise his authority and act responsibily to restore confidence in Ukraine's democratic development and put call for a re-examintaion of the ballot. If only to grant others the same rights he called for in his own election.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ukraine's Yushchenko: I'm still the boss

voice or reason or that of a dictator in the making

Ukraine's Yushchenko: I'm still the boss

By Christian Lowe
Saturday, April 1, 2006; 11:23 AM

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko tried on Saturday to reassert his authority after an election defeat, warning estranged ally Yulia Tymoshenko she could only head a coalition government on his terms.

Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party finished a humiliating third in a March 26 parliamentary election, forcing him into a round of horse-trading with the charismatic Tymoshenko -- whose bloc placed second -- about forming a coalition.

The president said any partners in a coalition government would have to sign up to a detailed plan of action and a legislative timetable, a condition that looked like an attempt to rein in Tymoshenko's radicalism.


Candidate's calls for recount

Ukraine's President calls for all votes in last weeks election to be re-examined

Ukraine's President has called for a vote recount of last weeks national election at the request of a number of candidates.

A recount would delay the official declaration of the poll and buy more time to finalise any possible coalition agreement.

At stake is the election of minor parties who failed to secure the 3% threshold required under Ukrainian Electoral Law.

On the official results have recorded Natalia Vitrenko Bloc with just under 3% (2,97%) of the vote. Analysis of the election results shows that Natalia Vitrenko received over 3% of the formal vote but that Ukraine has included the number of informal votes in calculating the threshold required.

At risk is up to 20 Parliamentary seats which if elected would be allocated to Vitrenko's party.

There is concern and debate that the 3 percent threshold should be based on the formal vote and not include informal ballot papers. Informal ballot papers are recorded as a result of ballots showing no vote or indicating multiple choices of candidates/parties. In most democratic countries only formal votes are considered in determining the result of an election.


Yushchenko loses international respect

Viktor Yushchenko is coming under the media spotlight with questions being asked about his standing and credibility following last weeks National Election and the fact that the Presidents support party "Our Ukraine" only managed to gain 14% of voters support.

Ukraine's President is seriously being undermined and unless something is done soon the situation will only get worst.

At the heart of the problems is the fact that the President is closely aligned with Our Ukraine amidst concern that the President has not yet come to terms with the fact that he no longer rules the country.

Last weeks election heralded in the final stages of Ukraine's transition from Presidential rule to a Parliamentary democracy. The responsibility for government and the power now lies with the Prime minster and Ukraine's Parliamentary representatives not the President.

There is ongoing concern that the President no longer has the support or moral justification to pursue his reform agenda or that of the 'Orange revolution' which in December 2004 result elected Viktor Yushchenko's as Ukraine's current President.

If Viktor Yushchenko does not act soon to distance himself from membership of Our Ukraine his Presidency can only fall into further decline and have serious impact on the economic development of Ukraine.

Calls for his resignation from Our Ukraine and represent all of Ukraine and not just 14% is .

Viktor Yushchenmko's public support took a nose dive last year when he sacked his Major political alliance partner and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. This coupled with the Presidents consent to grant immunity form prosecution to all elected Ukrainian politicians, which was seen by the west as agreeing to and fostering political corruption, has seriously undermined Viktor Yushcheko's credibility.

The electorate retalliated and made there views widely known with Yulia Tymoshenko last week receiving over 22% of voters support, the second highest polling party in Ukraine, with the President's party obtaining less then 14% just over 1/2 the vote of Yulia Tymoshenko.

The President was closing aligned with Our Ukraine during the election campaign and as such most commentators and the world have interpreted this as a President who has lost support and confidence of the electorate.

Viktor Yushchenko has a chance to regain and rebuild the respect that was once given him but he can only do it by standing aside and resigning from Our Ukraine. If an 'Orange coalition' is to work and be successful Viktor Yushchenko needs to rule from behind the seans by trying to provide a guiding hand and good advise. he can not do it as a member of a minor political party.


By resigning from Our Ukraine and distancing himself from day to day party politics the President can begin to rebuild and regain public and international respect which is fundamental to the further development of Ukraine's as a truly democratic country.