Saturday, February 17, 2007

Do not throw the baby out with the bath water. Opposition Alliance threatens Ukraine's political stability

Our Ukraine and Yulia Tymoshenko's back to together again alliance is very much in favour of the Presidential camp and not so favourable for Yulia or Ukraine.

The basis of the agreed positions between Our Ukraine and BYuT underpins the power of the President who as a result of the agreement it is said is embarking on a policy of revenge aimed at destabilising Ukraine's Parliamentary system of Governance.

The President has two very powerful entitlements under the provisions of Ukraine's constitution.

1) the power of veto
2) the right to suspend actions of the Cabinet of Ministers that he considers to be unconstitutional

The first power is readily open to abuse. The President can for what ever reason he considers appropriate veto and legislation put forward by the Government.

We saw the abuse of this power when Viktor Yushchenko sought to veto the second passing of the Law on the Cabinet of Ministers. The law as presented to him a second time had a typographical error in its printing having combined two paragraphs into one. The words as I understand were the same, but according to the office of the President this, debatable, technical error was sufficient to afford the President the right to veto the law on the cabinet a second time thus nullifying the fact that the law had been passed with the statutory 2/3rds majority required to override the President's right of veto.

The deal struck between Yulia Tymoshenko and Our Ukraine will ensure that the President's right of veto will not be overridden in the foreseeable future irrespective of it's merits.

The second power is not so straight forward in that the President must make an concurrent application for review by the Constitutional Court in order to suspend the actions of the executive government. Although a little more restrictive then the power of veto it never the less is also open to abuse and can be used as an effective a tool for delay and destabilisation.

An alliance between our Ukraine and BYuT places out of reach any chance of the parliament to hold the President to account. The numbers required (3/4) to impeach the President are unattainable.

The President as he had demonstrated over the budget can continue to prevent the government from functioning.

Olexander Moroz last week warned of a conspiracy between the two opposition parties to destabilise the government in what ever way possible so as to create grounds and justification to dismiss the Parliament and hold early Parliamentary elections in the hope that they will fare better in new ballot.

The possibility of Moroz's comments being true are not just a figment of imagination but possible reality.

If our Ukraine and BYuT pursue this course of action there are real risks and unintended consequences that must also be taken into consideration.

The abuse of Presidential power and the destabilisation of Ukraine's parliamentary democracy would seriously divide Ukraine and even if successful in the short term would set back Ukraine's democratic development years of even decades, not to mention the possible economic impacts that would result from such actions.

The suggested strategy runs the risk of backfiring

Even if the opposition are successful and they are returned with a slim majority following fresh Parliamentary elections the question still remains as to if and whether Our Ukraine and Yulia Tymoshenko can provide a stable government. The extent of acrimony and opposition between the two parties since Yushchenko sacked Yulia Tymoshenko as prime-minister and Our Ukraine's attempts to oust Yulia from regaining the post of prime-minister and their failed negotiations and delays in the formation of an orange governing coalition that occurred after the last parliamentary elections runs deep and political memories of betrayal last a long long time.

Throwing the baby out with the water - reversal of democratic parliamentary reforms

Part of the campaign of winning a second chance at being elected to government is to seek the reversal of the democratic reforms that saw Ukraine transit from a Presidential dictatorship towards a Parliamentary democracies bring Ukraine in-line with a majority of EU counties all who are successful parliamentary democracies.

If the opposition alliance is successful in reversing the democratic reforms that were agreed to the lead-up to the final Presidential ballot in 2004 they manage to hold the country together after destabilising the current government in order to create an excuse and are or reason for the President to dismiss the elected parliament and they are successful in winning seats at a fresh elections they then face the situation where they must deliver or else face losing the 2009 Presidential ballot as the tide would most certainly shift the balance of probabilities back to the opposing forces.

The last thing the Yulia and Yushchenko need is to restore power back in the hands of the president only to hand it over to their opposition in 2009

Which ever way you look at it the suggested strategy of destabilisation is very risk indeed and does little to restore confidence in Ukraine's democratic future development.