Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Unites Ukraine as Constitutional Crisis is resurrected

Day Five and Day Six: The Easter weekend provides a period of respite. Protesters supporting the government continue their vigil in Kyiv throughout the Easter celebrations. The Orthodox Church sets up a chapel in the Tent City. The battle will continue with the first round blows and shots fired in the period leading up to "Constititional Wednesday" April 11, the day the Constitutional Court is expected to respond to the application of appeal submitted by the Government and the deadline set by the President to conform to his Presidential decree.

There is growing concern over the ability or willingness of the Constitutional Court to rule on the Governments appeal. Most commentators believe that if the court hears the case based on legal arguments the Court would have to declare the President's decree dismissing the Parliament unconstitutional.

The media had reported that the President had met with members of the Constitutional Court last Friday to discuss the pending Constitutional Crisis and the President's concern that the Court had announced it would consider the Governments appeal on Wednesday. If the Court rules against the President and cancels the planned election the president would have no other alternative but to resign. What the President is hoping for is that the Court will defer its determination which in turn will buy him time to ensure that the election is allowed to proceed.

The world will be watching developments in Ukraine's Constitutional Crisis and any underhanded tactics such as a delay in the Courts decision and continuance of the election will be seen as another political Standoff and dysfunctional Ukrainian legal system. And delay in judgement would only exacerbate the current tensions and division within Ukraine.

If elections are allowed to proceed the President will campaign heavy on the political mantra of let the people decide which is difficult for the governing forces to provide a counter argument other then to call for the President resign and seek re-election in order to renew his mandate.

There is also talk that if the Government does not conform with the president's decree to hold fresh elections the President, backed by the members of the National Security Council all chosen by Yushchenko, have indicated that he will declare a state of emergency and instigate martial law in Ukraine. Drastic steps for a president that has backed himself into a corner and has already gone down in history as Ukraine's first President to dismiss the elected Parliament.

What was interesting is that the president had banned Olexander Mork from attending the National Security Council meetings. Under Ukraine's Constitution the Speaker of the Parliament is entitled to sit in on all meetings. Olexander Moroz continues to hold the position of Speaker until the new Parliament is elected. The Speaker of the Parliament is second in line should the President resign or is no longer able to fulfil the duties of Ukraine's Head of State.

If the Court does not respond or does not make a ruling as to what action to take and the conduct of the election proceeds there will come a point in time when the Government will have to change tact and begin to campaign for the election or risk losing support as the public's attention begins to focus on the election itself.

The clock is ticking and Ukraine's future is precarious to say the least.