Thursday, December 18, 2008

Allies desert Yushchenko; new movements emerge

Kyiv: Kyiv Post Editorial by Alina Pastukhova

President lost control of his faction in parliament, a portentous development as more of his allies are fleeing his camp to back Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko

Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko lost control of his faction in parliament, a portentous development as more of his allies are fleeing his camp to back Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Also, two upcoming leaders started new political movements in a country that already has 159 officially registered political parties.

Bucking their nominal leader, Yushchenko’s parliamentary faction Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense signed a formal coalition agreement with Tymoshenko’s and Rada Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn’s factions on Dec. 16. After several days of intrigues, 37 out of 72 Our Ukraine members joined the coalition, forming a coalition of 213 deputies – still short of the 226 majority.

The signing of a new coalition deal caused a bitter split in the faction and resignation of its leader, Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, and deputy head Roman Zvarych, who remain loyal to the president. “I think that the faction’s decision [to join the coalition] is moronic, and I cannot be a leader of a moronic faction,” said Zvarych.

Mykola Martynenko and Borys Tarasyuk are among the candidates vying to lead the faction, while the split and alienation of Yushchenko from his own party will continue. “The president’s influence on the faction will continue to decrease,” said Taras Stetskiv, an Our Ukraine – People’s Self Defense deputy who also supported the coalition of three. “Yushchenko ignored his chance to allow the whole OU-PSD faction to join the coalition and lost his only chance for becoming its leader.” Stetskiv predicted that eventually up to 60 people will sign the coalition agreement.

While the pro-presidential camp continued to fight, other ex-presidential allies, ex-Rada speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk and ex-Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko announced that each of them is starting their own political movements. Yatsenyuk’s is named Front of Changes while Hrytsenko’s movement is called Civil Position. Both may become political parties.

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