Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Gathering of Wisdom: The calm before the storm

More and more community leaders are calling for Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko, to resign and for Ukraine to hold early presidential elections in the Summer/Fall.

Viktor Yushchenko is facing an avalanche of public opinion as pressure increases with no sign of letting up. Yushchenko has less then 4% public support and the prospect of a drawn out prolonged period of uncertainty is not in Ukraine's best interest.

The latest broadside shot comes from Ukraine's first President since Independence, Leonid Kravchuk.

Kravchuk, joining a growing chorus of political leaders, has called on incumbent president Viktor Yushchenko to resign and for Ukraine to hold early presidential elections.

The sudden resignation of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Raisa Bohatyriova has signaled a split in Yushchenko's support with some analysts stating that Bohatyriova's resignation marks the start of Yushchenko's presidential election campaign.

The NSDC has been Yushchenko's inner cabinet and it was rumoured that Yushchenko was planning on using the NSDC as a pretense to call a state of emergency and the instigation of Presidential rule in order to prolonging his term as President. A move that was reportedly opposed by Raisa Bohatyriova yet supported by Yushchenko's right hand adviser, Viktor Baloha, the head of the presidential secretariat.

The level of community unrest and the number of demands for Yushchenko to resign is increasing with public protest against Ukraine's president on the rise.

Adding to Yushchenko's downfall is pressure coming from Ukraine's governing majority lead by Ukraine's Prime Minsiter, Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovych, leader of National Opposition, Party of Regions. Party of Regions along with members of the government have recently called for Yushchenko to face impeachment proceedings.

Yushchenko has been accused of undermining Ukraine's economic development and sabatoge of the Government's attempts to address the current financial crisis. There is ongoing division within Yushchenko's politcial party "Our Ukraine" with the office of the president actively seeking to destabilize the governing coalition and \calling for the President to make a preemptive strike to stave off impeachment by dismissing Ukraine's parliament. Come July the president loses the constitutional authority to dismiss Ukraine's parliament. Suggestions of dismissing Ukraine's parliament have been rejected by Ukraine's Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn. Lytvn has claimed that any mopve to force another round of parliamentary elections without holding Presidential elections would be counter productive.

Any attempt by Yushchenko to undermine the governing coalition and dismiss the parliament is expected to make the current situation worst with suggestions that the Governing majority lead by Yulia Tymoshenko and Opposition Party of Regions could still form an alliance to counter moves by Yushchenko.

Ukraine has seen two parliamentary elections since Yushchenko took office in 2005 with the political infighting going from bad to worst. Yuschhenko has dismissed three prime-ministers, illegally dismissed three Constitutional Court Judges and unconstitutionally interfered in the operation of Ukraine's courts in a desperate attempt to retain power and authoritative control over Ukraine.

With Presidential elections due by the end of the year and Yushchenko not in a winnable position the best option for Ukraine is for Yushchenko to announce his resignation in order to facilitate the holding of early Presidential elections. Clinging on to power and prolonging the inevitable would only make matters worst with Ukraine facing a serious risk of social collapse fueled by political uncertainty and a deteriorating economic situation

Presidential elections would be become a vote of confidence or a change in direction hopefully putting to rest the ongoing division and political crisis that has plagued Ukraine since Yushchenko's election which sparked the Orange Revolution in 2004/5.