Nobody panic: there is no alternative to disbanding parliament

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Politics

Valeriy Pekar, for UP

In detail and without panic on the internal political situation: the Parliament, the Government, the President and reforms.

Below all the words will be written in lowercase – this is incorrect, however it will make reading much easier.

1. Let’s start with the parliament. There is no alternative to disbanding the parliament.

This parliament does not reflect the post-Maidan social reality, in particular: the sharp turn made from dictatorship to republic, the emergence of a responsible and demanding civic society, war with a strong enemy, the objective necessity and the subjective desire for cardinal reforms, the desire of the people to tear away from their Soviet past, the acceleration of the formation of a political nation.

This parliament is full of titushky, political titushky, direct and overt enemies of Ukraine, traitors, oligarchs’ drivers and bodyguards, Kremlin agents etc.

Over half of the members of this parliament voted in support of the draconian laws on January 16th. This is sufficient to dismiss this parliament and elect a new one.

One of Maidan’s categorical demands was a full reboot of power: the government, the president, the parliament. The third stage of this process has come. There is no reason to step away from the demands that Maidan stood for and the Heaven’s Sotnya died.

The war will not interfere with the elections. What is more, now “the owners of Donbas” have to quickly get involved in kicking the mercenaries out so that the elections are held there as well and so that they obtain representation in the parliament. If we are to claim that “the elections will happen after the war is over,” the war will go on forever.

There will be money for the elections. Fair governance (I don’t want to use the yellowing word “democracy”) is more important than money, as if there is no fair governance, then there is no money either. If the members of the parliament had passed at least one of the essential anti-corruption acts, then much more money than the elections require would have been released.

2. Reforms. Reforms are necessary: confident, complex, deep. There is no alternative: if there are no reforms, the country will simply fall to pieces. Everyone is obviously weary of this word. But there have been no real reforms yet, only talk.

Without anti-corruption reforms all the suffering and deaths would be in vain, and everything will be stolen yet again.

Without tax reform, there will be no economic growth, welfare and employment.

Without the reform of the courts and the police, there will be new cases of Vradiyivka all around the country and a new social explosion, a horrible one.

Without educational reform we will become a third-world country, without any hopes. Without the reform of local governments nothing will change in towns and villages.

Usually, people are scared of change and regard future reforms with caution. But we, as a country and a people, are going through such challenges, that an understanding is being cultivated within us: we have to fill up our lungs with air and plunge into this cold water, as there is no other choice anymore.

Society is approaching a critical limit of readiness to radical change. This will not last long: the window of opportunity opens and closes after some time. We have to take advantage of the chance, and break with the Ukrainian tradition of wasting chances. We have taken advantage of many opportunities in the last 8 months, therefore we have learned.

3. The president. Don’t ask whether he wants reforms or not. This is unimportant. It is important that he understands: he has no other choice as a politician. He definitely does not want to leave preemptively as a result of a social explosion or be remembered as the last president, God forbid.

As opposed to the members of the parliament, who may be up to their dirty tricks and return at the next elections, the president has no such chances. Therefore, we have an ardent supporter of reform in the president’s person. It is not certain that he has enough necessary qualities, but he will definitely have enough will. He has the ambition to be remembered in history as a Ukrainian Lee Kuan Yew of sorts, the builder of a new country, and not Yushchenko 2.0 “whose descendants shame him in verse.”

4. The government. Here, everything is complicated.

Arseniy Petrovich [Yatseniuk] is, without doubt, the best Prime Minister in all of the history of independent Ukraine. As opposed to the Maidan booth, here he absolutely in his element. Multilaterally competent, exceptionally able, attentive to detail, strong in conversation.

But this is not enough.

This government has an unconditional merit: having kept the country afloat after Yanukovych during war, civil unrest, bandits, lack of government and the ghost of chaos, the constant threat of financial collapse – this merits a dignified place in history.

They gave Crimea away? All right, there are issues. But what would have you done in this situation? Without an army, with a bunch of traits in all intimate places of the state apparatus?

Therefore, the government in general and the prime minister personally have to receive top scores for stabilizing the government.

But there have been no reforms. De facto, there were none. Instead, all the corruption schemes were quickly mastered by new people. They weren’t all ministers: frequently the minister was just the front, void of power, and they stole behind his back.

This government gets the lowest score for the lack of reforms and corruption.

5. However this government couldn’t have implemented reforms and beaten corruption. It was pointless to expect it.

First, politicians don’t conduct reform as reforms are unpopular, and the politicians need popularity. They need to get reelected, and they remember this well every day. The quote attributed to Winston Churchill that the politician thinks of future elections and a statesman – of the next generation, is already stuck on our teeth.

Reforms are made by governments of professional technocrats who don’t have political ambitions, instead they have a high ambition of state creation.

Reforms are not made by coalition governments wherein all posts are distributed according to quotas. Quota officials now have to steal to pay back the “debt” to the politicians that nominated them. It is senseless to expect from coalition members that they will nominate to government posts not their own people but professional reformers.

Yes, the government will definitely include not only those guilty of corruption, as someone else has to work as well, someone has to be scapegoat, and someone has to hold the title of “our Minister from Maidan.” However these individuals don’t change the entire system.

Therefore it was senseless to expect the coalition government to stop corruption and conduct reforms. As this government was created by opposition parties that have already shamed themselves on Maidan.

Individual enlightened names are an exclusion that confirms the rule. We will remember them, and possibly see them again.

And,  in general, this government withstood the situation with war and state finances, and for this it should be thanked and respected. If someone thinks they would have done a better job, I am asking for a detailed action plan, accounting for all limitations and challenges.

6. Getting out of the type of constitutional crisis we had in December-February does not take one step. There are always three steps.

The first government, “the government of national salvation,” has to stabilize the situation. This has been done.

The second government has to be a government of reform, professional and independent. Reformers do their job, are subject to the people’s hate and then occupy their honorary places in history.

The third has to be the government of a already new country, to reflect the new, post-reform socio-political reality.

It is akin to a patient who is chronically sick and needs surgery, a complex and risky one, but their condition is aggravated. First, the doctors come who take down their fever and stabilize the analysis results, prepare them for surgery. Then the surgeons come, professional and merciless: they cut, clean out, stitch them up. And then, the third group of people come, who gradually and gently rehabilitate the patient, returning them to life – a new life in which there is no place left for the cured disease.

Therefore, the national salvation government does not make reforms only because it is a coalition government. Reforms are not their job. They stabilized the situation, they did not allow the war to spread, for bandits to rampage the entire territory, they did not allow default – this means that they did their job.

The work of the national salvation government cannot last forever. The time to move forward comes.

7. And here the key role goes to the parliament again. Reforms without a parliament are impossible – as in a parliamentary republic, reforms are made through legislative acts.

This parliament does not need reforms, it is incapable of making them. Therefore, let us say goodbye to this parliament.

And here we go on to the most important point.

Who formed the government that quickly mastered the corrupt schemes of Yanukovych’s time? Who did not pass the very pertinent laws regarding anti-corruption, lustration, the state budget etcetera? The parliamentary majority: UDAR, “Svoboda,” BYT. They made a reputation on Maidan. Yes, there were some enlightened individuals, and we remembered them. And we also remembered the dark figures.

And now our task, the task of the citizens, of civil society is to fully update the political system. Bring to the parliament the people that will appoint a reform government, that will pass reformative laws.

And we, the powerful society able to kick out the dictator, overpower a stronger enemy in war, achieve support from the global community – we are unable to do this as of yet.

  1. We are unable to elect well-meaning and patriotic people to the parliament. The Kyiv elections proved this. We are voting for the old party gangs filled with old black bile. We, the Kyivans, brought “Chernovetskiy’s young team” to the Kyiv City Council.
  2. We are unable to put pressure on new democratic microscopic political powers, for them to unite. They came to the Kyiv elections in seven columns instead of one and lost. They will go to the parliamentary elections in twelve columns instead of one and lose.
  3. We are unable to distinguish populism and short-term projects from fair and open politics. The populists, empty like kefir bottles, are gaining our votes at presidential and Kyiv elections.
  4. We are unable to provide transparency and fairness of elections even in the capital. The stealing of votes, buying votes, violation of legislation – and this in Kyiv that survived Maidan and won.

Despite everything that happened to us, and all the changes in our conscience, we turned out to be unprepared.

It is already clear how the seats in the future parliament will be distributed. It will be an even worse parliament than today.

Unless we ourselves change. And change the political state of things.

With our civic position. Our level of conscience. Our personal participation as independent observers. Our explanatory work among friends, family and acquaintances. Our volunteer work in the headquarters of a united democratic force, to which we have to enlist all those we trust.

With our maturity and resilience, mistrust of populism and political projects of oligarchs and political technologists, behind the backs of which the outlines of the red Kremlin wall are emerging.

8. It is possible they will accuse me of not commenting on who said what to whom yesterday and the day before. Whatever.

Politics is actions, not words. If boxing was evaluated by what the boxers say to each other and not what they are doing, it would be a completely different sport. Words quickly become obsolete; their only goal is to evoke action. We look at actions and ignore words. This is what they are saying to each other, not to us.

9. The issue of electoral law is the most critical. Will there by a majority in the parliament? Will there be open lists? Will party blocs be allowed? What will be the necessary minimum? Will financing be transparent?

We are watching closely. We demand change. This is the most important thing today to have a tomorrow.

And let us not forget: the guys will return from the front and ask us sternly what we were doing here while they were protecting us with their hearts on the line. They have to return to a country ready for a reboot.

10. This is a quest. We survived the first levels. They were difficult. But the next ones are no less difficult. We gained the right to pass these quest levels with our victory at the previous levels.

The end of dictatorship. War for independence. The birth of a political nation. The next levels: socio-political reboot, radical complex reforms, economical flourishing, international subjectivity, cultural expansion. It is impossible to skip those.

And this means that everything is going according to plan.

Let’s stop panicking.

Everything is going to be alright.

Source:  Valeriy Pekar, for UP

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina

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  • llewellynh

    The turnover that is called for when parliamentary governments are not wanted by the PEOPLE meaning the voters, via their representatives, is part of that system. And while it may have been needed it wasn’t handled in way that people outside easily can understand. During WW2 the democratic allies did not turn their governments out because there was a value seen by the people in keeping stability among themselves. You are not in that situation but should be aware at least of the fact that there is and always has been a fear of what looks like either mob rule or Babel tumbling.

    In the US, there is a republic and representatives are voted in for specific terms which are spelled out in law. I like the Parliamentary system a bit better but do see the order that goes along with having pre-set elections. There is no one right way.

    I am a bit amazed that you believe so firmly that what really are elite bureaucrats are the solution to all of your problems. Without people who have to be elected by ordinary folks, those in those very powerful offices tend to ignore or become deaf to the voices of Everyman. Transparency is there on a certain level but it isn’t easy to get rid of bid apples.

    Yes, educated people usually lead the pack but the US’ greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, became a lawyer via the old trainee method. He didn’t go to a fancy university. He didn’t live in a shining city. He was a man who was gifted by God with a brilliant mind and a moral compass. No where is it written or found that the elite you envision as being your saviors will take into those offices any better sense of right or wrong that your local street sweeper.

    You cannot believe that legislation even from geniuses is all that it will take to turn your country 180 degrees away from corruption. That process involves educating every single person and bringing people to the point where they realize beyond its intrinsic wrong, corruption takes money away from the good uses government and people can put it to and puts it in the pockets of often shady people who in order to do even better financially, break every law on the books.

    That leads to what should become part of your new laws. People either giving to the corrupt or the corrupt themselves have to be subject to the judicial system of your country which should have on its law books very specific and very serious punishment for engaging in any act of corruption. Because of your history which was nurtured by the Russians who still live that way, your penalties for those who break the laws involved should be heavy and predetermined by your legislators so that judges cannot be purchased. One year in jail just isn’t going to change things. Start with 15 or 20 and follow it up so that if only out of fear of being cut off from society, people will stop and think before they pass that money into someone’s palm or stuff it in a pocket.

    Idealism is a wonderful thing but it also has to be tempered with reality. I cannot think of a society past or present and that includes prestigious churches, where you can point to a squeaky clean administration: it flies in the face of understanding that we are after all only human beings. We want and should have freedom but it isn’t unlimited and society’s norms have to be part of the new laws you write though you were so lax in the area of corruption that that one specific area needs any help you can get from all around the planet before you put your pens to paper. And keep in mind that in free societies laws that are found to be inadequate can always be modified or withdrawn.

    And as you lean towards the west you have to take into account that there are vast differences in the members of the EU that run from Turkey to Sweden. The people of Ukraine – not just the elite – have to consider which of the many examples of democracy that are out there you most want to emulate.

    And forgive people for being alarmed at what did seem like yet another long waiting period for elections that just could so easily translate itself into giving the Russians another stretch of time to stir up even more serious trouble. But if the Rada was absolutely beyond help then it would be useful if someone like President Poroshenko could reduce what is an intricate mess into as plain a story as possible and it would help if he visited some western nations and went on their media and explained what happened, what is going to happen, and his vision at least of where you are headed. Most of all, he should be prepared to answer questions from your own and other nation’s members of the Press.

    And don’t be so afraid of populists. Yeah, they can annoy or create inadvertent humor but they usually have their ears closer to the ground normal people walk on because they need votes and must put forth agendas that voters – not people in ivory towers – want.

    The one common thread in all human societies that tends to bring things down eventually is money becoming the root of all evil in the fabric of any and every nation. Ukraine’s starting out at the low point but the wonderful news is there is no other way to go than up.

    But I do hope you will personally leave some space for people who think differently than you do so that the new Rada will be able to consist of not just technocrats but of people from all walks of life who have demonstrated a serious interest and commitment to helping create a new and better nation and who have the ability to contribute to the movement toward change. Change is tough.

  • sandy miller

    Firstly, You cannot go on withou Arseniy Yatsenyuk…..This is absolute foolishness. He is better and stronger than Poroshenko. This is crazy get rid of the rest of Parliment but you keep Yatsenyuk no matter what. He is the most articulate, competent politician I’ve seen in Ukraine and you frustrate him so much that he resigns. He should be President instead of Porosheenko. . I will not give another penny to help Ukrainian if they don’t get him back. It

    • Mat

      I agree, he’s the best out there. This seems to be a powerplay, UDAR knows it has more support and will be the largest party in a new parliament, while Fatherland knows it will shrink. Lyashko’s party is the most popular but he doesn’t have the funding or the MPs to get all of those votes nationwide – Svoboda knows it can scoop up these nationalist / populist votes as a consolation.

      Yats also knows he can’t coalition with the commies or regions, so he has to resign. On the flip side, if they dont do elections, those two factions are still in parliament – and in new elections both would die out entirely.

      It’s a tough call and both sides have pragmatic stakes in it.

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