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The parliamentary fight to survive

The parliamentary fight to survive

Mustafa Nayyem

The process of resource regrouping is starting on the political map of Ukraine. While some political groups are trying to hold on to their positions awaiting possible perturbations, others are diversifying risks by creating new political powers. While the opposers of the Verkhovna Rada disbandment are scaring the electorate with the looming enemy, the representatives of the former associates of Viktor Yanukovych’s, who are hiding in Russia, are overly lobbying their own interests through the creation of new groups in the session hall.

Meanwhile an active process of new political powers being “born” by representatives of the old government is underway outside of the Verkhovna Rada. Within the Rada itself, the possible participants of the early parliamentary elections are starting to emerge: Petro Poroshenko’s block and the return of Yulia Timoshenko’s block.

Operation “Save the Coalition” 

The biggest opposers to the disbandment of the Parliament are the “regionals,” majority members and communists, for which the possible early elections will turn into an electoral catastrophe.

After the flight of Viktor Yanukovych and failure at the presidential elections, The Party of Regions has zero chances of renewing its influence on the Parliament. The Communists are on the brink of an official ban, and, in order to save themselves, are already conducting talks regarding the possible union with the Socialist Party of Ukraine.

The majority members have no chances at all to keep their mandates – taking the Crimean occupation and tense situation in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts into account, full-fledged elections based on majority voting looks unlikely.

In light of this, situational unions and combinations to save the coalition are already emerging within the Parliament. We remind you that the crumbling of the majority gives the President the right to disband the Verkhovna Rada, and as of today it is the most realistic instrument to announce the early elections.

As of today the coalition consists of three fractions – “Batkivshchina,” UDAR and Svoboda, two parliamentary groups “Economical Development” (led by Vitali Khomutynnik) and “Sovereign European Ukraine” (led by Igor Yeremeyev). Besides that, about fifteen other parliament members are part of the majority, those that are not members of any parliamentary union.

Theoretically, the constitution of all groups and fractions which are part of the majority allows any one of them to put an end to the coalition’s existence by revoking their signatures.

However it is obvious that neither Khomutynnik’s, nor Yeremeyev’s group, are interested in early elections. In light of the dramatic drop in ratings, this can hardly be expected of the Svoboda fraction as well.

In reality the fate of the coalition lies in the hands of UDAR and “Batkivshchina” leaders – Vitali Klitschko and Yulia Timoshenko. 

According to “Ukrainska Pravda,” UDAR representatives have already made it clear that they are not ready to take full responsibility for the fate of the Parliament. And they have expressed their readiness to exit the majority only in case of a join decision with “Batkivshchina” to put an end to the coalition’s existence.

In reality, behind UDAR’s lack of assertiveness is fear that in case they exit the majority, the places of Vitali Klitschko’s employees could be taken by other members of the Parliament. There are enough of those who are willing to join the majority to salvage it – there are more than 70 non-fraction MP’s in the Rada, whose numbers are increasing due to those who have fled the Party of Regions.

On Tuesday, another 19 regionals have left Viktor Yanukovych’s fraction. Among the initiators of this new wave are Vitali Grushevsky, Volodymyr Oliynik and Vladislav Lukyanov.

What is interesting is that the regionals themselves are calling this group Russia – “the Russian group,” “Group of Russians.” 

Almost all “regionals” that correspondents of “Ukrainska Pravda” has spoken with assure that Sergiy Kurchenko, Sergiy Arbuzov and Olexander Klimenko, who are wanted and hiding on the territory of the Russian Federation, are behind the new traitors.

Some “regionals” honestly admit that they were offered a reward of up to $250 thousand per month to join the informal group. Upon joining, the mediators were ready to immediately pay 1,5 months’ worth – $375 thousand.

Vladislav Lukyanov, one of those who have already left the Party of Regions fraction, confirmed the will of the members of the group to join the coalition to “Ukrainska Pravda.” According to unconfirmed data, the newly-created parliamentary formation aims to compete with the other two groups – Vitali Khomutynnik’s group “Economical Development” and Igor Yeremeyev’s “Sovereign European Ukraine.”

In case of the increase in numbers of this group thanks to other “regionals” and non-fractions MP’s, the new traitors can theoretically prevent the coalition from falling apart, and thus the early disbandment of the Parliament.

However, regardless of the internal resistance to the disbandment, the regrouping of political powers for participation in the possible early elections has already begun outside of the Parliament.

One of the first to start it was Sergiy Tigipko. According to sources, Tigipko spent a long time thinking about creating a new party, which even had a working name – Sergiy Tigipko’s Party “Most.”

However, according to the latest information, Viktor Yanukovych’s former associate made the decision to re-establish the brand of the disbanded party Silna Ukrayina. Tigipko’s partner in the new crusade to the Parliament is said to be Igor Kolomoyskiy, billionaire Yuriy Kosiuk, former “regional” MP Andriy Verevskiy, as well as Vitaliy Khomutynnik, who is considered to be a lobbyist for the interests of the Dnipropetrovsk governor in the parliamentary majority.

This is also confirmed by Tigipko’s talks with Vitaliy Khomutynnik regarding Tigipko’s joining the parliamentary group “Economical Development,” and even his re-election as head of the group.

Sergiy Liovochkin’s Party

The former head of Viktor Yanukovych’s administration is planning to add another political project led by former young “regionals” to his assets besides Oleg Liashko’s Radical Party.

According to “Ukrainska Pravda” information, the Institute “Nova Ukrayina” is working on the development of a new political party, the founders of which, besides Liovochkin himself, are Andriy Yermolayev (former director of the National Institute for Strategic Investigation, appointed to this post on Viktor Yanukovych’s orders in March 2010), Yevgeniya Levenets (daughter of the late Yuriy Levenets, one of the leading political consultants of Viktor Yanukovych’s administration), Darka Chepak (Viktor Yanukovych’s former press secretary) and others.

Sergiy Larin, former deputy to Liovochkin in Viktor Yanukovych’s administration, is leading the creation of the party organisation. He is aided by the former deputy head of Viktor Yanukovych’s electoral headquarters in Kirovohrad oblast – Oleksandr Shatalov.

The new party will be based on the already existing Democratic-Progressive Party of Ukraine, which, according to the data of the State Registry Service, is led by one Yezhov Oleksandr Yuriyovich.

The juridical address of the party is located in Kyiv – on 101, Stepana Sahaidaka street. The phone numbers noted in the registry do not puck up and we were unable to find Mr. Yezhov at the given address.

The Democratic-Progressive Party of Ukraine has an infamous history. Officially it was registered on October 18th, 2011. However “Ukrainska Pravda” managed to discover that four days before than – on October 14th, 2011, a party with the exact same name, by means of reorganisation, was renamed into… party “Rodina,” which was headed by Igor Makarov.

What is more, at the moment of registration, 84 of 155 of party organisation of “Rodina” were named “The New Generation of Ukraine,” a party led by Yuriy Miroshnichenko between 1999 and 2004.

Mr. Miroshnichenko himself stated in a comment to “Ukrainska Pravda” that at that moment he no longer had any ties to the skeleton of the “New Generation of Ukraine,” as he had left it back in 2002.

According to “Ukrainska Pravda,” before the reorganisation, the Democratic-Progressive Party of Ukraine is to be headed by Sergiy Larin, and the assembly of the new party is to take place during the second half of June.

Among the options for the name of the new party are Party of Development of Ukraine or Party of Progress. According to the latest data, they decided on the Party of Development of Ukraine. The official statement regarding the creation of the new party has to appear within the first days after the new President’s inauguration – before June 10th.

What role Sergiy Liovochkin himself is to play in the party is unknown. Among the contenders for the post of leaders, according to rumours, are Sergiy Larin and former representative of Viktor Yanukovych in the Verkhovna Rada Yuriy Miroshnichenko. However it is most probable that the party will be governed by a collective body – the National Committee of the PDU, which will possible be led by Miroshnichenko.

In light of the short terms of carrying out the possible early elections, Sergiy Liovochkin’s newly-created party is unlikely to stand a chance of going to the Parliament. Liovochkin is most likely to use Oleg Liashko’s lists to influence the future constitution of the Rada.

The Party of Development has to become a shop window of the renewed image of Viktor Yanukovych’s former administrator.

A step back to name blocks

Meanwhile discussions are underway regarding the rules of the possible early elections in the parliamentary circles. Majority elections without accounting for the interests of Luhansk and Donetsk districts will put the legitimacy of the new Parliament under doubt.

It is impossible to hold elections with open lists for the same reason. The only possible thing in this situation if the way of returning to the proportionate system of elections with closed lists.

Meanwhile, discussions about the possibility of nominating political party blocks at the early parliamentary elections are heard in the parliamentary corridors. And though historically this will become a huge step back, as of today this option is beneficial to almost all interested parties.

First and foremost it is beneficial to the newly-elected President.

The possibility of the creation of Petro Poroshenko’s Block headed by Yuriy Lutsenko is very high. The issue is that strictly speaking the head of state does not have the possibility of participating in parliamentary elections. However in case certain amendments to the law are passed, there is an opportunity to use Poroshenko’s brand for the second time to lead a big fraction into the Parliament.

They are also talking about the return to the idea of blocks in “Batkivshchina.” Yulia Timoshenko’s Blockk, which will be made up of all differentiated national-patriotic forces, may be the salvation for “Batkivshchina” itself, as it has obviously lost its position after Timoshenko’s loss at the presidential elections, and for its satellites.

Party blocks may become a chance for the renewal and rebranding for “regionals” as well, which as part of a southeastern political block may get much higher results then independently. Left-wing representatives may also go to the Rada as a separate block, via the creating of a new union based on the Socialist Party of Ukraine.

However all of these plans will only have the right to exist if early elections are announced.

As of today the fate of the Parliament depends on the will of two people – Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Timoshenko. Both have enough influence to put an end to the coalition, and both can stop this process.

In light of the traditional reorientation of parliamentary members towards the new head of state, Poroshenko might be tempted to make peace with loyal parliament members and traitors in order to reformat the majority for himself.

Timoshenko has even more arguments against the disbandment. “Batkivshchina” controls the Cabinet of Ministers at the moment, and has the head of the government speaker of the Parliament, as well as loyal governors in a number of key regions. If she should wish it, Timoshenko has all the possibilities of tying the new President’s hands, making him into a wedding general.

If Timoshenko and Poroshenko do not agree on the format of the disbandment of the Parliament, war between the branches of the government and the repeat of 2005 are only a question of time. And there is only one argument which may stop both from the detrimental clash – real war, which is going on day by day in eastern regions.

Source: Pravda

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina

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