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Ukraine after Maidan is different, but the politicians are the same

Ukraine after Maidan is different, but the politicians are the same
Article by: Oleksandr Lashchenko
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Kyiv – The newly elected Verkhovna Rada will not work its full term, some experts predict when commending on the beginning of the Parliament’s work. The highest legislative body of Ukraine will gather on November 27 for its first assembly. They do not exclude the possibility of behavior that occurred back after the first Maidan: gossip and arguments among the members in hope that this time everyone would write the lack of change off due to the war. Meanwhile experts conclude that the new Rada has a big potential as a reformist, as there are more than 50 percent more new Parliament members.

Today, at its first assembly, the Verkhovna Rada is to elect the leadership of the Parliament, document the creation of the parliamentary coalition and propose a candidate for the post of Prime Minister from People’s Front, stated head of the preparatory MP group for the preparation of the first session of the newly elected Parliament Volodymyr Hroysman. It is possible that Hroysman will become the Speaker of the new Rada.

Arseniy Yatseniuk is President Poroshenko’s candidate for the head of the government. Overall, the ruling coalition in the new Verkhovna Rada will consist of over three hundred MP’s (the coalition agreement was signed by Petro Poroshenko’s Block, People’s Front, Samopomich Union, Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party and the Ukrainian Union Batkivshchina). For the first time in over 23 years of Ukraine’s independence, for the first time in eight Parliaments, the Rada will have a democratic constitutional majority, emphasize the signees of the coalition agreement.

At the same time, despite the so-called ceasefire, war against Ukrainian continues. The newly elected MP’s understand there is no time to get warmed up, assured MP from Batkivshchina Serhiy Vlasenko. According to him, the Ukrainian public expects assertive and confident steps to carry out reform from the newly elected Parliament and then newly formed government. War will not write off the lack of progress or errors.

“I am convinced that the formed majority will approve all the necessary laws for the country to work. The only thing I would like to caution against: I understand that what I say now may not be well-received, but legislative work is definitely a science. Despite the fact that it is a humanitarian one, it is a precise science. Sometimes a lot depends on a comma or even a letter. We can write a wonderful law, and build a sentence wrongly at the end: this law will be unable to work even theoretically. Which is why I am for doing it quickly without wasting time, but expertly and professionally,” said Serhiy Vlasenko.

“The Rada will face incredible resistance not only on part of an expressive counter-revolutionary opposition” 

The newly elected Verkhovna Rada has a higher reform potential than the previous seventh Ukrainian Parliament, concluded social psychologist Oleh Pokalchuk in a comment to Radio Liberty. However, this is not on account of the MP’s themselves, but the challenges the state is facing. Overall, Ukraine after Maidan is different, but the politicians are the same. Ukrainian political luck cannot be changed quickly, thinks the social psychologist. He predicts the old trends and old behavior will observed – this is reminiscent of the situation in 2005, when Viktor Yushchenko was President. Though now the situation is more dramatic. We also should not underestimate the bureaucratic apparatus that had expanded during Yanukovych’s presidency and that is not going to shrink by itself.

“The Rada will face (regardless of the decision it approves) incredible resistance not only on part of some expressive counter-revolutionary opposition, but also huge resistance and inertia on part of the lower officials who will finally feel the pressure to give up their sears. Not just personally give them up, these seats will be simply unnecessary,” said Oleh Pokalchuk.

“The life of this Parliament will not be long”

On his part, political technologist Taras Berezovets told Radio Liberty that the newly elected Verkhovna Rada will not work its full turn. The reasons for this include objective and subjective circumstances (in particular, battalion commands and those who voted by a show of hands for the January 16 ‘dictator laws’ this year, are unlikely to reach a consensus).

“I am convinced that the life of this Parliament will not be long. War and the economic crisis will take their toll. However, first and foremost, the presence of completely opposing politicians, Oppositional Block on one side and battalion representatives and civil activists on the other. Obviously, the tension in the work of this Parliament will not allow them to finish their cadence,” predicts Taras Berezovets.

At the same time Taras Berezovets sees positive sides to the eighth Rada. First and foremost, the fact that this is the most renewed Parliament in all the years of independence. According to the expert’s calculation, more than half of the highest legislative body is new, 56% of the MP’s are debuting.

Over 150 former MP’s were reelected to the Verkhovna Rada. The new Parliament includes over 60 MP’s who voted for the January 16 ‘Dictator Laws’ this year.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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