Ukrainian Parliament Falling Apart

KIEV, Ukraine -- Our Ukraine parliamentarian Boris Tarasyuk told journalists yesterday that negotiations on the formation of a “broad coalition” in the parliament have reached an end.

President Yushchenko

“Further holding of such consultations are impossible,” he said. Indirect confirmation of the failure of those negotiations was received from Party of the Regions leader Evgeny Kushnarev as well.

“The dissolution of the Supreme Rada will place early presidential elections on the agenda,” he noted, although there is no law on impeachment in Ukraine.

Top officials are remaining silent so far, the negotiations have not been declared a failure and they do not consider the dissolution of the parliament and new presidential elections unavoidable. But it is only a matter of time, Kommersant special correspondent Valery Panyushkin reports.

When the latest round of negotiations ended on Wednesday evening, Party of the Regions leaders cautiously expressed satisfaction, although they admitted that there was no specific progress. Socialist leader and speaker of the Rada Alexander Moroz also expressed qualified optimism.

A high-placed member of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine Party, however, shrugged his shoulders and said that nothing had been agreed on. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said that a coalition between his party and communists, socialists and regionals was “unpromising.”

It is likely that Our Ukraine leaders tried to convince the president to dissolve the parliament overnight. The next morning, the president sent the parliament a communique about the “inadmissibility of making decisions in a manner that contravenes the principles of the European Parliament…

That places in question the legitimacy of the decisions of the Supreme Rada and demand adequate measures be taken by me.” Translated from the Byzantine language of Ukrainian politics, that means that the president has suddenly refused to acknowledge the negotiating authority of the “anticrisis coalition” that he himself called to the table several days earlier.

Kushnarev told me before the beginning of the parliamentary session that “We, the Party of the Regions, are not considering the possibility that Viktor Fedorovich Yanukovich will not be prime minister. Only Viktor Fedorovich can make that sacrifice. If he makes that decision personally, the party will consider it.”

Nothing could be heard in the parliament because of the 20 hand-held sirens members from the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc have been bringing with them regularly. Moroz opened the session and Socialist Ivan Boiky and Party of the Regions representative Nikolay Azarov spoke, but no one heard them.

When Our Ukraine's Lilia Grogorovich's turn came, she waved her hands and the sirens fell silent. Timoshenko Bloc members used the opportunity to change the batteries in them.

Grigorovich spoke about an attack made by Party of the Regions member Oleg Kalashnikov on reporters from STB television. That was not the only excess on that scale recently. The sirens were refortified by the time Communist leader Petr Simonenko spoke.

Most likely, he spoke about his trip to Moscow and meeting with Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev about lowering natural gas prices for Ukraine, since he talked about it all day.

When Timoshenko Bloc member Alexander Turchinov stepped up to the podium, he again waved his hands and was greeted with silence. “We are going over to the opposition!” Turchinov said. “We will not acknowledge any broad coalition that will be abroad grave for Ukraine! We call on President Yushchenko to dissolve the parliament.”

The proceedings were broadcast in the lobby, and it was somewhat easier to hear the speakers there. Speaker Moroz said that the president could not dissolve the parliament.

Yushechenko stated that he would dissolve the parliament if it did not form a government by June 24. Under law, he has the right to dissolve the parliament if it does not form a government within 30 days. But, Moroz said, the government did not resign on June 25 but only relived itself of authority. That is to say that there is a government in Ukraine, only it has no authority.

Later, Moroz explained the hairsplitting argument over authority to journalists, and added that it was not the Socialists who brought down the Orange coalition. Even though the socialist faction had no right to leave the coalition without giving ten days' notice, every Rada member individually had that right.

That is what happened on July 7. Therefore, on July 17, Yushchenko will have the right to dissolve parliament for violations of parliamentary procedure. That is more evidence of the failure of “broad coalition” talks. Kushnarev said, when asked directly, that the negotiations had ended but consultations were continuing.

The parliament can dissolve itself if 150 members relieve themselves of authority. There are 120 members of parliament from the Timoshenko Bloc. It only remains for 30 Our Ukraine members to refuse to accept Yanukovich as prime minister and take that step as well. When asked in the hallway in the Rada if she would have those 30 supporters from Our Ukraine, Timoshenko answered shortly, “No.”

Our Ukraine official Roman Bessmertny said that the party would wait for the president's decision on July 17 and not take independent action. Thus it seems once again that, since negotiations have stopped, they are continuing. Only in secret now.

Source: Kommersant