Viktor Yushchenko Unites The Coalition

KIEV, Ukraine -- A round table of the leaders of all major political parties of Ukraine was held in Kiev yesterday. It became clear that Viktor Yushchenko agreed to uniting pro-president Our Ukraine to the governmental coalition.

Yulia Timoshenko does not imagine herself in one coalition with Viktor Yanukovich (L) and Alexander Moroz (R).

His supporters, as well as the Party of Regions, Socialist and Communist parties, are ready to sign the so-called universal treaty on national unity, and this will begin the formation of the new cabinet.

Only Yulia Timoshenko will remain outside the universal treaty, the coalition, and the government.

Vicious Circle

“We need to leave the course of indecision, take a clear-cut position in these prospects, important for the future of Ukraine. We need to give up the political revenge and confrontation, confirm that Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policy are permanent and irreversible, and give up personal ambitions,” Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko was diligently reading the text which he had prepared for the long-awaited meeting with deputies.

All TV cameras were recording him, and two TV channels were broadcasting his speech.

To the left of the president, there sat Prime Minister Yuri Ekhanurov. He was either reading something in his notebook, or rubbing his eyes, or yawning, trying to overcome sleepiness.

To the right of the president, there was Rada Speaker Alexander Moroz. The next was Viktor Yanukovich who was carefully looking through the speech, apparently, which he was to deliver. Next to Yanukovich, there sat Yulia Timoshenko. She scrutinized her black and white dress with frills, and frowned.

Politicians were waiting for this meeting with the president for a long time, but Yushchenko avoided them. Deputies wanted to see him on Monday, and came to work on their day off.

That Monday the members of the “anti-crisis coalition” expected the president to nominate their candidate, Viktor Yanukovich, for prime minister. Then followed Tuesday with the same expectations, but the president did not come either. Each time he gave new reasons for his absence—either his being busy, or the working hours of the Rada.

Finally, Yushchenko summoned the main characters of Ukrainian politics to his front office on Bankovaya street. The round table was scheduled for 4 p.m. By the way, the most important persons had visited the president before, individually.

For instance, Rinat Akhmetov, deputy of the Party of Regions and the richest man in Ukraine, visited Bankovaya street a few times quite recently. Yulia Timoshenko arrived to the front office on yesterday morning, several hours before the round table. Her talk with the president lasted two hours.

The subject-matter of all talks with President Yushchenko is clear. Ukrainian president does not want to nominate Yanukovich for prime minister and thus surrender to his old enemy. Yushchenko expects that his party Our Ukraine will nevertheless join the coalition and occupy a good position in it.

According to sources close to the president, his greatest wish is that the post of prime minister goes to Our Ukraine (he supports Yuri Ekhanurov or present Minister of Economy Arseny Yatsenyuk). At least, Yushchenko wants the positions of the first deputy prime minister for Petr Poroshenko, of the minister of justice—for Roman Zvarych, and of the minister of internal affairs—for Evgeny Chervonenko.

Yushchenko wants a different kind of concessions from Yulia Timoshenko. He understands that uniting Our Ukraine with the anti-crisis coalition will bring his party down in popularity and take away the trust of the voters. The best scenario would be to involve Timoshenko into the joint broad coalition.

Round Table

It became clear whether Yushchenko will get what he wants during the round table. Observers were shocked by the sitting arrangement of the president’s guests. For instance, Yanukovich found himself sitting next to Yulia Timoshenko.

Having discovered her ideological enemy and the subject to her mockery, Timoshenko outstretched her hand to him with a smile. Shyness suddenly came over Yanukovich, and for some time he seemed not to know what do, but eventually shook Timoshenko’s hand.

Yushchenko was the first to speak. He presented the document called “universal treaty of national unity”. His idea, which he expressed quite confusedly and broadly, is that the representatives of different political parties will unite Ukraine and put an end to dissent by signing the document.

“Some political forces will have difficulty when explaining it to their voters,” said Yushchenko, apparently meaning joining the broad coalition, and, apparently, addressing his followers and Yulia Timoshenko. “However, it is possible.”

The second to speak was Alexander Moroz. He turned out to be among those few who read the universal treaty and even criticized it,--he did not like the point concerning free sale of land. Yanukovich, as usual, made funny slips of the tongue in his speech, but spoke of uniting as well.

Then it was Timoshenko’s turn. She waved her hands and refused to speak. The floor was given to Our Ukraine leader Roman Bessmertny. He began with uniting, then switched over to carping against Socialist party leader Alexander Moroz, saying the greatest problem of modern Ukraine is “the problem of July 6”. He said Moroz secretly abandoned the “orange” coalition on that day, and openly joined the “anti-crisis” coalition.

When Bessmertny finished his speech, Yushchenko tried to give the floor to Yulia Timoshenko once again. But she waved her hands again. It became clear she wants to speak in the end, so as to finish the discussion.

However, she was forced to speak earlier. Having listened to Socialist Vasily Tsushko, Yushchenko began insisting again that Timoshenko speaks, and immediately. And she began talking, as if she was at a demonstration, and not at a round table.

She let off sharp jokes about her neighbor on the left—Yanukovich—several times. The latter raised his arm, like a schoolboy, every time, but the president gestured to him to keep calm. Leader of the Party of Regions was not supposed to speak for a second time.

The last to speak was Prime Minister Yuri Ekhanurov. He was the only one who raised the issue which troubled everyone,--the new governmental coalition. He even suggested his scenario for it: “Our Ukraine should join the coalition, the Communists should be excluded, but those parliamentary committees which they already have should be left to them, so that they do not feel offended.

The alliance of the Party of Regions, Our Ukraine and the Socialists should receive the name of the Coalition of national unity.

Joint Responsibility

The fact that Yushchenko eventually met with the deputies—members of the anti-crisis coalition, although not in the Rada but in his front office, might prove the compromise has already been reached.

Forming the new government out of members of Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions is already decided upon and will happen in a few days. Kommersant sources in the Party of Regions and in the Socialist party unanimously admitted the universal treaty suggested by President Yushchenko was worked out by anti-crisis coalition participants in cooperation with Our Ukraine members.

According to Alexander Moroz’s spokeswoman Natalya Mezentseva, the document speaks about creating a broad coalition on the basis of the existing anti-crisis one. In fact, it gives details of the entry conditions of pro-president party Our Ukraine to the triple alliance of the Party of Regions, Socialists, and Communists.

Accepting BYuT into this alliance is no longer discussed, because Timoshenko’s followers did not participate in writing the universal treaty. Moreover, the four factions ready to create the broad coalition agreed not to break up BYuT faction in the future, but to allow it to exist as the only opposition party.

Natalya Mezentseva told Kommersant the fundamental agreement on extending the coalition by means of Our Ukraine is reached, because the participants of the talks have already begun carving up the posts in the government.

“Our Ukraine is most interested in re-distributing the posts,” said Mezentseva. “It was Our Ukraine who did not join our coalition in time and were left out in the cold. Now they are trying to secure a bit of power for themselves in the future government.”

Yanukovich’s advisor Anna German assured Kommersant the president will nominate the candidate for prime minister as soon as the universal treaty is signed. She said this can be Yanukovich only.

“Tens of thousands of people in Kiev will not allow to nominate anyone else. After all, it is our right. If we make concessions here, we will lose the trust of the people. We won our presidential campaign by means of Yanukovich, and he is the most popular politician today,” believes Anna German.

Apparently, the government will soon be formed. Yushchenko gave in to Yanukovich, coming up with a new name of “universal treaty of national unity” for his act of capitulation. The division into “orange” and “blue” no longer exists.

However, it does not mean there is no more demarcation so much discussed at the round table, that is into West and East banks of the Dnieper river. Now the entire West bank simply goes to Yulia Timoshenko who said: “We shall join no broad coalitions under no circumstances.”

Source: Kommersant


Anonymous said…
Hi Nicholas,

Who or what is Kommersant - the named source of this story?

I find it amazing that this meeting was not held in private - or is this all just a pantomime for the sake of the media?