Time To Take Sides

KIEV, Ukraine -- It’s time for President Viktor Yushchenko to decide about the future of his Our Ukraine bloc. Is it in opposition to the government of his nemesis, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, or with the coalition in parliament that supports Yanukovych?

It's time for "Our Ukraine" to join Tymoshenko's opposition bloc

Politics is largely about compromise, but the ongoing indecision exhibited by Yushchenko ever since he was swept into power by the 2004 Orange Revolution smacks more of weakness, which forebodes nothing good for the president or the country that elected him.

If Our Ukraine cannot agree on the most basic principles of foreign and domestic policy with Yanukovych’s Regions party, that means they share no common ground, and it’s better for the bloc, as well as its “honorary leader,” to go into opposition. Yushchenko may genuinely seek compromise, but Regions is looking out for itself.

The Donetsk-based political force has undermined Yushchenko’s stated policy goals, such as joining NATO and the WTO, and appropriated the president’s authority in the provinces and the Cabinet.

Yushchenko has to fight back and fight back now, or he may not have anything to fight back with. The recent replacement of two pro-presidential ministers was the latest wake-up call.

On the other hand, if the president really is bent on forging ties with the people he referred to as criminals during the 2004 presidential elections, in the interests of national unity, he should act now, entering the three-party coalition without representation in government and forcing out the Communists from within.

Signing a policy document this summer achieved nothing. Is this the best the president could do after months of post-election negotiations, which left the country without a functioning parliament?

The president tried for more and got less. Even the Socialists came out better, getting their leader appointed parliamentary speaker after leaving the so-called Orange camp for a deal with the Regions and the Communists.

As predicted by Yulia Tymoshenko, the head of the country’s fifth parliamentary bloc and the only real opposition, Our Ukraine’s August compromise with the coalition was a farce meant to keep her out of power.

So much for national unity! If Our Ukraine does decide to go into the opposition, it should put aside personal ambitions and join Tymoshenko’s BYut. Avoiding this conclusion would mean more of the kind of childish behavior that landed the pro-presidential party in the mess it is in today in the first place.

Source: Kyiv Post