Prez Advocates Rump Ruling Party Session

KIEV, Ukraine -- President Viktor Yanukovych said Tuesday that ruling party lawmakers should consider holding a session outside Parliament if Ukraine's political deadlock persists and no compromise is reached soon with opposition groups.

The comment shows that a meeting with the opposition parties that Yanukovych on Monday agreed to hold is far from certain and the situation may escalate into a major crisis.

 “If the blocking of Parliament persists, the emergency session must be held and decisions must be approved,” Yanukovych said at a government meeting addressing Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Rybak.

“Of course, all issues must be solved at the negotiating table, but if the problems are not solved, a political decision must be taken,” Yanukovych said.

The comment shows growing concern of Yanukovych over the stalemate in Parliament that has resulted in a fourth blocking of legislature over the past seven months.

The opposition groups, unhappy over suggested dates of the special elections and continued pressure on some opposition lawmakers, blocked Parliament last week. 

There was a hope of a compromise on Monday after Yanukovych had suggested he was ready to meet leaders of the opposition parties to diffuse the crisis.

Arseniy Yatseniuk, the leader of the opposition Batkivshchyna group, said the meeting with Yanukovych can happen, but its agenda must be suggested by the opposition parties.

He said the meeting should be dominated by the following issues as Ukraine’s serious financial and economic challenges as well as the release of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Other issues must include discussions of alleged ‘unimaginable’ corruption in the government, legislation to promote Ukraine’s closer relations with the European Union, election legislation, Yatseniuk said.

A particular attention must be placed at reshuffle of the Central Elections Commission, which will be the key authority in declaring a winner of the next presidential election in March 2015.

Yanukovych is widely elected to seek a second 5-year term in office and is understood to have been working to reduce competition among political rivals, analysts said.

The political crisis is delaying important legislation that the government has already pledged to approve ahead of the presidential election.

Yanukovych ordered the government to make sure that spending in the budget increase in the second half of the year, which means that Parliament has to approve amendments to the budget within weeks.

“I want the amendments based on the first half of the year to be considered so that we can start to amend the budget for the second half,” Yanukovych said.

What’s desirable is towards increasing the spending.

Ukraine’s economy contracted 1.3% in the first quarter from a year earlier amid weakening demand for the country’s exports, mostly steel.

The National Bank of Ukraine, seeking to boost the growth, cut its key interest rate to 7% from 7.5% effective Monday, in what is the first rate cut in more than a year. 

Source: Ukrainian Journal