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Focus on Ukraine, April 6-12, 2009

April 13, 2009

Overview of political events of the week

April 6

President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pottering urged the Ukrainian government to unite, speaking from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
Pottering assured that Ukraine and Europe are dependent on one another, particularly when it comes to energy security. Aside from that, the head of the European parliament noted that Ukraine is in need of fundamental constitutional reform that could serve as medication for the political crisis.

During a personal meeting between leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych and President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pottering, the leader of the opposition noted that Ukraine must have a clear understanding of its prospects of joining the EU in the new intensified agreement with the European Union and resolve the issue of simplification of visa procedures.
In turn, Yanukovych said the current government is unsystematic in its relations with Europe.

President Yushchenko stated at a press conference after a meeting with European Union President Hans-Gert Potterring that he is prepared to run in early presidential elections, but he believes early elections of the president and the parliament can simultaneously regulate the political situation in Ukraine.
The head of state feels that parliamentary elections should be held based on open lists for which the corresponding legislative amendments must be ratified.

Rinat Akhmetov, the seventh person on the list of the Party of Regions and its main financier, urged the government, big business, foundations and the opposition to combat the financial crisis.
The wealthiest individual in Ukraine said he does not want to fight the government. On the contrary, he wants the government to come out of the crisis as the hero.
Recall that the Party of Regions has been stating for the past several weeks that there will be order in the country without changes in all branches of power.

April 7

Ukraine’s Minister of Justice Mykola Onyshchuk said there are no grounds for holding parliamentary and presidential elections simultaneously.
He said that today there are no legal grounds for suspending the powers of the Verkhovna Rada. In light of this, the minister is convinced that President Viktor Yushchenko will not violate the Constitution and will not set elections to the parliament.

Co-rapporteur of the PACE Monitoring Committee Rinate Wohlwend stated at a press conference that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is warning Ukraine about holding presidential and parliamentary elections simultaneously.
She feels that Ukraine does not have the corresponding electoral legislation that would assure holding of transparent and fair elections on the same day.
As for constitutional reform, Wohlwend said it would be more effective to reform the Constitution through amendments proposed by the Venice Commission than drafting a new document.

April 8

Viktor Yushchenko will appeal the decision of the VR to hold elections on October 25.

Assistant Chief-of-Staff Maryna Stadniychuk informed that the president sent his appeal to the Constitutional Court requesting that it review the appeal immediately.
She said the Verkhovna Rada did not have grounds for setting the date of the presidential election as it is succinctly written in the Constitution.

April 9

The Ukrainian police force reacted to the mass unrest in Chisinau by beefing up security near the Ukrainian-Moldovan border.
Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko said the country’s law enforcers are concerned that armed extremists may enter Ukrainian territory.
Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine announced that two Moldovan citizens suspected of organizing mass unrest in Chisinau have been detained.

April 10

The government of Premier Yulia Tymoshenko decided to renew amicable relations with Russia, which were ruined by the signing of the declaration on the joint modernization of Ukraine’s gas transportation grid.
Tymoshenko gave the green light to Ukraine’s chemical plants – the country’s largest consumers of gas – to buy natural gas from Gazprom instead of Naftogaz Ukrainy.





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