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Focus on Ukraine, October 6-12, 2008

October 13, 2008

Overview of political events of the week

October 6

President Viktor Yushchenko stated in his address to Ukraine’s parliamentarians while on his official his visit to Great Britain that he is prepared to acknowledge any coalition formed in accordance with the Constitution.
The head of state informed that he is giving political forces a few more days for consultation. If these forces fail to reach an agreement, the president will exercise his power to dissolve the parliament. Yushchenko underscored that holding early elections is a radical measure, albeit a constitutional and an absolutely democratic solution to the current political crisis.

All members of the YTB faction signed an official statement about their intention of reviving the democratic coalition. In the statement issued by the YTB it is noted that all of the president’s false reproaches about the formation of a coalition between the YTB and factions of the Party of Regions and the Communists are a complete myth. In this document it is noted that besides the YTB, two thirds of the factions of the Our Ukraine – People’s Self-defense bloc are prepared to renew the activity of the democratic coalition.

President Viktor Yushchenko paid an official visit to Great Britain, where he met with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband.
The two sides discussed granting Ukraine the NATO Membership Action Plan and the joint activities of both countries to prevent new conflicts in the Caucasus.
As a reminder, London traditionally supports Ukraine’s Euro-integration aspirations and granting Ukraine the MAP.

October 7

The Ukrainian president conducted consultations on the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada with the parliamentary faction OU-PSD. During these talks the head of state said he does not see unity among deputies concerning the revival of the democratic coalition. For this reason, participants in the consultations Anatoliy Hrytsenko and Yuriy Kostenko affirm that the president believes the only option for the formation of a parliamentary majority is a union between the YTB and the Party of Regions. Besides that, the president warned that if a coalition is not formed by this evening, he will dissolve the Verkhovna Rada.

During a press conference Yulia Tymoshenko discarded the president’s accusations of a conspiracy between the YTB and the Party of Regions to form a parliamentary coalition.

At the same time, Tymoshenko stated that the reason for the collapse of the democratic coalition was not collusion with her bloc, rather with the Presidential Secretariat.

October 8

President Viktor Yushchenko officially invited the leaders of parliamentary factions, the speaker of the parliament and two of his assistants to participate in consultations on early suspension of the authority of the parliament.
During the meeting Yushchenko explained to all participants the legal groundwork of early suspension of the parliament’s authority and called on the Verkhovna Rada to allocate funds for holding early elections.

October 9

President Viktor Yushchenko announced the dissolution of the parliament and the holding of early elections on December 7.
The decree on the suspension of the work of the Verkhovna Rada of the VI convocation was published on the official website of the president. This document will take force upon its publication.

Member of the People’s Self-defense deputy group Taras Stetskiv announced that it will not run in the early elections under the banner of the OU-PSD bloc. 
The YTB proposed including all members of OU-PSD that signed a statement on the revival of the democratic coalition in the list of those members of parliament that hurdle the barrier.

Member of the Central Election Commission Mykhailo Okhendovskiy stated the commission is prepared to organize and hold the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada. 
He feels the announcement of early elections was done in accordance with the Constitution. According to preliminary calculations of the CEC, holding early elections will cost UAH 415 million.

Former president of Poland Alexander Kwasniewski believes that early elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine could indefinitely postpone the country’s accession to NATO and the EU. In an interview for TVN24 the politician added that early elections in Ukraine could be a “significant loss for President Yushchenko”.

October 10

The election campaign in Ukraine will start on October 11. The president’s decree on the dissolution of the parliament has come into force and been printed in the newspapers Holos Ukraina (Voice of Ukraine) and Uryadoviy Kurier (Government Courier). In accordance with the decree, the head of state suspended the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of the 6th convocation in compliance with the Constitution and announced early parliamentary elections on December 7, 2008.

Today members of the YTB blocked the dais and the presidium of the Verkhovna Rada.
They initially proposed to first review the national budget for next year and then discuss election issues.

Lutsenko called to all political forces to unite into one bloc on the basis of the YTB. He feels that the president’s political forces “announced early elections in order to form an unnatural coalition with the Party of Regions or the Lytvyn Bloc”.

The political council of the Party of Regions agreed that Viktor Yanukovych will chair the headquarters of this political force

Representative of the PACE Monitoring Committee Hanne Severinson stated during a visit to Kyiv that new elections are the last thing that Ukraine needs at this point in time. 
She pointed out that Ukraine must concentrate its efforts on Euro-integration and reforms, while Ukrainian politicians should unite and work together towards Ukraine’s integration into Europe.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stated that it is too soon to invite Ukraine and Georgia to join the Alliance. Radio Europe reported that Scheffer said in an interview published on Friday in the Hungarian newspaper Nepsabadszag that neither of these two countries is ready for membership in NATO at the moment.

October 11

YTB member Volodymyr Pylypenko informed that the Kyiv District Administrative Court suspended the effect of the decree of the President of Ukraine “On Premature Suspension of the Powers of the Verkhovna Rada of the VI Convocation and the Announcement of Early Elections”. He said that the appropriate decision was approved within the framework of an administrative complaint that the YTB filed against the president of Ukraine and the Central Election Commission.As a reminder, the YTB considers the president’s decree announcing the elections unconstitutional.

Assistant Chair of the Central Election Commission Zhanna Usenko-Chorna informed that in connection with the decision of the Kyiv District Administrative Court the election campaign did not get under way. The CEC representative does not rule out the possibility that the delay in the organization of the election process could lead to a failure to meet the deadline of implementing measures in order to hold the elections the president designated for December 7.

The president of Ukraine dismissed Judge Volodymyr Keleberda of the District Administrative Court as he “did not have the authority” to review the suit filed by the YTB concerning the president’s decree on the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada.

The Presidential Secretariat informed that the decision of the Kyiv District Administrative Court has filed a complaint with the Kyiv Administrative Appellate Court. The secretariat affirms that the district court did not have the right to send down a ruling that must be approved by the Constitutional Court.


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