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Focus on Ukraine, June 16-22, 2008

June 23, 2008

The Democratic Initiatives Foundation follows political events in Ukraine with the aim of monitoring the pre-election promises of the country’s leading political forces that won seats in the parliament as a result of the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada on September 30, 2007. The monitoring is conducted within the framework of the project “Where are our political leaders taking us?”


June 16


A NATO delegation headed by its Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made an official visit to Kyiv to review Ukraine’s readiness for joining the alliance’s Member Action Plan.NATO representatives, the president of Ukraine and members of the National Security and Defense Council discussed Kyiv’s progress in implementing the Ukraine-NATO plan of action and the targeted program for 2008.The NATO Secretary General explained to average Ukrainian citizens the prospects and advantages of joining the North Atlantic alliance.


President Viktor Yushchenko stated after his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer that Ukraine will insist on joining the NATO Membership Action Plan this year.Specifically, he assured that by the end of this year Kyiv can meet all conditions for being accepted to the MAP, though he emphasized that Ukraine would approve its final decision as to joining NATO after a referendum.


June 17


The Verkhovna Rada voted down the draft law annulling deputy privileges that was proposed by the Party of Regions.
The Party of Regions and the Bloc of Lytvyn did not give a single vote for their own draft laws.
To sum it up, 192 deputies voted in favor of amendments to the law on the status of a deputy concerning privileges. The votes were divided as follows: Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc – 153, Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense – 42 and the Communist Party – 24.

The YTB faction proposed making amendments to the law on the status of people’s deputies, which would limit the number of privileges and implement an imperative mandate.
YTB proposed to establish additional grounds for suspending the powers of a deputy, in particular stripping their mandate for not being elected to a faction or a bloc of a party according to the list by which they were elected and for refusal to sign a pact about a coalition or opposition to its activity.
Representatives of the Bloc of Lytvyn and Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense such a law will “enslave” deputies.


June 18


Deputies of the Party of Regions appealed to the Constitutional Court with a request for an official clarification of the legitimacy of the coalition of democratic forces. According to the legislative procedures, the appeal was submitted for review by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

The YTB faction will recall Ihor Rybakov, who announced he will leave the coalition, from the VR Committee on Legislative Guarantee of the Law Enforcement Activity.YTB member Oleksandr Steshenko submitted the corresponding draft resolution. The members of the faction explained their decision by the fact that Rybakov cannot fully represent the YTB deputy faction by his moral virtues and political convictions.


June 19


Premier Yulia Tymoshenko was on a working visit to Brussels where she will take part in the Summit of the European People’s Party.
Prior to her arrival, the Brussels correspondent on European-Ukrainian issues Michael Emerson said that the EU is concerned about the confrontation between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko as this weakens the position of official Kyiv in the negotiations process according to the newly intensified agreement. This is the reason Emerson said that European government leaders want to hear Tymoshenko’s version of the current affairs and a way out of the protracted crisis.


The European Union gave a positive assessment of the economic situation in Ukraine.
EU High Commissioner of Security Issues Javier Solana said the economic policy of the Ukrainian government is fairly successful, though leaders of the state must focus their attention first and foremost on political issues.
Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko stated the country’s intention of joining the charter of small enterprises, which will give a serious boost to the development of enterprise and the formation of a middle class in Ukraine.
In addition to this, the premier tried to interest her European colleagues in Ukraine’s agricultural sector.

YTB faction blocked the parliamentary dais and presidium.
YTB is demanding from the Verkhovna Rada that it immediately resolve such issues as the imperative mandate and the cancellation of deputies’ privileges and immunity.The opposition feels that YTB is stalling for time in order to announce the demise of the coalition. In response to this YTB members say the bloc will definitely switch to the opposition if the parliamentary forces are prepared to form a new majority.


June 20


YTB members once again blocked the parliamentary dais.
VR Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk emphasized that when the parliamentary session hall is blocked there is no sense in pretending that the parliament is functioning and reminded that over the course of the next two weeks the deputies will be working in committees and electoral districts.
In addition to that, the speaker said he would announce the formation of a new coalition in parliament as soon as its factions submit to him the corresponding agreement.





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