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Focus on Ukraine, May 26-June 1, 2008

June 2, 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 snap elections to the Verkhovna Rada held on September 30, 2007. The monitoring is conducted within the framework of the project “Where are our political leaders taking us?”

May 26

Today, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko arrived in Canada on a 4-day official state visit. At a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper the two sides discussed the prospects of the development of Ukrainian-Canadian partnership, cooperation in the energy sector and the activation of cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
The Ukrainian president and the prime minister of Canada signed a joint declaration of cooperation. Kyiv will assist Ottawa in military transport, while Canada will reciprocate by supporting Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

May 27

Radio Free Europe reported that Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper stated that he supports the draft resolution of the Canadian parliament recognizing the 1932-33 Famine in Ukraine as “an act of genocide”.
Harper made this statement in the presence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who was given the opportunity to make an address before the two houses of the Canadian parliament.

President Viktor Yushchenko met with the Governor-General of Canada Mikael Jean.
During the meeting the president emphasized that Ukrainian-Canadian friendship has great prospects of future development. He said that Ukraine’s WTO membership has opened a new window of opportunities to activate trade and investment cooperation between Ukraine and Canada.

Tymoshenko said in an interview for the Russian edition of Newsweek that she is not sure whether she will support the president during the presidential elections. The premier feels the president of Ukraine is currently engaged in repressions against his team and is filing criminal lawsuits against its members. At the same time, Tymoshenko expressed her hopes that there are chances of amicably resolving all conflicts.

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine deemed the norm of the law On the 2008 National Budget of Ukraine unconstitutional and announced amendments to certain normative acts of Ukraine that either narrow or cancel privileges and social guarantees for citizens. In this way the Constitution deemed the limitations of such payouts from the national budget in 2008 illegal and obligated the government to reinstate social payouts.

Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko accused President Viktor Yushchenko of connivance in the plans of breaking up the democratic coalition and the return of “Kuchmism” to Ukraine. The minister made a number of similar statements in a press conference in Kyiv. The minister of internal affairs stated that his forced removal as head of the MIA is being planned with the help of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine. By making such accusations public, Lutsenko demanded the resignation of PG Oleksandr Medvedko.

The Presidential Secretariat reacted to the accusations against Yuriy Lutsenko. Presidential Secretary Viktor Baloha denied that the president harbors intentions of bringing down the democratic coalition and explained the poignant statements of the minister by the violation of the spiritual equilibrium after the loss of the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense bloc in the snap elections to the Kyiv mayor’s office.

May 28

The Cabinet of Ministers is demanding from law enforcement agencies that they suspend the practice of filing criminal cases against civil servants and certain deputies.
Premier Yulia Tymoshenko read out a joint statement of ministers at a briefing. The premier says if the practice of repressions is not suspended she can appeal to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe concerning the breach of freedom of human rights.
In addition to that, her political force will initiate the dismissal of the Prosecutor General.
Recall that the Central Administration on Investigation of Highly Important Matters filed a criminal case on May 22 against people’s deputy David Zhvaniya for falsification and use of consciously falsified documents based on which the deputy received Ukrainian citizenship.
The Kyiv Prosecutor General’s Office filed a criminal case against Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko for abuse of office and tasks assigned to Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetskiy.

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko feels that the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine was approved at the request of the Presidential Secretariat and the Party of Regions. She stated this at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.
In the premier’s opinion, this decision is aimed at eliminating all revenue and expenditures line items in the national budget. This way the charges to the payroll fund and additional fees for payout of pensions are canceled.

The Podil District Court of Kyiv suspended pre-trial investigation against Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko. The minister’s attorney Yuriy Martynenko informed that press about this.

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko and President Viktor Yushchenko agreed on the revenue side of the budget. Next Tuesday the coalition is expected to approve amendments to the national budget. The premier announced this live on one of the Ukrainian TV channels. Tymoshenko informed that the budget destroyed by the Constitutional Court on Tuesday will be declared and the revenue side will be reinstated.

May 30

The Kyiv City Territorial Commission publicized the final results of the elections to the Kyiv City Council. The representatives of seven political parties and blocs will receive mandates of the deputies of the Kyiv City Council. According to the results, the following won seats in the Kyiv City Council: Bloc of Leonid Chernovetskiy, who will represent 43 deputies, Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc – 32, Bloc of Klitschko – 15, Bloc of Lytvyn – 11, Hromadskiy Aktyv of Kyiv – 8, Party of Regions – 6 and Bloc of Katerynchuk – 5.
Leonid Chernovetskiy won the largest number of votes in the mayoral elections in Kyiv – 431,261in favor. The turnout of voters was 53.39%.

May 31

The public awareness campaign YES TO NATO! began in Ukraine.
The information campaign on NATO launched by the Our Ukraine party will be promoted in all regions of the country.
The initiators of the campaign have set for themselves the goal of breaking public opinion and promise to continue their efforts until Ukraine is granted the NATO Membership Action Plan. The first promotional event was held at the Ukraina National Palace of the Arts.



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