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Focus on Ukraine, July 7-13, 2008

July 14, 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?”

July 7

Today was the start of budget week. This is the last week prior to the parliamentary summer recess.
On these days the Verkhovna Rada is to approve amendments to the 2008 national budget, which was coordinated in the Cabinet of Ministers last week.
President Viktor Yushchenko reproached the government for not comparing the macroeconomic indicators in the budget with the National Bank of Ukraine.
The political parties in the parliament have also made a number of observations to changes to the budget.
VR Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk is not ruling out that the parliament will have to continue working next week in connection with the budget.

July 8

The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc blocked the rostrum of the Ukrainian parliament demanding that a review of the changes to the budget is top priority.
YTB member Andriy Pavlovskiy informed that his party is requesting that the parliamentarians review this matter first as it is apolitical.
At the same time, the Party of Regions demand that the parliamentarians hear out the government report. The Communist Party and the Bloc of Lytvyn joined the PoR.
Even the Our Ukraine – People’s Self-defense party is not satisfied with the budget as all the proposals submitted by the president have not been taken into account.
Due to this situation, the speaker of the parliament announced a recess on a number of occasions. During one of the recesses, the YTB blocked the rostrum.

July 9

President Viktor Yushchenko said at a Ukrainian-Maltese business forum that the Verkhovna Rada does not have the right to take its summer recess until it approves changes to the national budget.
In addition to that, the president promised that he would veto the revised budget should his requests not be taken into account in the country’s main financial document.
Yushchenko also criticized amendments to the budget proposed by the government of Yulia Tymoshenko, arguing that the majority of these changes will simply lead to inflation.

YTB continues to block the rostrum in the VR session hall. Though the speaker of the parliament opened the session, he stated that the work will begin only after a bill concerning the budget is coordinated and agreed. Yatsenyuk said that the budget committee held a meeting during the night.

The leader of the Party of Regions feels that the resignation of Premier Yulia Tymoshenko is the solution to the current political crisis in the country.
Viktor Yanukovych believes there are enough votes in favor of Tymoshenko stepping down from post. The leader of the Party of Regions is convinced that the members of parliament are prepared to take such a step. The alternative solution is early parliamentary elections, though Yanukovych says that such an alternative would not do anybody any good.

Presidential Secretary Viktor Baloha joined the United Center party (UC) after leaving Our Ukraine. He is convinced that the new party will give its support to President Yushchenko and be his foothold during the election for a second term.
Baloha believes that the democratic forces in the country, primarily Our Ukraine, are among the partners of UC.
Recall that UC was formed at the end of March this year. A member of OU-PSD Ihor Kril is the head of the party. The party’s members plan to hold their first assembly on July 12.

July 10

President Yushchenko submitted to the Verkhovna Rada his draft of changes to the national budget. He criticized the government’s draft of the budget as, in his opinion, it only swells inflation. Such intervention by the president is a precedent in the history of independent Ukraine.
According to procedures, the budget is drafted by the Cabinet of Ministers and the budget committee submits it to the parliament for review.
YTB believes the president does not have the right to submit his adjustments and amendments to the national budget.

The 5th Yalta-European Strategy Summit got under way in Crimea. Nearly 300 politicians, businessmen and diplomats will discuss issues concerning the impact of the energy and food crisis on Ukraine and Europe and the creation of a free trade zone between Ukraine and the European Union.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, ex-president of Poland Alexander Kwasniewski and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin attended the summit in Yalta.
This year the special guest at the summit will be former prime minister of Great Britain Tony Blair.

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn stated at the 5th Yalta-European Strategy Summit in Crimea that the world is currently experiencing the first global economic crisis of this century.
The IMF director said this tempest has two components: the first is a financial crisis that developed in the U.S., the nucleus of the global economy, and the second is the growth in prices of commodities and food goods in countries with emerging economies.”

 

July 11

The Party of Regions blocked the work of the parliament with a demand to prolong its work for another week in order review the report of the government on Tuesday, July 15.
Premier Yulia Tymoshenko made a compromise by agreeing that the first issue to be discussed in the meeting of the parliament is the resolution on no-confidence in the government.

Parliamentarians blocked the rostrum of the VR to take up the issue of no-confidence in the current government. Despite its efforts, the opposition failed to dismiss the Cabinet of Ministers headed by Premier Yulia Tymoshenko. Only 174 deputies voted “for” her dismissal with a minimum of 226 votes required. Neither the Communists nor the Bloc of Lytvyn supported the Party of Regions.
Tymoshenko personally raised the second issue – namely, the revised budget, which the parliamentarians also voted down. Recall that the president’s version of the budget was also voted down. VR deputies sent both documents for a repeat first reading and closed the session hall for the summer recess.

July 12

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko blamed the president for the failure in voting in the budget he submitted to the parliament as an alternative to the government’s version. Tymoshenko assured that this is the reason the Verkhovna Rada did not support the budget devised by the Cabinet of Ministers. Tymoshenko will try and get this document adopted in September.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor announced at the Yalta European Strategy (YES) summit that the U.S. will maintain amicable relations with Ukraine regardless of who wins the presidential elections there.
At the same time, Russia is not so optimistic that the future of Ukraine will be all that bright. Ukraine’s aspirations of joining NATO are worsening Ukrainian-Russian relations. Economist Sergei Glazyev expressed such a position of the Russian Federation at the summit.

 



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