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Focus on Ukraine, October 13-19, 2008

October 20, 2008

Overview of this week’s political events

October 13


Minister of Justice Mykola Onishchuk has said that the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC)had instructed the government to allocate funds from the reserve fund of the national budget to hold early parliamentary elections.
The NSDC followed a decree issued by President Viktor Yushchenko. In response to the president’s decree, Premier Yulia Tymoshenko said the Law “On the Election of Members of Parliament” envisages the allocation of funds from the national budget, not from reserve funds.
It is estimated that the early parliamentary elections will cost the country UAH 418 million (some $80 million), according to the Central Election Commission.

October 14


First Vice Premier Oleksandr Turchynov said the government does not support the idea of allocating money to finance early parliamentary elections. While15 ministers voted against allocation of funds for this purpose, 9 voted in favor.
Furthermore, a majority of government members approved Yulia Tymoshenko's appeal tp President Yushchenko that he rescind his decree dissolving parliament and ordering new parliamentary elections.


President Viktor Yushchenko dissolved the Kyiv District Administrative Court and created the Central District Court and the Left-bank Administrative Court in its place.
On October 10 the Kyiv Administrative District Court had suspended the president's decree on the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) and instructions to hold early elections on December 7. The Presidential Secretariat appealed this decision in the Kyiv Appellate Court.


Yulia Tymoshenko told a press conference that representatives of her party Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) had appealed to the Kyiv District Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court to deem the presidential decree dissolving parliament illegal.
She said that should this measure prove inadequate, BYuT’s lawyers would find other ways of postponing or cancelling the elections.


The National Bank of Ukraine took a number of measures to counteract the financial crisis.
First of all, the NBU obliged commercial banks to limit transactions to the level they were at on October 13. Secondly, it limited the premature cancellation of agreements on deposit accounts. Thirdly, the bank prohibited deviations in the exchange rates of foreign currencies of more than 5%.

October 15


President Viktor Yushchenko told a press conference in Zaporizhzhia that early elections to the Verkhovna Rada will definitely be held.
He said “the elections will be held regardless of the political tricks the premier and her political force are playing”.
The president expressed his confidence that means would soon be found to finance the election campaign.


Member of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc Andriy Portnov announced that the Kyiv District Administrative Court recently dissolved was operating again.
The court also prohibited the Central Election Commission from holding any sessions to discuss holding early parliamentary elections.
Portnov said the courts had ruled the president's decree illegal.


Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko attended the summit of the European People’s Party in Brussels to consult with leaders of European countries to jointly resolve Ukraine’s troubled economy. At the summit the premier talked about the current political turmoil in Ukraine.
During her meeting with EU High Commissioner Javier Solana, she said that political harmony, meaning abandoning early elections, should be Ukraine’s contribution to stabilizing the global economy.


President of the European People’s Party (EPP) Wilfred Martens said at a recent summit in Brussels that Europe is calling on Viktor Yushchenko to abandon holding early elections and revive the democratic coalition.
The EPP, which has such well-known world leaders such as Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi as members, believes that now is not the time to organize a third election campaign in as many years.

October 16


Minister of Finance Viktor Pynzenyk said that the Cabinet of Ministers adopted the draft law on amendments to the budget that envisages financing of early parliamentary elections.
He said the Cabinet only envisaged funds to pay for early elections in amendments to the budget. Now they must be approved by the Verkhovna Rada.
BYuT leader Yulia Tymoshenko stated she would vote against the amendments.


Former member of the BYuT and currently the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Vasyl Onopenko, said the dissolution of the Kyiv District Administrative Court was illegal.
He said the president did not have the right to do so because courts can only be dissolved on the basis of an appeal submitted by the Ministry of Justice and on the consent of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

October 17


President Viktor Yushchenko annulled his decree on the dissolution of the Kyiv District Administrative Court. By virtue of another decree the president once again dissolved the Kyiv District Administrative Court and formed the Central District Administrative Court of Kyiv and the Left-bank Administrative Court of Kyiv.

The Central District Administrative Court of Kyiv formed this day by the president reinstated the validity of his presidential decree ordering early elections. The president's press service said that meant there were no longer any obstacles to holding the election.

The Kyiv Court of Appeals once again postponed the review of the claim submitted by the Presidential Secretariat to October 21appealing District Administrative Court's decision, which suspended the presidential decree dossolving parliament.
This day the court’s judges upheld the petitions submitted by Yulia Tymoshenko's representatives that insisted on a recess in the court hearings as the Kyiv Court of Appeals because of the absence of an original copy of a key document.


Presidential assistant Maryna Stavniychuk informed that the holding of early elections of the parliament of the 7th convocation is under threat. She said the latest events in the courts are an attempt to drag out the process and postpone voting.

October 18

Today is the final day the factions in the Verkhovna Rada of the 6th Convocation have the right to submit their candidates to district commissions.
The only parliamentary force that did so was the pro-President Yushchenko Our Ukraine – People’s Self-defense. The leader of OUPSD Vyacheslav Kyrylenko stated that the presidential force will most likely run in the elections under the banner of Our Ukraine and the Ukrainian National Party.


Member of the Central Election Commission (CEC) Mykhailo Okhendovskiy today said that holding the early parliamentary elections on December 7 will not be possible if district electoral commissions are not formed by October 22.
The CEC set November 1as the deadline for candidates to be registered for the election.

The Communist Party of Ukraine held an emergency conference about the president's decree ordering early elections to the Verkhovna Rada.
Communist leader Petro Symonenko called for protest rallies by his supporters. The Communists are confident they will pass the three percent voteshare threshold to enter parliament and see the Lytvyn Bloc and the Party of Regions as their allies.


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