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Focus on Ukraine, November 10-16, 2008

November 17, 2008
Focus on Ukraine, November 10-16, 2008
Overview of political events of the week

November 10


VR Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk proposed to all parliamentary factions a Memorandum of Provisional Cooperation.
The speaker believes that today there is no other solution, seeing as the economic crisis persists and holding early elections is impossible.
Yatsenyuk said this memorandum requires not only the signatures of all political faction leaders, but also those of President Viktor Yushchenko and Premier Yulia Tymoshenko.


Premier Yulia Tymoshenko welcomed the proposal of VR Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk concerning unification of all branches of power in order to resolve the economic crisis. At the same time, the Party of Regions did not support the initiatives of the speaker.
First Deputy Head of the Party of Regions Oleksandr Yefremov described this initiative as an “attempt at legalization of lawlessness”, which will result in the irresponsible work of the parliament.


The Lytvyn Bloc and the Party of Regions accused VR Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk of falsification of the anti-crisis law. The speaker is being accused of adding to the law already passed by the parliament a norm on indexation of the minimum wage to the rate of inflation.
As a reminder, the members of parliament did not support the norm on freezing the level of minimum wages for two years.
Furthermore, there is no mention of an increase in social payouts that the members of parliament insisted on in the document signed by the president.


The government of Ukraine and the country’s leading metallurgy enterprises signed a memorandum that will help pull the metallurgy sector out of the current economic crisis.
Representatives of the metallurgy sector agreed to the conditions proposed by the Cabinet of Ministers concerning layoffs, wage cuts and a reduction in the prices of their products for domestic consumers. In return, the government promised to lower the prices of electricity and offer these enterprises tax breaks and privileges on customs duties.


November 11


The Ukrainian parliament spent the entire day debating staffing. The parliamentarians reminded the speaker about the resignation he tendered two months ago. Meanwhile, the Party of Regions only managed to submit the issue of the speaker’s resignation to the order of the day only on the second attempt.
The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense are against Yatsenyuk’s resignation. The parliamentarians failed to vote on this issue today.


November 12


The parliament dismissed Arseniy Yatsenyuk from his post as the speaker. 233 of the 350 members of parliament registered in the session hall voted in favour, including 175 members of the Party of Regions, 27 members of the Communist Party, 20 members of the Lytvyn Bloc, 10 members of the United Center, which are part of the OUPSD and one member of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc.
Yatsenyuk was elected the speaker of the house on the quota of the OUPSD. He tendered his resignation in September immediately after the parliamentary coalition was officially disbanded.


Former VR Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced at a briefing that he plans to form a new political force. He said the votes of 10 parliamentarians of the OUPSD bloc and the United Center are nothing short of treason.


Premier Yulia Tymoshenko told journalists at a press conference in the Cabinet of Ministers she is convinced that the dismissal of Yatsenyuk could not have happened without a directive of the president.
Tymoshenko said she believes the dismissal of Yatsenyuk is a pretext for holding early parliamentary elections.


November 13


Ukraine’s parliament postponed the issue of choosing a new speaker until next week.
Political factions will hold talks regarding a candidate to replace Yatsenyuk over the next few days.
Volodymyr Lytvyn, Adam Martynyuk, Ivan Pliushch and Oleksandr Lavrynovych have been named possible candidates for the post of speaker of the parliament.
The parliament of Ukraine will hold committee meetings until next week and reconvene on November 18.


Members of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc presume that the government will be dismissed after a new speaker of the parliament is elected. They believe that the current Minister of Defense Yuriy Yekhanurov could be the new “technical premier”.
At the same time, members of the Party of Regions say they have no intentions of raising the issue of the dismissal of the Cabinet of Ministers in the next three months.
Leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych said the formation of a coalition in the VR is problematic.


November 14


President Viktor Yushchenko stated at the 4th Energy Summit in Baku that next year Ukraine will have as sufficient reserve of in order to start pumping oil to Western European through the Odesa-Brody.
Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Poland, Baltic countries, the United States and the European Commission participated in the summit. The participants supported plans for the transportation of petroleum through Ukraine and gas from Central Asia and the Caspian Sea to Europe, circumventing Russia.
In addition to that, Yushchenko said by the middle of next year there will be a new government in Ukraine that will foster the implementation of this project.  

President Viktor Yushchenko informed after the closing of the energy summit in Baku that he is ready to hold political consultations on November 17 to appoint a new speaker of parliament.
President Yushchenko anticipates that a new speaker will be appointed on Tuesday or Wednesday.
He added that the priority task is having a functional parliament that is capable of adopting a decision on consolidation or financing early elections.

November 16

The National Rukh of Ukraine party (NRU) held a meeting behind closed doors.
The main objective of the meeting was to resolve the issue of uniting this political force with the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc.
Parliamentarians from the Ternopil, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk that are close to Kendzior are against such unification.
Kendzior says the opinions of more than 25,000 members of the Rukh party in Western Ukraine opposed to potential unification with the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Ukraine being brought under the Russian sphere of influence are being ignored. The members of Rukha also reaffirmed their support of the president’s actions on strengthening Ukrainian statehood.
The congress closed without any decisions being made. It was decided that them members of the party will come to a consensus at the meeting of the party’s governing body. As a reminder, today the NRU is part of the Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense bloc.



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