In an apoplectic act of fulfilling prophecies Viktor Yushchenko has ordered members of Our Ukraine to withdraw from the governing coalition. The order of the President is seen by many as a clear sign that Yushchenko will disband the Parliament forcing another round of Parliamentary elections to be held in October.
Yushchenko has until July 17 to put his plan for Armageddon into action. Under Ukraine’s Constitution the President can not dismiss the Parliament within six months of the next Presidential election scheduled for January 17, 2010.
Six months out from the scheduled Presidential election Yushchenko has gone on the defensive by calling on Yulia Tymoshenko to abandon her quest to nominate for president under threats of forced resignation.
Yushchenko’s strategy is born out of desperation. Yushchenko’s support rating is below 4%
In another sign and act of desperation and an attack on the democratic processes Yushchenko has demanded that the Kyiv Branch of the President’s political party “Our Ukraine” be dissolved because they refused to agree with the President’s proposals
Yushchenko is in a live or die situation. If Presidential elections are held before Parliamentary elections he will most certainly lose the next Presidential ballot. Forcing another round of Parliamentary elections is his only chance of survival. It is a big gamble and one that will cost Ukraine dearly.
If it is not played out right it could bring Ukraine to breaking point. Yushchenko would then be in a position to declare a state of emergency prolonging his term of office and installing himself as Ukraine’s first dictator.
The President’s strategy is designed to weaken support for Yulia Tymoshenko who has declared she will nominate for the 2010 Presidential election. Yushchenko hopes that by dissolving the parliament and forcing new elections he will not only tax the resources of the opposition but also remove Yulia Tymoshenko’s support base.
With Yulia Tymoshenko out of the way the only other obstacle between stopping Yushchenko from gaining momentum and chance to survive the first round of Presidential voting is Arseniy Yatsenyuk. All three payers (Yulia, Yushchenko and Yatsenyuk) could sit on around 13% each.
Yushchenko’s hopes that early Parliamentary elections will deflect attention away from his own dismal record as President and allow the electorate to vent their dissatisfaction on the Parliament.
Opposition in a winning position
Yushchenko’s actions will play into the hands of the opposition Party of Regions who will most likely win a majority of Parliamentary seats and will be in a position to form the new Government.
Potential for another unstable outcome – If at first you do not succeed try try again
Ukraine could see a repeat of the 2007 Parliamentary elections
If the newly elected Parliament fails to deliver a stable government then Yushchenko will use that to try and sell his new constitution as the only option to restore stability. By the time a new parliament is declared elected and a new governing coalition is in place Ukraine will be bedding down for the winter in the lead up to the end of year and Christmas celebrations. With temperatures as low as minus 20 deg C public attention and focus on the Presidential election campaign will be minimal.
Party of Regions will need to decide quickly what its strategy will be.
Party of Regions vote could either rise or fall depending on the outcome of the parliamentary elections. They are expected to also poll around 39% of the parliamentary vote.
They will also need to decide who will front their Elections campaign. The question is can they afford to risk nominating someone else for Prime minister and President? The time frame between parliamentary elections and presidential elections is insufficient for Yanukovych to hold both positions. From Party of Regions point of view it would be better if Parliamentary elections where either held simultaneously or after the Presidential elections.
Yatseniuk’s Y-Front for change Yushchenko’s fallback position
If all hell breaks loose and Ukraine begins to fall apart Yatsenyuk hopes to capitalize on the divisions and will continue to try and claim the mantel of a fresh face in Ukraine’s political leadership.
Problem facing Yatsenyuk is that he is seen to be too close to Yushchenko and a supporter of his failed policies.
Turn off and tune out
It could end up that the public will have tied of the electoral process and with a bitter cold winter may turn off altogether in which case if the voters turn out for Presidential elections is below 50% Yushchenko remains in office. This scenario is unlikely as Party of Regions will be making sure that voters in the East express their frustration and resentment aimed at Yushchenko who rightly will be seen as the main cause for division and instability.