Voting "against all" is not an option: Vote for one or the other and provide a clear mandate.

February 2, 2010

Ukraine must make a choice between the best of two evils.

Voting against all serves no purpose.  A vote against all would only exacerbate Ukraine’s problems and cause further instability and hardship.

The whole concept of the presidential system is seriously flawed, the direct election of Ukraine’s head of state only serves to divided Ukraine not unite it.  Ukraine would be better off if it abandoned the presidential system and adopted a full European parliamentary system of governance.  But this is not the case now, like it or not Ukraine’s next president will be elected on Sunday.

Voting “against all” is an option that Ukraine can not afford

It is in Ukraine’s best interest that the person elected has a clear mandate.  Ukrainians must vote for one or the other. Tymoshenko or Yanukovych.  To do otherwise is putting at risk Ukraine’s future and stability as an independent nation.


Ukraine’s chief Rabbi ready to give up state order to protest against Bandera award

February 2, 2010

13:50 | Interfax-Ukraine

Ukraine’s Jewish community is outraged by the decision to confer thetitle of Hero of Ukraine posthumously to nationalist leader StepanBandera, with Chief Rabbi Moshe Reuven Asman of Ukraine and Kyiv sayinghe would give up his Order of Merit in protest.

“The chief rabbi has asked our lawyers to find out how the order couldbe returned from a legal point of view,” Asman’s aide David Milman toldInterfax on Feb. 2.

“This position is shared by the entire Jewish community. Everyone isoutraged. [Outgoing President] Viktor Yuschenko could not venture thisstep as long as he was hoping to remain president,” he said.

“This award is a call for war, as war was Bandera’s credo,” Milman said.

Yushchenko conferred the title of Hero of Ukraine, one of the country’s highest honors, to Banderaon Jan. 22, which marks the Day of Unity. This title had earlier beenconferred on Commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army Roman Shukhevych.

Asman was elected Ukraine’s chief rabbi at a meeting of the Jewish communities on Sept. 11, 2005.

Ukraine: A tinder box waiting to be ignited

February 2, 2010

Part of democracy is the ability of a state and political force to accept defeat as well as they accept winning.

Sunday’s presidential election could end in civil unrest as the losing party refuses to accept the out come of the election.

There are reports of planned military style action designed to disrupt the final ballot in the making. Reports of para military agents imported from Georgia, Poland and  Lithuania by Ukraine’s Prime-minister, the possible engagement of Tatars in Crimea and plans for mass protests and civil action to arrest power.

To add to the tension Ukraine incumbent president, Viktor Yushchenko, who was defeated in the first round of voting, is waiting in the sidelines and could be called on to declare a state of emergency if things appear to be getting out of hand.

If Sunday becomes Ukraine’s Bloody Sunday Yushchenko may use this as an excuse to declare a State of Emergency and implement a planned presidential coup.  It is even feasible that Yushchenko and his forces may consider it in their interests to fuel the perception of civil unrest in order to prolong his term of office.

Should Yushchenko not be able to maintain law and order and ensure the transfer of power to whoever is declared the winner of the election then he should be replaced and a caretaker president appointed without delay.

The potential for civil unrest depends on just how close Sunday’s ballot is and whether the losing party will feel cheated and has the ability to motivate a civil protest movement.  It is unlikely that the people of Ukraine will take to the streets as they did in 2004, but there is a real threat of an orchestrated military style provocation and takeover by various interested parties.

It has been suggested that the dismissal of Ukraine’s Interior Minister was part of the planned provocation action.

Sixth session: Parliament convenes regular session

February 2, 2010

The Ukrainian Parliament has convened its sixth regular session. It’s commencement has triggered a number of events.

Missing but not forgotten

Constitutional reform – Removal of parliamentary immunity from Criminal prosecution.

The main issue that should be before the parliament is the proposed amendments for Ukraine’s constitution that removes Parliamentary immunity for criminal liability.  Amendments to the Constitution were agreed to and forwarded to the Ukraine’s Constitutional Court for review.

Under the terms of Ukraine’s Constitution (Chapter XIII) the Parliament had to wait until the next regular session before it could finally pass the the proposed amendments.  With the commencement of a new session these amendments can not be passed.

Strangely enough there is no mention of the proposed amendments on the agenda papers and the constitutional Court has still not delivered its decision.  These amendments should have been before the parliament this week and adopted prior to Sundays final presidential ballot. 

The media have been silent and have not raised this issue. Why?

The forced dismissal of Ukraine’s parliament not an option until October

With the holding of the Sixth regular Session then provision of Article 90 of Ukraine’s Constitution can not be activated until October. The Parliament can only be dismissed if the 30 days following the failure of the parliament to convene it scheduled regular session.   Even if Party of Regions their mandate on mass and cancels their electoral list as did Tymoshenko back in in 2007, the parliament can not be dismissed until 30 days following the next regular Parliamentary session which is scheduled to start in September.

The only other option for early Parliamentary elections is if a motion of no confidence is passed in the government or the governing coalition is terminated according to the rules of the Parliament.

The next six months could prove to be another challenge to Ukraine’s political stability and constitutional order.

Extract from Ukraine’s Constitution

Article 83

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine works in sessions.

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is competent on the condition that noless than two-thirds of its constitutional composition has been elected.

Article 83

Regular sessions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine commence on the first Tuesday of February and on the first Tuesday of September each year.

Special sessions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, with thestipulation of their agenda, are convoked by the Chairperson of theVerkhovna Rada of Ukraine, on the demand of the President of Ukraine oron the demand of no fewer People’s Deputies of Ukraine than one-thirdof the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

According to election results and on the basis of a common groundachieved between various political positions, a coalition ofparliamentary factions shall be formed in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraineto include a majority of People’s Deputies of Ukraine within theconstitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

A coalition of parliamentary factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine shall be formed withina month from the date of the first meeting of the Verkhovna Rada ofUkraine to be held following regular or special elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, or withina month from the date when activities of a coalition of parliamentaryfactions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine terminated.

Framework for forming, organising, and terminating activities of acoalition of parliamentary factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraineshall be established by the Constitution of Ukraine and the Rules ofProcedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Article 90

The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is terminated on theday of the opening of the first meeting of the Verkhovna Rada ofUkraine of a new convocation.

The President of Ukraine may terminate the authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine prior to the expiration of term, if:

(1) there is a failure to form within one month a coalition ofparliamentary factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as provided forin Article 83 of this Constitution;

(2) there is a failure, within sixty days following the resignationof the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, to form the personalcomposition of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;

(3) the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine fails, within thirty days of a single regular session, to commence its plenary meetings.

The early termination of powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraineshall be decided by the President of Ukraine following relevantconsultations with the Chairperson and Deputy Chairpersons of theVerkhovna Rada of Ukraine and with Chairpersons of Verkhovna Radaparliamentary factions.

The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, that is elected atspecial elections conducted after the pre-term termination by thePresident of Ukraine of authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ofthe previous convocation, shall not be terminated within one year fromthe day of its election.

The authority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine shall not beterminated during the last six months of the term of authority of theVerkhovna Rada of Ukraine or President of Ukraine.