Tymoshenko to be forced from office next week

September 15, 2009

Mig News is reporting a plot to overthrow and remove Yulia Tymoshenkop as Ukraine’s Prime-minister with Party of Regions teaming up with Ukraine’s President, Viktor Yushenko to oust Tymoshenko as early as next week.

The leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine Petro Symonenko hinting that a proposal to dismiss the government will be submitted this week at the Verkhovna Rada.

“Politicians are going to make a new constitutional agreement. Yushchenko will sign it together with the so-called majority in the parliament”.

The dismissal of the government will not result in a new coalition being formed and as such will force the Parliament to agree to fresh elections

The political coup and dismissal of the Prime-minister could lead to the failure of presidential elections in Ukraine and as such prolonging Viktor Yushchenko’s term of office, Petro Symonenko claims. “It is an obvious way to the instability in our state”

Earlier this month Party of Regions stated that it was not intending to support proposals to dismiss the Government prior to the January 2010 Presidential elections.

As is always the case in Ukraine – It’s best to wait and see. Similar plots and Presidential coups have failed to eventuate.

Parliamentary reform: What Ukraine should not do

September 11, 2009

Back in June the Venice Commission reviewed a draft legislation on Parliamentary Elections proposed and submitted by the Ukrainian Parliament Committee on State Building and Local Self-Governance.

The system proposed in the draft law provides for 450 parliamentarians to be elected under a form of proportional representation that uses territorial election districts, including a foreign territorial election district where ballots are cast by out of country voters. Under the proposed system, most members of parliament will be elected from national lists, with the mathematical possibility for individual political party candidates to be elected within an in-country territorial election district from a territorial list.

The proposed model, as commented in the Venice Commission’s report, is very convoluted, complex and over engineered. It seeks to reinstate a “hybrid representative model” which is extraordinary and unnecessarily complex in its implementation.

Under the proposals put forward Ukraine’s parliament would be made up of a representatives elected from a single party list but with the allocation of a proportion of the list being determined by local regional elections (the exact boundaries and composition not yet decided) . The system is so complex I do not think it is worth trying to unravel and explain in detail. It is a good example as how Ukrainian politicians try to manipulate the system to deliver a solution that is not a solution.

Hybrid systems do not work. They create a distortion and inequality of the representative model which in turn distorts the balance of representation by creating super-sets and sub-sets of mandates. Those elected on a National List will hold a separate and significantly different mandate then those elected by the regional local list. This system did not work in the old parliament prior to the reforms of 2004. The proposed system, as complicated as it is, will also fail.

The temptation to try and manipulate and over engineer Ukraine’s parliamentary model must be resisted – its a fools paradise and in the long run will not work

Yes there is merit in adopting and establishing local multi-member proportional representational electorates – but the hybrid mix of different mandates in a single house Parliament has no merit or justification. If Ukraine believes they need National representatives to complement local representatives then they are best to adopt a bicameral system with one house elected on the basis of local representation (preferable the lower house) and the second house (Senate) elected on a national basis.

The main criteria in assessing any representative model is that each elected position MUST be equal in representation and must be based on sound democratic principles. Each local electorate MUST return the same number of representatives elected on the same quota percentage and where possible have the same number of constituents (+/- 5%).

Ideally each local electorate would return either 5, 7 or 9 members of parliament and be elected by a system of “Single Transferable vote” preferential proportional representation using the Meeks method of counting the vote. What ever number they settle on each electorate MUST be the equal and on the based on the same quota percentage for the system to work at its best. (See previous post – Principles of a good, workable and democratic representative Parliamentary model)

The proposal of creating a “Foreign representational” electorate is another foolish reaction to a problem that does not exist. The number of Ukrainian foreign voters is marginally small. If need be foreign voters should be able to cast a vote for the local regional electorate in which they were previously registered or lived, there is no need to create a special electorate to accommodate their needs.

Need to fix the date for elections

The other change that must be made and has been overlooked is the need to fix a set date for elections. This provision of having elections set for the last Sunday of the last month of the term of office of the Parliament, as we have seen with the current presidential elections, is not effective or desirable. A fixed date say last week in October would be a better option. Any preterm election could have their term cut short to ensure that the October date is the cut off point. Presidential elections if they are to continue should also be brought into line with the adoption of a similar fixed date.

Hopefully the legislation as proposed will not see the light of day and Ukraine will stop trying to over-engineer the outcome of elections and concentrate more on winning public support based on a fair and equal electoral model.

Poll: President’s Party Biggest Losers

August 24, 2009

The Research and Branding opinion poll indicates that had fresh parliamentary elections been held last week Viktor Yushchenko’s party “Our Ukraine-Peoples Self-Defense bloc” would receive less then 3% support and lose representation with the overall reduction in the number of seats flowing on to Arseniy Yatseniuk’s “Front for Change” party and an increase in the number of seats allocated to Party of Regions and Bloc Lytvyn with a further loss of seats allocated to Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko and one seat reduction to the Communist Party of Ukraine. The poll reflects much the same overall voting pattern as the presidential poll.

Joint parliamentary and presidential elections are unlikely to occur. As of July 23 Yushchenko has lost authority to dismiss Ukraine’s parliament and looks set to lose all power at the next election.

Candidate Party Parliament Election 2006 Parliament Election 2007 Research & Branding Group
Date from 26-Mar-06 30-Sep-07 04-Aug-09
Date To 14-Aug-09
Link % Seats % Seats % Seats *
Party of regions PoR 32.1 186 34.4 175 29.3 209
Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko BYuT 22.3 129 30.7 156 15.5 111
Bloc Arseniy Yatsenyuk Y-Front 10.6 76
Bloc Lytvyn BL 2.4 4.0 20 3.9 28
Communist Party of Ukraine CPU 3.7 21 5.4 27 3.7 26
Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defence OU-PSD 14.0 81 14.2 72
Socialist Party of Ukraine SPU 5.7 33 2.9
Others <3% 19.8 5.7 6.9
Against all 2.7 10.8
Not going to vote 9.8
Not sure 9.5
sum 100.0 450 100.0 450 100.0 450

* notional seat allocation

Poll: Parliament Six Pack – Party of Regions pick of the pack

July 20, 2009

Source: KyivPost

A recent poll showing the expected results of a fresh round of parliamentary Elections indicates that Party of Regions with 201 seats would win government with a coalition partner of their choosing. (Min required 225 seats)

Block Yulia Tymoshenko, Y-Front, Our Ukraine, the Communists Party and Lytvyn plus one other can all make offers to sit on the cabinet table. With the outcome being a gamblers dream as uncertainty takes hold all players are in with a chance.

This could prove to be tempting for Yushchenko as Our Ukraine could form a long awaited alliance with Party of Regions but they will fall short of a constitutional two-thirds Majority unless they are joined by Yatseniuk’s “Y-Front” team. A Constitutional majority could also be formed between PoR, BYuT and BVL coalition.

Based on the six parties listed this would translate into seats as following

Party Vote % Seats Seats %
Party of Regions PoR 32.7 201 44.67
Block Yulia Tymoshenko BYuT 14.2 87 19.40
Yatseniuk Front for Change Y-Front 12.8 79 17.49
Our Ukraine OU 5.4 33 7.38
Communist Party of Ukraine CPU 4.3 26 5.87
Block Volodymyr Lytvyn BVL 3.8 24 5.19
Sum 73.2 450 100

The published poll is missing details of 26.8% of undisclosed votes and which parties are below the 3% threshold.

When analysing poll results it is important to factor in the participation rate.

The participation rate is listed as ranging from 75% to 89%. This means that a party on 2.4% to 2.7% of the vote could also cross the 3% threshold quota .

Note: The graphic below published by Kyiv Post does not reflect the poll results.

Recent poll shows that Six Ukrainian parties, blocs may win early parliamentary election

Today, 16:05 | Interfax-Ukraine

Poll: six Ukrainian parties, blocs may win early parliamentary election Sixteen percent of the respondents said
they found it difficult to answer the
question, and 2.6% said they would vote
against all candidates.
Six parties and political blocs may pass the three percent threshold in the Verkhovna Rada elections, the Ukrainian Sociology Service said with the reference to a poll of 2,010 adults on July 4-14.

According to the service, 32.7% of the respondents said they would support the Party of Regions, 14.2% the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, 12.8% the Arseniy Yatseniuk Bloc, 5.4% the Our Ukraine Party, 4.3% the Communist Party, and 3.8% the Lytvyn Bloc.

Sixteen percent of the respondents said they found it difficult to answer the question, and 2.6% said they would vote against all candidates.

Forty-four percent of the respondents did not support the idea to dismiss the Verkhovna Rada and to hold early presidential elections. A total of 31.4% had the opposite opinion, and 24.5% were unable to answer the question.

A total of 32.6% of the respondents said they would take part in the possible early elections of the Verkhovna Rada, and 29.7% said they are likely to do that.

Meanwhile, 15.7% said they would rather not take part in the ballot, and 11.2% would not do that for sure.

Yushchenko loses Authority over Our Ukraine Parliamentary Party

June 30, 2009

Ukraine’s President, Viktor Yushenko has suffered a major blow and in relation to his authority over the parliamentary party of “Our Ukraine”

The participants in a congress of the People’s Union Our Ukraine party will not vote for recalling ministers representing this party from the Cabinet led by Yulia Tymoshenko, Vira Ulianchenko, the head of the party’s Council, said on Saturday.

“No, we will not [recall Our Ukraine ministers], because it is thanks to our ministers that our voice is heard there [in the government]” Ulianchenko told journalists before the congress. (Kyiv Post)

This is a major blow to Yushchenko whose strategy is to undermine Ukraine’s government in the hope of providing him justification for the dismissal of Ukraine’s democratically elected Parliament.

Yushchenko has until July 17 top call another snap Parliamentary election. The Congress of Our Ukraine had demanded that Yulia Tymoshcneko withdraw her intention to nominate of the presidency in 2010 or resign.

Yushenko’s strategy was to dismiss the Parliament in order to undermine Yulia Tymoshcneko’s Campaign for President in the hope that it would booster his chances of surviving the first round of voting.

Yushchenko’s support rating is less then 4%, with Yulia Tymoshyenbko, Aseniy Yatsenyuk and the Communist Party out polling the President, his chance of being reelected for a second term of office is very very slim. Even more so if Our Ukraine rejects his call to withdraw from the coalition.

Support for Our Ukraine, under the Viktor Yushchenko’s leadership, has collapsed from 15% in 2006 to less then 3% in 2009. If a fresh round of Parliamentary elections were held there is a real possibility that Our Ukraine would lose representation and influence.

Yushchenko breaks the seals, unleashing his destruction on Ukraine’s Parliament

June 28, 2009

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.

Weaken opponents

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.

Deflect Attention

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.

Turbulent times ahead as Ukraine heads into a bitter cold Winter election.

June 23, 2009

Presidential elections to be held on January 17, 2010

After months of delay Ukraine’s Parliament has set the date for Ukraine’s next Presidential election for January 17, 2010. The results of the election not expected until April 2010. Ukraine’s embattled President, Viktor Yushchenko, has effectively extended his term of office by an additional three months beyond five years.

With the date of the Presidential election now out of the way Yushchenko, will now shift his focus towards dismissing Ukraine’s Parliament and calling fresh parliamentary elections to be held in October. Yushchenko, who is subject to limitations under Ukraine’s Constitution (Article 90) has until July 17 and arguably until the end of August to call for fresh Parliamentary elections. If Yushchenko dissolves the Parliament fresh Parliamentary elections must be held within 60 days.

Yushchenko will consider early Parliamentary elections as the best tactical means of undermining Yulia Tymochenko’s campaign for the Presidency. Yulia Tymochenko will have to fight a campaign on both fronts and if she loses the Parliamentary elections it would be difficult for her to regain the upper hand and support to win the Presidential election.

Whilst early Parliamentary elections would perceivably benefit Yushchenko the most they will not be enough to save Yushchenko from defeat in 2010. Yushchenko would be pinning his hopes on a collapse in support for BYuT and the outside chance that voters will abandon Yulia Tymoshenko and shift their support to his candidacy for President. This is a huge gamble and one that is likely to come unstuck. Gambling on the outcome has not stopped Yushchenko in the past and he is desperate to grab on to any chance he can no matter what the consequences and the impact may be on Ukraine as a whole.

It is unlikely that we will see a level of stand-off and civil unrest as occurred back in 2007.

The mood of the electorate and the financial resources to sustain and meaningful protest will limit any chance of a drawn out stand-off between the Parliament and the President. Yulia Tymoshenko’s government is not strong enough to fend off an unconstitutional attack by the Office of the President and they are already under pressure not only on the economic front but also by the perception that the government is dysfunctional and unable to fulfil a number of Cabinet’s vacant position.

Early Parliamentary vote will dampen Yanukovych’s Presidential campaign

In the meantime Party of Regions will continue to sit back and watch the two former Orange coalition partners fight it out amongst themselves, knowing full well that they are in poll position and best placed to win either the Parliament or Presidential elections.

Early parliamentary elections will not assist Yanukovych or Party of Regions. Whilst they have little to fear from early Parliamentary elections strategically there are better off if Presidential elections are held first.

A prolonged Presidential campaign is bad enough but the prospect of another round of early parliamentary elections proceeding the 2010 Presidential elections will take Ukraine to breaking point.

What is clear is that Ukraine is in for a long and divisive political season lasting six to eight months.

Ukraine had a chance to avoid the conflict and resolve the once and for all the divisions of power.

Sadly negotiations between the two main Parliamentary factions (Block Yulia Tymoshenko and Party of Regions) failed last month setting the scene for the next political crisis. A crisis that Ukraine can ill-afford at this particular point in time.

Elections are not cheap. The direct cost of each round of national elections is over 100 million dollars. Add to that the additional campaign costs (estimated at a further 100 million dollars per round) at a total cost of over half a billion dollars for all three ballots (One parliament and two Presidential) and you begin to realise the full extent of the problem facing Ukraine. Someone has to foot the bill and as they say there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Irrespective of who will win, Ukraine will be the looser.

When you add the additional untold cost to Ukraine’s economy that will arise from the political infighting and uncertainty and factor in the Ukraine’s current economic position things are not looking bright for Ukraine immediate future