Last modified: Friday, July 7, 2006
Expert available to comment on Ukraine's parliamentary crisis
July 7, 2006
EDITORS: In response to the recent events in Ukraine's Parliament, we offer comments by and contact information for Charles Wise, director of the Parliamentary Development Project for Ukraine and professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University. He is presently in Ukraine watching these changes occur. Wise is available for media questions and interviews from Ukraine, where he is presently based. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The three parties -- Our Ukraine, Tymoshenko and Socialists -- signed a coalition agreement which included an agreement on prime minister and parliament chairman. The plan was to have the Tymoshenko party select the prime minister, and Our Ukraine would decide the parliamentary chairmanship, which was supposed to be Petro Poroshenko. They also divided up the ministries.
"When the Parliament met today, the opposition Regions party nominated their candidate. Our Ukraine nominated Poroshenko, and then, much to the surprise of Tymoshenko and Our Ukraine, the Socialists nominated Olexander Moroz. In short, they reneged on the coalition agreement.
"Poroshenko then withdrew. The Regions Party, headed by Yanokovich, the former prime minster under previous President Kuchma, switched and along with the Communists and the Socialists gave Moroz 238 votes putting him into the chairmanship. The suspicion is that Moroz made a deal with the Regions Party that the Socialists will support a Regions candidate for prime minister. This will mean the coalition agreement among the reform parties is over, and Our Ukraine and Tymoshenko will be in the opposition rather than the majority.
"This development means that the three parties of the Orange Coalition -- Our Ukraine, Tymoshenko, and Socialists, who consummated the coalition agreement to form the majority as required by the new constitution -- is effectively dissolved. The parties will now have 30 days to form a new majority or the president can dissolve the parliament and call for new elections.
"A new majority coalition may form from the Regions and Socialist parties, and the big business elements of Our Ukraine, which effectively means the break-up or reconfiguration of the president's party. That would certainly mean that Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister in the first government after the Orange Revolution, will take her party into opposition and charge that the Socialists and the defecting elements of Our Ukraine have betrayed the Orange Revolution. If the Regions party and the big business elements of Our Ukraine unite to name the prime minister, big business interests will dominate the new government.
"I have known Moroz since 1991. He came to IU in the first parliamentary delegation that I brought to the U.S., which met with Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. Moroz was chair of the parliament when we started the Parliamentary Development Project and was not a bad chairman. In fact, he was most supportive of the IU project. However, this move sure scrambles the deck in the government."
About the Parlimentary Development Program
The Parliamentary Development Project has worked since 1994 to strengthen the parliament as a transparent, effective, democratic institution through improved legislative-executive relations and increased citizen involvement. PDP facilitates parliamentary access advocacy training, provides technical assistance to parliamentarians and their staff, conducts comparative research on policy issues, awards grants to citizen coalitions, and encourages highly motivated young professionals to become involved with the legislature through its Parliamentary Internship Program. For more information, please visit http://www.iupdp.org.
About the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs
The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, located on eight campuses, is committed to teaching, research and service in areas such as public and nonprofit management, public policy, environmental science, criminal justice, arts administration and health administration. The school maintains continuing relationships with a large number of public agencies at all levels of government; public and private hospitals and health organizations; and nonprofit organizations and corporations in the private sector. SPEA has earned national distinction for innovative educational programs that combine administrative, social, economic, financial and environmental disciplines.