Week’s milestones. The President’s challenges, ejected Prosecutor General and capricious coalition
The past week was anything but an easy run for Petro Poroshenko. Viktor Shokin and Davit Sakvarelidze are practically out of the Prosecutor General’s Office. The process of reformatting the parliamentary coalition came across well-calculated whims of one of the party leaders.
It was quite logical for the Head of State to visit Donetsk region on the eve of his long trip across the ocean. In eastern Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko emphasized his interest in holding peaceful elections in Donbas and expressed confidence that the majority of people in the region stand for being part of Ukraine. However, Russia does not share such belief, continuing to fill the territory beyond Kyiv’s control with military equipment and weapons, having already brought the local stocks to the volumes exceeding those of many armies of NATO member states.
Meanwhile, it was no wonder that Ukraine’s overseas partners bound the allocation of the $1 billion loan guarantees with the formation of a new Cabinet. However, $335 million will be allocated unconditionally – for boosting up the country’s defenses. Well, we shouldn’t assume that one condition was earlier clearly voiced by U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt – to see an independent and effective Prosecutor General appointed instead of Viktor Shokin, should we?
Both the resonant editorial in The New York Times and Panamapapers megaleak are unlikely to have given any pleasant moments to Petro Poroshenko. On the other hand, neither the publication in one of the world's most influential newspapers, nor the investigation on the offshore companies actually contain charges that could lead to any legal consequences for the Ukrainian president. The only thing we can be certain about is that Ukraine’s partners from overseas are ever more eager to see the fruits of reform, of which the Ukrainian authorities are so keen talking about. And they wish to listen no more to the president’s new arguments on the lack of real authority.
It is not yet known whether the dismissal of Viktor Shokin, to which the parliament gave consent with certain exaltation, will lead to serious change. Shokin has walked his path from winning a constitutional majority when nominated for the post to being blackmarked in just 13 months. He even survived a rather weird attempt on his life right at the office, while failing to become a disaster for the former members of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions and today’s corrupt officials. But Shokin managed to slam the door when being sacked: he dismissed one of his deputies, Georgia-born Davit Sakvarelidze, which, oddly enough, has kept the latter in the list of Shokin’s potential successors – the list that is today a reflection of differently oriented political interests.
It shouldn’t be ruled out that the post of a prosecutor general will be one of the components of bargaining for the creation of a parliamentary coalition. The fact of the destruction of the current "European Ukraine" coalition is universally recognized today, and the largest parliamentary factions have launched the negotiation process. Yulia Tymoshenko, who initially tried to play a constructive role, chose an elegant play with her electorate, who is a target group of “five principles” promulgated by the leader of Batkivshchyna as a precondition for her entry into the coalition. Tymoshenko refused to create a parliamentary majority in the new format in advance. Yearning for the negotiation process, the representatives of BPP and the Popular Front not only began consultations on the composition of the future government, but started campaigning among the restless souls of independent MPs. Three of the former members of Samopomich faction have already agreed to join the BPP, and if the trend continues, the “coalition of two” will actually shape up in the first ten days of April. At least, that’s what the Presidential Administration has been working on, along with Verkhovna Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groysman, who will have to distance himself from the president to perfect his political maneuver.