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24 September 2017
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Opinion"Update" without reform

A long-awaited resignation of Arseniy Yatsenyuk from a prime minister’s post takes the issue of creation of a new coalition from the framework of under-the-table arrangements into a public plane. And it also makes us figure out more thoroughly the developments around the potential coalition agreement.

After the "forever Kamikaze" Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that on Tuesday, April 12, he expects some "good news" from Parliament on the formation of a new coalition, which, in turn, will submit to the president its candidate for a prime minister’s post to replace Yatsenyuk. The president also hinted that there is in fact no other parliament, so possible early elections of the MPs will not make the Rada better. "In this situation, we must ensure that Parliament has fulfilled its tasks, the commitments they took upon themselves when signing the coalition agreement, and completed the process of reform..." he said.

However, the usual reshuffle of ministerial chairs is unlikely to add anything constructive to the Rada’s routine. After all, while there were two potential nominees for the Kamikaze chair back in February – Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko and Rada Speaker Volodymyr Groysman – only one remained by April. And while Yatsenyuk reflected whether he should resign, the number of factions wishing to take part of responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine has decreased significantly.

That is, unlike the beginning of the current Parliament session, when a potential new prime minister (regardless of the name) could rely on four or five  factions willing to reformat the coalition in exchange for a series of political concessions, today there are only two left – the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko and the Popular Front. The remaining fraction, representing two years of pathetic coalition "European Ukraine", bet on the popularity that they can provide an unofficial status of the opposition.

The usual reshuffle of ministerial chairs is unlikely to add anything constructive to the Rada’s routine

Interestingly enough, neither the pro-presidential faction, nor the Parliament as a whole, prefer to focus on the fact that the initiators of this political crisis are in fact, the president’s allies. But when snap elections started looming over the horizon, and Western partners have expressed dissatisfaction with the snail's pace of reform (blame for this state of affairs not only the Cabinet, but also the Verkhovna Rada), it is not surprising that it was the BPP which has become the backbone of a new coalition preserving visibility of Parliament’s activity.

Another question is the quality of such activity. Recklessly criticizing the Cabinet, faction leaders shunned from the subject of a coalition agreement, as the Rada is fully responsible for its failure, in the first place. Over the past one and a half year, the agreement was fulfilled less than by 50%, and now the MPs want to use it as a blueprint for a new coalition deal. The deputies claim that over the said period, they’ve become convinced that no deal is effective if drafted in a form of a declaration. Instead, they believe the agreement should set specific deadlines for certain measures to be taken, as well as stipulate responsibility for delaying reform.

It all looks a bit weird given the fact that the deadlines in the previous agreement for the adoption of certain laws were indicated clearly enough. Another thing is that the MPs never had time to pass necessary changes.

President’s Representative to the Verkhovna Rada Stepan Kubiv noted that the Head of State insisted on faster approval of the judiciary reform.

For example, the adoption of an updated law On Civil Service has been scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2014. In fact, the law has been voted a year later – in December 2015. Besides, it will only enter into force in May 2016... Or take a notorious electoral code (providing for the open party lists and majority electoral system), the adoption of which was scheduled in coalition agreement for the first quarter of 2015. As we know, the coalition has failed to keep its promise to assess the electoral legislation and finally set the clear rules of the game for all kinds of elections – starting from those to the local councils and to the presidential elections. And now, the Parliament once again promises to get back to this issue, but within the new coalition agreement.

... Today, President’s Representative to the Verkhovna Rada Stepan Kubiv noted that the Head of State insisted on the faster approval of the judiciary reform (in the previous coalition agreement, the key innovations in this area should appear in Q2 2015), the anti-corruption reform (in 2014 it was planned that its introduction may be delayed until the Q2 of 2016, but, for example, "the elimination of corruption schemes in the public sector" should be "continuous"), as well as the constitutional reform of government decentralization (planned "in 2015"). Given these facts, there is little confidence in Parliament, with a much thinner coalition, fulfilling its vows given, in fact, two years ago, either the composition of the Cabinet is changed for this purpose, or not.

Tatiana Urbanskaya

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