MPs held a successful vote on June 19. After President Poroshenko presented to the chamber his nominees for heads of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), and the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), a majority of MPs voted to appoint them. The newly appointed officials were former first deputy prime minister in the Cabinet of Arsenii Yatseniuk Vitalii Yarema, who became prosecutor-general; former Ambassador of Ukraine in Germany Pavlo Klimkin, now foreign minister; and former chairman of the board of directors of the Investment Capital Ukraine group Valeria Hontareva, the first woman to hold the position of the NBU head. “If only our votes were always this smooth!” the parliament’s speaker Oleksandr Turchynov sighed with relief.
However, MPs arrived to what seemed to be easy and productive votes after some very hard talks. For example, a meeting of the Batkivshchyna faction, held late on June 18, resolved, according to The Day’s sources, to withhold support from the presidential decree on the dismissal of Stepan Kubiv as head of the NBU and the appointment of Hontareva in his place. “We will vote for all the other candidates presented by Poroshenko, without any doubt. There is no even theoretical discussion on that issue,” an MP present at the meeting and being also a close associate of Yulia Tymoshenko maintained in a private conversation with The Day at the meeting’s start.
PRIME MINISTER YATSENIUK CAME TO THE PARLIAMENT ON JUNE 19 AS WELL. BESIDES PRESENTING THE CABINET’S BILL ON DECLARING A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY, YATSENIUK WAS ALSO PRESENT DURING VOTES ON PERSONAL CHANGES. HE NOW HAS A VACANT SEAT OF THE FIRST VICE PRIME MINISTER IN HIS CABINET
However, the faction’s position transformed closer to lunchtime. At an emergency meeting of Batkivshchyna which took place directly in the assembly hall, a majority of its MPs supported the “free” vote on the new head of the National Bank. As a result, the faction split on the issue.
Ambiguity arose over the dismissal of former minister of foreign affairs Andrii Deshchytsia. Svoboda MPs took a consolidated and principled stance on inappropriateness of his replacement. “Deshchytsia does not deserve dismissal, while Klimkin does not deserve appointment,” Svoboda MP Oleh Pankevych posted on Facebook. As a result, all 35 representatives of this political force voted against Deshchytsia’s dismissal and asked the speaker to make the vote’s results public via electronic scoreboard.
“IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL: THEY CAVED IN TO THE PRESIDENT, SHOWING THEIR FULL SUPPORT FOR HIM, BUT THINKING ONLY ABOUT WAYS TO CHEAT HIM AND THE PUBLIC AND KEEP THEMSELVES IN THE PARLIAMENT,” INDEPENDENT MP INNA BOHOSLOVSKA POSTED ON FACEBOOK
“Most of all, it is an attempt to make some good PR for the party,” political analyst Mykhailo Basarab told The Day. “After the last presidential election, Svoboda is in a deplorable situation, as its leader received a crushingly low support. This can be considered a failure of the party.” That is why, in his opinion, the political force is now active on every legislative issue and in the media. “Given the fact that after Deshchytsia’s performance of the famous song about Vladimir Putin he has become a most popular official among the Ukrainian public, I consider Svoboda’s actions to be a result of pragmatic calculation and desire to bask in the sun of Deshchytsia’s transient glory,” Basarab said.
In general, MPs took well to personal changes in the three departments under the control of the president. “The Verkhovna Rada supported the presidential nominees for heads of the MFA, the NBU and the PGO of Ukraine to avoid taking responsibility and to be able to demand an explanation when something goes wrong,” Basarab explained the MPs’ motivation for The Day.
IT WAS A GOOD PARTY FOR PRESIDENT, EVEN THOUGH IT SEEMED ON THE EVE OF THE VOTE THAT THERE WOULD BE PROBLEMS WITH YAREMA’S APPOINTMENT. THE LATTER HAD NO EXPERIENCE IN THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE. “UNDER PREVAILING CONDITIONS, LACK OF PROSECUTORIAL SERVICE RECORD IS AN ADVANTAGE RATHER THAN A DISADVANTAGE,” POROSHENKO EXPLAINED HIS CHOICE TO THE MPS
Meanwhile, appointment of a new head of the Ministry of Defense is still an open question. Both experts and politicians believe that Poroshenko had to present his candidate for this position to the parliament in the first place. “The office of the minister of defense ought to be occupied long ago,” Batkivshchyna MP Andrii Pavlovsky remarked.
Why is the president so slow take action? “Maybe, those who Poroshenko would like to see in this position do not agree to it for some reason, or agree, but set certain conditions unacceptable to Poroshenko,” political analyst Basarab suggested.