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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Fighting at a wrong frontline

Tymoshenko and Yanukovych getting ready for legal action and inauguration, respectively
16 February, 2010 - 00:00
Photo by Mykola LAZARENKO

Last Sunday the Central Election Commission (CEC) hastily proclaimed Viktor Yanukovych president. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko had said The Day before that she would never accept this. She believes she was robbed of a million votes and promises to challenge the CEC decision in court.

Journalists would persistently ask Ms. Tymoshenko shortly before the elections what plan of actions she had in case she was defeated. The premier would answer passionately that there was only “Plan A,” i.e., victory. This seems to be true, for the BYuT is now having big problems about “Plan B.”

Tymoshenko’s followers expected her to spell out, after a long pause, a clear and pragmatic plan of actions. Instead, the premier discouraged them with her irrationality. “I was and still remain with you,” Ms. Tymoshenko assured Ukrainians. This raises the question: in what capacity and in what way?

It is at the least naive to think that there is any prospect of a third round. Besides the West has already recognized Yanukovych as president-elect.

Mr. Yanukovych has already received congratulations from Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and Gordon Brown. Yesterday the President of Russia congratulated him for a second time. Against this background, the premier’s stubbornness looks unserious, to put it mildly.

Many experts believe that, by refusing to accept the reality, Tymoshenko may end up in a deadlock. On the other hand, MP Taras Chornovil believes that the situation is ambiguous: Tymoshenko is doing everything right in essence but wrong in form.

“The [election] campaign was based on the ‘black and white’ principle. Under these circumstances, shaking hands would be in the style of any other country, but Ukrainian politicians have not learned to do so,” the MP told The Day. Meanwhile, Viktor Yanukovych is getting ready for inauguration. Anna Herman forecasts that this ceremony will be held after February 23. “It would be perhaps not very polite to do this before the current president’s birthday,” she noted in a Radio Liberty interview. Volodymyr Lytvyn also wants to “crown” Mr. Yanukovych as soon as possible and names February 25 as a likely date. Incidentally, the date of Yanukovych’s inauguration is the first item on the agenda of today’s Verkhovna Rada session.

Actually, it is an established world practice to invite the diplomatic corps and foreign guests to the inauguration. Such things presuppose a little different system of preparation. Earlier, the date of March 25 was under discussion: the “uproar of the court battles” will have been over. But the Party of Regions must have decided to hurry up. The 2004 Syndrome seems to be really getting under their skin.

In the meantime, experts are advising Ms. Tymoshenko to seek mutual understanding with Lytvyn and Our Ukraine. Only in this way will she manage to preserve the balance of power in Ukraine, keep her faction from being “washed down” and herself from being ejected from the top league of Ukrainian politics.

In reality, should negotiations between Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions end in a fiasco, Tymoshenko will remain a full-fledged or acting premier for a long time – at least until the next, perhaps early, parliamentary elections. And, under the current Constitution, the premier wields more authority than the president. So she has not yet lost everything.

By Olena YAKHNO, The Day