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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

Ministers “suspended” for two weeks

21 November, 2006 - 00:00
BORYS TARASIUK IS CONVINCED THAT THE QUESTION OF DISMISSING MINISTERS APPOINTED UNDER THE PRESIDENT’S QUOTA SHOULD BE RESOLVED BY THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. BUT THINGS MAY NOT REACH THIS POINT. SOME EXPERTS THINK THAT THE MINISTERS WILL BECOME AN OBJECT OF BARTERING. NEXT UP ARE THE BUDGET ADOPTION AND THE PRIME MINISTER’S VISIT TO THE US / Photo by Leonid BAKKA, The Day

The three-hour report by Minister of Foreign Affairs Borys Tarasiuk and Minister of Defense Anatolii Hrytsenko ended with a two-week pause during which Ukraine’s parliamentarians will assess their work. According to parliamentary vice-speaker Adam Martyniuk, the profile committees should submit resolutions with their corresponding conclusions about Tarasiuk and Hrytsenko’s work during the plenary week of Nov. 28 — Dec.1. “We will pass a resolution according to these conclusions,” Martyniuk said.

What is the reason for this two-week pause? Our Ukraine member Roman Zvarych thinks that the president publicly interceded for his ministers, claiming the parliamentarians didn’t dare. “When the Verkhovna Rada hands down a decision contrary to the president’s public stand, one must speak here about certain political relations between the president and the VR.” He added: “It is difficult for me to assess the anticrisis coalition members, who to this day cannot dismiss the ministers who have already resigned.”

Another member of Our Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was in a good mood and joking non-stop. He has not rejected the possibility that in two weeks’ time the anticrisis coalition “will want to listen to something else. I would advise them to listen to jazz. It is more effective for raising the cultural level,” he said.

But the Regionals were not in a laughing mood. They had to find an explanation for their “consistent” policy. The leader of the Party of Regions fraction, Raisa Bohatyriova, told journalists that Tarasiuk and Hrytsenko were not dismissed in view of the cooperation between the president and parliament. “Our actions are aimed at placing all the rational things that we have now into the foundation of cooperation with the president and the political force that supports him, with the goal of expanding the coalition,” she declared.

Bohatyriova admitted that despite “the sharp discussions in the hall,” the Verkhovna Rada wants to give the profile committees a chance “to hold discussions within the committees and prepare drafts of decisions on these questions.”

Admittedly, there is a grain of truth in Bohatyriova’s words. Tarasiuk and Hrytsenko are not the key figures in this story, but only an instrument for putting pressure on the president. “The coalition gave the president one more chance to consider whether he will agree to collaborate constructively,” political scientist Kost Bondarenko told The Day.

However, it looks as though Viktor Yanukovych does not want to turn the cold war between the Cabinet of Ministers and the Presidential Secretariat into a “hot” one. It is no secret that some political forces are already working on the possibility of holding extraordinary parliamentary elections. This is a completely real scenario if the “prime minister-president” conflict reaches a peak. An election campaign mood clearly sounded in the ministers’ speeches.

It is not inconceivable that the public repentance of the foreign minister made an impact on Yanukovych. The First National Channel broadcast Tarasiuk as saying that it was the fault of the protocol services of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the meeting between Prime Minister Yanukovych and General Secretary of the Council of Europe Terry Davis did not take place.

“I can only apologize to the prime minister, but it is the fault of both the government’s protocol services and those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Tarasiuk said. Commenting on Yanukovych’s statement describing him as an irresponsible person, Tarasiuk pointed out that he categorically objects to this statement: “I would like to say that there have never been any complaints about me before.”

In any case, Hrytsenko and Tarasiuk’s fate will be decided in two weeks, and many things may change in Ukrainian politics during this period. In this situation, one would like to believe the president’s words that Ukraine’s foreign course remains unchanged. But what kind of guaranties can the Guarantor give?

By Olha YAKHNO, The Day

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