Reportedly, talks on forming an ‘Orange’ coalition in Ukraine are at an impasse, and Our Ukraine, the parliamentary bloc of President Viktor Yushchenko, is calling for all-party talks on a government of national unity that would include the Party of Regions, led by Viktor Yanukovych.
Is this posturing by OU? Or is it a real breakdown?
I would not read too much into this alleged break off of talks within the Orange camp. It has always been the case since the election that Our Ukraine is pivotal, and pivotal parties always play one side off against another to extract the maximum from their prospective partners.
In the end, perhaps OU will go with Regions. That need not be such a bad thing, nor need it last a full term.
But this could just be a step towards getting a better deal from Yulia Tymoshenko and the Socialist leader, Moroz. The latter, in particular is not pivotal, and thus really is in no position to be making big demands (such as that he be parliament speaker), unless he is prepared to sit in the opposition. Does he have a sufficiently cohesive and policy-oriented party to survive in the next election if he is without access to power in the interim? Count me skeptical!
It is clear that (as I have noted previously) the constitutional changes made neither the president nor the leading party in parliament (i.e. Regions) the prime mover in forming a government. However, they did tend to give a small party like the Socialists more leverage than if an explicit majority were not required to propose a prime minister (i.e., than if it were possible for either the president or a parliamentary bloc to propose a minority cabinet).
It is therefore true that Moroz’s Orange partners can’t form a coalition without him. But it is just as true that he can’t realistically be in government without them.*
I have covered this story extensively since last summer. Click on “Ukraine” above to see all the posts together.
h/t on this latest turn to Democracy Rising.
See further background at RFE/RL. The story indicates that several local councils in the east have passed (apparently unconstitutional) resolutions making Russian a second official language and that there have been anti-NATO protests in Crimea in advance of a scheduled–but not yet approved by parliament–visit by a US warship.
* UPDATE: Moroz subsequently dropped his demand for the speakership, and said that the Orange parties should divide portfolios (i.e. cabinet and legislative leadership positions, as well as centrally appointed local officials) proportionally. (H/t: Orange Ukraine.)