IS A RADA MAJORITY VIABLE?
Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 15
The Verkhovna Rada, which has been a hindrance to important market-oriented legislation in Ukraine, may no longer be so if the pro-presidential center-right majority within it, a goal established on January 13, endures. This majority originally included 237 people’s deputies in the 445-member body, representing the following factions: Motherland, Regional Revival, Hromada, People’s Democrats, United Social Democrats (USDP), the two Rukhs, the Green Party, Reforms-Congress, Labor Ukraine and the Independents. On January 15, the majority’s informal leader, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, announced that its ranks have grown to 247.
With the creation of such a majority, Rada chairman and leftist-leaning Peasant Party member Oleksandr Tkachenko and his Communist first deputy Adam Martynyuk face the prospect of being ousted. The majority, backed by President Kuchma, wants to get all the leading positions in the Rada, including chairmanships in those standing committees now controlled by the leftists. Kravchuk, Ivan Plyushch (the parliamentary chairman in 1991-1994), and Deputy Speaker Viktor Medvedchuk of the USDP are the three most probable candidates to replace Tkachenko.
Before the majority was formally established, the groups comprising it had been instrumental in the Rada’s endorsing liberal Premier Viktor Yushchenko (see the Monitor, January 12). If the majority endures, Yushchenko’s government is likely to encounter fewer problems than the previous Ukrainian governments in its dealings with the Rada. Most analysts and the leftist leaders, however, believe that this majority is “situational” because a majority consisting of so many small factions representing various and often rival interests is hardly viable. Mykola Tomenko, the director of the Kyiv-based Institute of Politics, forecast that the majority will last only through the spring, and this is one of the more optimistic qualified opinions. One of the majority leaders, Kuchma’s aide Oleksandr Volkov–who has done much to prepare a referendum to dissolve the current parliament (see previous story)–is very skeptical about the majority’s ability to work well as a team. Kuchma’s decree for a constitutional referendum has demonstrated that the president also has little hopes for the survival of his majority (see the Monitor, November 30, 1999; Uryadovy kuryer, January 12; UNIAN, January 13; UT-1, Segodnya, Ukraina moloda, January 14).
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