Leftists in the Ukrainian parliament, continuing their offensive against Premier Valery Pustovoytenko, have persuaded the country’s legislature to consider dismissing the government. On June 3, the parliament–by 242 votes to 8–decided to “consider the government’s responsibility for the social and economic situation” on June 16–in other words, a no-confidence motion. This vote was initiated by the communist faction, the most bitter opponent of Pustovoytenko and President Leonid Kuchma. Communist leader Petro Symonenko and his allies–Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz and Speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko–do not conceal that the actual reason for their current strong dissatisfaction with the government is not its poor economic performance, but Pustovoytenko’s active participation in the electoral campaign on behalf of Kuchma. Pustovoytenko, they claim, abuses his post by constraining regional authorities to raise money for Kuchma’s run-up to a second term in office, and illegally finances the Zlahoda union which he chairs–the main vehicle of Kuchma’s campaign–from state coffers. In line with this, the parliament yesterday approved the first reading of a law forbidding the government to change the state budget without prior consent from the lawmakers.
The “red” opposition is currently a minority in the parliament, and, to all appearances, will hardly achieve its goal. Numerous representatives of the center and center-right factions, commenting yesterday in the media on the possibility of the government ouster, were unanimous in a conviction that the leftist offensive will not find wide support among other factions. Pustovoytenko’s dismissal would only destabilize the economic situation and boost the protest electorate, from which only leftist presidential aspirants may profit (Ukrainian television and agencies, June 3; see the Monitor, June 3).–OV
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