Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 126

Communist leader Petro Symonenko yesterday again fell short of winning the powerful post of chairman of parliament. Receiving only 207 votes, a slight slippage from his previous showing, he needed 226 for victory in the 450-seat chamber. The anticommunist coalition, comprised mainly of pro-presidential and national-democratic parties, boycotted yesterday’s voting, which was the sixteenth by most counts. (Ukrainian agencies, June 30)

The deadlock illustrates the precarious balance of forces in the new Ukrainian parliament. Its leftist side is comprised of 121 Communist deputies, 35 deputies of the Socialist and Peasant parties (the two form a common parliamentary group) and 15 Progressive Socialist deputies, for a total of 171.

The opposite side consists of ninety-one deputies of the pro-presidential People’s Democratic Party (the “party of government”), twenty-seven of the United Social-Democrat Party, twenty-five of the Greens and forty-seven of the Ukrainian Popular Movement–Rukh, the main national-democratic force. This ad-hoc coalition of centrist and rightist parties holds 189 seats. The PDP, USDP and Rukh seem at least for the time being to have buried old mutual grievances to present a common front against the left. This coalition, moreover, can count on some additional votes from small rightist groups and unaffiliated deputies. It can fairly clearly outvote the left, though falling short of the absolute majority. Nine parliamentary seats are still vacant. (UNIAN, June 22 and 29)

To the Communists’ rescue comes the Hromada party of former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, which holds forty-four seats. Lazarenko is a personal rival of Kuchma and tends to make common cause with the left against the president. Lazarenko and some associates were widely considered to epitomize official corruption while in government. Hromada is a narrowly based regional party, having won almost all of its seats in Dnipropetrovsk region, where Lazarenko heads the elective post of head of the regional administration, and his business empire holds sway. That factor enabled Hromada’s slate to pass, if only barely, the 4 percent electoral threshold and enter parliament, helping the left to hold the reforms hostage.