From King maker to Prime Minister to……..? TigipkoAugust 17, 2011
Way back during the presidential election campaign of 2009/10, I tipped Sergey Tigipko to become king maker between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko. I turns out I was right which makes this read rather well now (in prediction if not grammar).
Since that time, Mr Tigipko has joined the PoR government as a coalition partner with his Strong Ukraine party as Deputy Prime Minister. To his credit, he has criticised both some PoR policy and the entire parliament publicly on numerous occasions when they have failed to live up to international obligations to the IMF.
He has also, very wisely, said nothing publicly about the on-going circus surrounding Ms Tymoshenko and related court proceedings.
However, he has no decided to amalgamate/merge his Strong Ukraine party (which collected 13% of the vote at the presidential elections) with PoR rather than be a coalition partner with them.
Now of course that will severely dent any hope of standing in the next Presidential election in 2015 independently, particularly as Yanukovych will stand for reelection and get the PoR backing.
However, October 2012 is the parliamentary elections which even in a free and fair environment and no shenanigans look likely (as of today) to return a PoR majority, albeit somewhat reduced.
When Prime Minister Azarov took on that position, it was a poorly kept secret that PoR anticipated him being a safe pair of hands during the economic situation but either before or after the 2012 elections, he would stand down from the post to allow for a more dynamic and possibly reformist, candidate.
Quite frankly, he was the suitable grey and uninspiring Prime Minister needed for economic turmoil but not the face to launch a determined reform agenda with the ability to sell it to the public.
Tigipko is certainly the latter and no slouch in the economics arena either. He once headed the National Bank of Ukraine and has been the key man in IMF negotiation.
Now, looking at time lines, a six or seven year stint at Prime Minister, allowing for Yanukovych to serve two terms as President, would give him an ideal platform to turn from king maker to Prime Minister to President in the space of 10 years.
So, my next prediction following my success as nominating him king maker, is that he will become Prime Minister of Ukraine sometime between October 2012 and January 2014. Probably sooner rather than later.
It is far too soon to confidently speculate further but it would be worth a small bet on him becoming President by 2021.