A few weeks ago when commenting upon the long anticipated/expected assimilation of UDAR and National Front into the Solidarity Party, this paragraphs appeared – “Entering into 2016, and the much anticipated early Rada elections may become far more questionable. UDAR and the National Front will have ceased to exist and Solidarity will be the dominant Rada party. Batkivshchyna and The Radical Party will be nothing more than a populist fringe whose alliance is no longer required. Their sensibilities far less important than previously.”
With assimilations well under way, how does the rest of that paragraph stand up?
Yesterday Oleh Lyashko announced the Radical Party were leaving to ruling coalition – thus in doing so Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine Valerii Voshchevskyi resigned from his post, and three Rada committee chairs also were withdrawn from the Radical Party.
The Radical Party has indeed move itself to the realms of a populist fringe – and to be blunt its alliance is not required for the daily functioning of the majority coalition in the Rada. It was never really needed, but “inclusiveness” and some sway over volunteer battalions when the coalition was formed, then made sense to invite it into the coalition.
In leaving the majority coalition the theoretical constitutional majority held by the 5 parties of 302 is now reduced to 286. Thus the 226 majority for daily functioning of the legislature in the Rada is in no way effected.
The constitutional majority is clearly theoretical as very recent votes have shown.
Indeed Batkivshchyna, the Radical Party and Samopomich all voted against Bill №2217a “On Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine (concerning the decentralization of power) which as yesterday’s entry makes clear, despite the squawking of the chattering classes, the 300 (or more) votes to amend the constitution per that Bill simply aren’t there – positions or circumstance will need to change to secure such a vote.
So why then would an ultra-ego and ultra-populist (to rival Ms Tymoshenko in her prime), decide to leave the majority coalition that provided both a reliable political stage and political power?
A populist girly hissy fit after Bill №2217a successfully passed through the Rada on a reading that required a simply majority – a simple majority that was always going to be found? Surely not. Oleh Lyashko and the Radical Party are very well aware the Bill eventually needs to find 300 (or more) votes, which seems exceptionally unlikely unless Samopomich changes its position.
If Samopomich does change its position, then Batkivshchyna and the Radical Party don’t really matter in the voting numbers when the Opposition Block will vote for the amendments.
In short, neither Batkicshchyna nor the Radical Party are big enough to carry Bill №2217a over the line, or defeat it alone. Samopomich is the key.
There seems to be no major gains for the Radical Party regarding voters in the local elections from leaving the majority coalition either.
The answer then is perhaps one of preemptive framing?
Over the past few months several criminal investigations have begun regarding some of those within the Radical Party.
What to do?
To accept that these investigations will probably lead to court cases and successful prosecutions is to admit, and be forced to deal with, nefariousness and criminality within the party ranks – which although presenting a “cleansing” spin if disavowing your own early enough – does not sit well with a populist with an ego the size of Oleh Lyashko.
With Mr Lyashko you are either for him, or you are against him – and if you are against him you are an enemy of “the people” by extension.
Therefore when that is the mentality of the ego that leads the party, with investigations on-going into the party, it is necessary to turn the coalition majority “against him” in the eyes of “the people” – and that can only be done by leaving it.
Having left the majority coalition, the on-going investigations will suddenly be framed as “political persecution” and “revenge” for “splitting the coalition”.
Bellicose appeals to the nationalist swivel-eyed loons to prevent such an “injustice” and stand against “political persecution” will be a logical progression. Calls to the Europeans to witness such “political persecution” and requests to pressure the “regime” to stop the “politically motivated investigations” will be made. Demands of the media made to galvanise and mobilse the public in “defence of democracy”.
It appears that yet another, possibly violent, challenge to the rule of law is being engineered by those populists who profess to want to bring the rule of law to Ukraine.
The results of the decision of the Radical Party to leave the coalition will have little effect within the Rada with regard to legislative outcomes (although more scuffles and rostrum blocking now seem likely). The effects of this decision if matters will be framed as outlined above, are likely to be felt elsewhere.
That said, Mr Lyashko leading the Radical Party out of the coalition and into the irrelevant political fringe voluntarily is perhaps no bad thing – regardless.
Anyway, the changing political landscape within the majority coalition continues to progress along the expected route as forecast here long, long ago.