The politics of shadow politics – Discord within the opposition again

July 11, 2013

When you have a formal coalition comprised of three opposition parties – Batkivshchyna, Svoboda and UDAR – all off which are working toward the same goal – namely  installing one amongst their number as the next president, and thereafter replacing the current government at the earliest legal and democratic opportunity –  you have a short/medium term plan, I think most people would agree.

Unfortunately, as has be written about already – several times – the strategy to achieve that plan as far as the presidency goes, is quite divided when it comes to a single or multiple opposition candidates in the first round of the elections – both strategies having significant supporters and detractors.

However, politics in Ukraine is not just about the presidency – although you would be forgiven for thinking so considering the fact it is almost all the opposition parties want to talk about.

There is of course, the actual government.  The cabinet of ministers and the RADA itself.

This subject would appear to be a simmering bone of contention amongst the opposition ranks, one that they are trying to keep from the public eye – unsurprisingly.

We are, after all, talking about who will take the choice roles within any future Cabinet of Ministers to massage the egos of those unsuccessful in becoming president – and their lieutenants – but must be necessarily mollycoddled to hold the opposition coalition together in power.

Batkivshchnya have long had a shadow government/cabinet, theoretically up to speed on their ruling majority counterpart, hopefully  crafting policy for when they get into power, and making sustained efforts at achieving some for of public accountability within their area of reference in the shadow cabinet/government   – quite rightly.

Batkivshchyna feathers therein though are now quite ruffled, according to a friend of mine within Batkivshchyna – especially amongst those who favour the single candidate, single team strategy.

It would appear that Svoboda have now decided that they too will form a shadow government/cabinet, led by Alexasander Sych – a fact I am trying to confirm from those I know inside the Svoboda machine, but do not doubt the information from within Batkivshchyna.

I have to say, due to the obvious splits within the opposition coalition that will undoubtedly get a very public airing after the presidential election, if not during it, Svoboda are doing the right thing – for Svoboda at least – even if it is bringing yet more tension within the coalition.

When the opposition cannot agree on the single or multiple candidate strategy for the presidential elections – and let’s be quite honest, despite the single candidate tactic still bing publicly muted by opposition leaders, there are so many egos that they will have a multiple candidate race, as one will not stand aside for another – any grubby little deals muted about who will get what role in any opposition government should be taken with a grain of salt in similar manner.

As such, any promised positions in any future government are likely to change – and thus it will serve Svoboda, just as it does Batkivshchyna, to have a shadow government/cabinet to prepare their people for executive office across the entire spectrum of national government, as they simply won’t know what they will actually get when the spoils of success are divided.  All they can be sure of is that their hierarchy will get just enough to warrant them remaining loyal to the coalition when in power – but no more.

UDAR, as far as I am aware, have no “official” shadow government/cabinet unlike Batkivshchyna and now Svodboda – I will check with them.  If not, as and when it eventually follows suit, yet more Batkivshchyna feathers will ruffle.

It seems the supporters of a single opposition presidential candidate and a single supporting team behind them, comprised across the coalition party lines, are going to be disappointed in the very near future.

A little further down the line, it seems those same supporters who would advocate a single coalition multi-party shadow government/cabinet in preparation for RADA victory, can now kiss that strategy goodbye as well.

Even disregarding the stark ideological differences between the coalition of opposition parties, the evermore entrenched divisions over strategy amongst their party members and parties leaders,  there remains an apparently insurmountable problem with trust – from top to bottom.

No relationship can perform to its maximum ability without trust.  Most simply break down, or become so coercive in their efforts to hold it together, they cease to be what they set out to be.

Much of the opposition have been in such a dysfunctional relationship before when in power – and it seems lessons are still to be learned from that experience.

Perhaps trust will be more forthcoming after the presidential elections – win or lose –  I certainly hope so, but a marriage of convenience with robust ideological differences seems unlikely last the test of time.

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