The necessary end to personality politics – UkraineFebruary 23, 2014
I am going to allow myself to fast-forward past the next few days and weeks of flux and uncertainty in Ukraine – past lazy western media clichés, past self-praise by external actors over the outcomes of which they have been little more than bit-part players, oft far too late in their actions.
I will look past Constitutional issues, past whether the opposition parties will retain a unity – or even friendly terms – once their common cause has left the political scene.
Instead there is a need to look toward the necessary end to personality politics in Ukraine.
Many times I have written about the need to consign both President Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko to the political rubbish bin/history books of Ukraine.
Quite simply no politician can be allowed to become more powerful than the party they are part of. A political party must control the ego and ambition of its leaders – particularly so when they are in power.
It was the downfall of Ms Tymoshenko and ultimately the downfall of this President, that neither of their respective parties managed to control either of them.
Needless to say, that whilst I have no issues with the release of Ms Tymoshenko (probably some time today) – guilty or not, her trial was flawed and her 7 year sentence unquestionably disproportionate – her return to political life, considering she has the biggest ego in Ukraine, is not to be relished. Her time has passed whether she knows it or not.
A distinct and uncompromising move toward party policy, ideology, collective responsibility and accountability is required across the entire political spectrum – less of a journey perhaps for Svoboda and the Communists who are the only political parties with an identifiable ideology, though neither will have a majority constituency amongst the Ukrainian electorate in the near future. Lesser coalition partners remains their foreseeable future.
Perhaps Ms Tymoshenko will be persuaded to forget running the country either as President or Prime Minister by the current opposition leaders. Perhaps wise heads within the European Peoples Party will convince her. I doubt either can quell her ego though.
It maybe that it will be left for the voting Ukrainian public to return such verdict in a far more embarrassing manner than is really necessary – perhaps that is the most appropriate and democratic way – though it is surely not the most gracious.
A Ukraine that looks forward needs leaders – plural – who can work honestly and transparently together despite differences as a political class, and across party lines. That requirement simply removes Ms Tymoshenko from any workable political leadership equation, unless she undergoes a personality transplant as well as treatment for her medical condition when she eventually reaches Germany.
However consider that from amongst all those reasonable candidates for RADA Speaker today – following the resignation of Rybak from the position – Turchinov, closest of allies to Ms Tymoshenko, has been chosen as his successor. You are left to wonder whether the opposition – particularly Batkivshchyna – are aware of what really needs to happen across the broad political landscape of Ukraine.