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A new Cabinet of Ministers by 15th March?

March 4, 2016

Rumour has it that on or before the 15th March a new Cabinet of Ministers will have been formed and the horse-trading, shuffling behind the curtain, and sorcery of the party “Grey Cardinals/High Chamberlains” will have concluded.

Those rumours include the replacement of Prime Minister Yatseniuk, whether he voluntarily resign or is subjected to a personal vote of “no confidence”, his government having collectively only last week surviving a collective vote of “no confidence”.

Whether he would survive a personal vote of “no confidence” we will soon see – but it seems unlikely.

Tipped to replace him is the current Finance Minister Natalia Jaresko.

For regular readers of this blog with a reasonable memory, this should come as no surprise.

On 26th October 2015, when it was already clear Mr Yatseniuk’s days in office were numbered, this blog stated – “To be blunt, Ms Jaresko would be the only realistic possibility that could gather a domestic political consensus and also enjoy the support of friendly external supporters and donors in a change of Cabinet (rather than elections) – but is she interested?  She would probably take the role out of a sense of obligation to Ukraine to avoid internal implosion, but that does not equate to wanting the role.  Notwithstanding a serious corruption fumble between now and any ouster/resignation of PM Yatseniuk, she is perhaps the only “consensus alternative.”

This blog also predicted early Verkhovna Rada elections before the year end 2016 too – immediately after the October 2014 Verkhovna Rada elections – That prediction was based solely upon the fact that almost every single parliament Ukraine has had since independence in 1991, has effectively ceased to function within 2 years of election.

VR

Whether a reformatted Cabinet of Ministers and a Prime Minister Jaresko will change that prediction will very much depend upon the Cabinet composition that is forthcoming and the desires of those behind the Ukrainian political curtain.  That it will prevent early Verkhovna Rada elections at some point is very unlikely, but the timing of such may change.

A Prime Minister Jaresko and new Cabinet may manage to see Ukraine through the UK Brexit referendum (and therefore perhaps a more outward looking UK on the other side), a new incoming US President, and elections in both Germany and France in 2017 with their respective outcomes.  For the powers before and behind the Ukrainian political curtain, these events, with the removal of PM Yatseniuk and several ministers, may be enough to reconsider the almost inevitable early Verkhovna Rada election time frame predicted almost for this Autumn almost 2 years ago – or not.

It is rumoured that Boris Lozhkin, and Dmitry Shymkiv, both currently Head and Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration respectively, will become Deputy Prime Ministers, and that the current Deputy Economy Minister Yulia Kuznetsova will become Energy Minister.  If true a reasonable start, and far from the worst of possible suggested Cabinet reshuffles.  Other names will be undoubtedly “leaked” over the coming days/week.  Your author will know more on Sunday.

Nevertheless, regardless of any subsequent Cabinet composition or new PM, whatever policy then flows from it will require the support of the current parliamentarians (and those behind many of them) for it to be effective – and those policies are not likely to be very different from those of PM Yatseniuk and current Cabinet as many are shaped by IMF and Association Agreement obligations.

All change – or no change?  A new lease of sustained productive parliamentary life – or a stay of parliamentary execution?

Let’s see who forms the new Cabinet and how long it lasts.

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