Archive for September 4th, 2017

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The political Autumn – Ukraine – Part Deux

September 4, 2017

A few weeks ago a preparatory entry was published outlining the probabilities of the political autumn in Ukraine with regard to presidential/Bankova requirements to slowly reverse Ms Tymoshenko’s current opinion polls lead over President Poroshenko.

As stated the Autumn will witness the beginning of pre-election electioneering and currently that Tymoshenko lead that can be reversed in one of two ways – as the (rather lengthy) entry alluded.

There is also the matter of the Verkhovna Rada elections on a similar timescale.

The Autumn session is likely to witness a number of divisive and contested reforms both within the Verkhovna Rada and among the Ukrainian constituency – pensions, health, education and possibly land reform (although that issue will probably be kicked into 2018).

With regard to the above linked entry, and specifically to the Verkhovna Rada, it is perhaps necessary to expand upon an issue briefly raised – “…….for Mr Yatseniuk to insure that his best people are included in any merger with the Poroshenko Party list (though given the Poroshenko party reduced polling numbers it could only accommodate 15 – 20 People’s Front favorites without pushing out some necessary Poroshenko favorites in the process come election day results……”

At the time of writing it appears highly probable that the Presidential party, Solidarity, and Block Porshenko as a faction, will have a significantly reduced number of elected MPs from both single mandate (first past the post) seats and also via proportional representation.

Arseniy Yatseniuk’s People’s Front, the coalition partner to Block Poroshenko, will simply be eviscerated at the polls and thus summarily put to political death.  It will get nowhere near the 5% threshold to enter parliament via the proportional representation vote, and only a handful of single mandate MPs will claim victory around the country.

Ergo, as the above linked entry stated, an almost unavoidable merger with the President’s party is necessary to save as many Yatseniuk parliamentarians as is possible, but as the president’s party will also garner far fewer parliamentary seats, perhaps only 15 or 20 parliamentarians within the People’s Front can be accommodated within the Presidential party – at least sufficiently highly enough on the party list to be assured of another electoral mandate.

Some other current People’s Front parliamentarians may also be found a home within the Bankova technical party Nash Krai (created by the current leadership to split the Oppo Block vote).

As muted in the entry linked above, it is also possible that Arseny Yatseniuk will find a less than toxic familiar political face to lead a new party – Prime Minister Groisman would be the obvious candidate as he continues to gain political weight, but will necessarily have to tread on the toes of presidential friends and presidential interests to get further reform through.

The Presidential/Bankova dilemma being that the Prime Minister cannot be allowed to gain too much political weight, but neither can he be pushed into the welcoming arms of Arseniy Yatseniuk.  His early removal as Prime Minister would require a placeholder if government was to continue functioning, thus avoiding (currently unwanted) early elections.  Perhaps Vladimir Omelyan would be a suitable candidate for a short term role?

It seems unlikely yet not impossible, but in forwarding reform that directly challenges the vested interests of the presidential circle it raises the probability of those within the circle seeking the removal of Priem Minister Groisman.  It is that or perhaps a “quiet coup” within that circle in preparation for the next elections.

Another issue for The Bankova/President is Arsen Avakov, the current Minister of Interior.

He is the highest ranking People’s Front Minister in the Cabinet.  He has particularly cool relations with President Poroshenko.  He sits in the only “power ministry” not controlled by a presidential loyalist or party member.

Minister Avakov has been particularly prudent in making his alliances, allegiances and patron networks within the insitutions under the Ministry of Interior control – the National Police, National Guard, and by extension within many right of centre socially (and criminally) active groups.  Relationships with Messrs Belitsky and Troyan are two such examples.

It is questionable whether the Presidential party would welcome Arsen Avakov upon its party list come the elections.  His cool relationship with President Poroshenko would be a significant hurdle – and the President is a calculating and vengeful man.

There is no guarantee that any new Yatseniuk project would pass the 5% threshold at the next elections.

So to the point of this entry – another matter to look out for will be the flirtations of Arsen Avakov with old acquaintances in search of a possible political home near the top of a party list – or the other way around, and the flirtations of a party that will assuredly return the the Verkhovna Rada seeking Arsen Avakov and his patronage within their ranks.

The most obvious partner would be Yulia Tymoshenko and Batkivshchyna.  For a number of years Mr Avakov had previously been a member of that party.  There will perhaps a warming of relations.  Little love notes being passed.  Birthday greetings publicly made.  Public festive season felicitations to certain political leaders (and not others).  For sure nothing to obvious for the rest of 2017, but little acts of political flirtation that could be activated toward late 2018 and will be visible for those that choose to look.

There are few other obvious places for Arsen Avakov to go.  The Oppo Block would be a possibility if he were to mend broken business bridges with Sergei Liovochkin, however the Bankova may well wish to plant Mr Liovoichkin and Inter (his media empire), or at the very least have investigations open against both, perhaps even open trials prior to any elections as a means of control.

One last option for the Bankova/President is to finally allow the Kharkiv courts to reach a verdict on Mayor Kernres, politically lopping off his head, and allowing Mr Avakov to replace him as Mayor of the Kharkiv fiefdom in some form of compromise deal.

Thus with pre-election electioneering beginning in the Autumn, aside from the issues made in the above linked entry, a reader should perhaps also keep a watchful eye upon pre-election political flirtations – the most high profile of which will be that of Arsen Avakov in preparation for any presidential/Bankova decision to either include him on the presidential party list and live with that less than desirable situation, or to shun him with a view taking control of the Interior Ministry and then rapidly undoing the Avakov patronage system within.

Ergo dear readers, keep an eye upon Minister Avakov – for there will be discreet and discrete (yet noticeable if you are observant) flirtations before the year end.

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