Archive for June 20th, 2018

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Tymoshenko announces presidential run (and a questionable first act)

June 20, 2018

Mindful as the blog is that the previous entry had Ms Tymoshenko on centre stage, unfortunately a reader is once again to be subjected to more Ms Tymoshenko.  It will not become habitual – guaranteed – for there are few things more mind-numbing than writing about the flapdoodle spouted by Ms Tymoshenko.

Unsurprisingly Yulia Tymoshenko has announced that she will run for the Ukrainian presidency in March 2019 – as if there was any doubt.  How could her ego allow her not to do so?  Thus more 20 years of her political experience in abjectly and consistently failing the Ukrainian constituency will once again attempt to reach the highest office in the land and satisfy her ego to the detriment of the nation.  (Lord help us all!)

In announcing her presidential run Ms Tymoshenko stated “I will run for the presidency of Ukraine, but I do not run for the sake of simply playing authoritarianism and the monopoly of power.  For me, the presidential post is not a Playstation, but there are real changes that the country is waiting for.  

If I win in the presidential election, I will immediately hold a referendum, at which I will propose the adoption of the new Constitution of Ukraine as a real social contract, demonopolise power, on the one hand, make it stronger in terms of implementing strategies, and on the other hand, make it properly organised and balanced, controlled by society.  

A large group of scientists and jurists are working now to create the concept of a new Constitution, then this project must be submitted to a referendum, the new president must first adopt a new constitution and implement it. new, strong, the best Constitution in the world.”

Blimey!

All readers and Ukrainian constituents must be pleased that Ms Tymoshenko does not consider the presidency a Playstation.

They may even be pleased to read/hear that she runs not simply for the sake of “authoritarianism and the monopoly of power” too – for that infers that apart from grabbing an authoritarian monopoly on power, she has something else in mind to do afterward (beyond reassigning corrupt money flows within her elite).

The first thing she will do, she claims, is to call a referendum to replace the Constitution.

Now there is no doubt that the Constitution requires changing.

In some areas it is too broad and in others far too detailed where subservient statute should take on such a role.  The parliamentary-presidential system of governance that theoretically exists within the Constitution could certainly do with more robust prose to keep a president off of the parliamentary grass – for anybody that looks in at Ukraine would think that it runs as a presidential-parliamentary system instead.  Perhaps a review (and removal of some) presidential powers is required.

However, the political question is whether it is wise to throw out the current Constitution entirely and replace it completely and in one go – or whether to amend it piecemeal.

After all, not all of the current Constitution is poor – indeed most of it is OK.

Much comes down to whether a Verkhovna Rada could consistently find 300 votes required for piecemeal constitutional change over a prolonged period of time, or whether a “wanna-be” President Tymoshenko believes she will only ever manage to gather 300 parliamentary votes once – and at the beginning of her presidency.

Perhaps she intends to take such a referendum to the people of Ukraine – who would have just voted in presidential elections and who face Verkhovna Rada elections in the October?  Does she intend to have the national constituency vote again between these two votes?  How will she achieve that when she would inherit a Verkhovna Rada that she does not control – indeed being one of the smallest parties there after the last elections – and which will itself be in “electioneering mode”.

However she does it, such a referendum would have to be carried out legally under the current constitution – so options?

Section III, Article 72 “An all-Ukrainian referendum is appointed by Supreme Soviet of Ukraine or the President of Ukraine in accordance with their plenary powers set by this Constitution.  An all-Ukrainian referendum is proclaimed on a folk initiative when no less as three million of which have, on condition that signatures in relation to the setting of the referendum, are collected more (no less) in two third of regions, and more (no less) than one hundred thousand signatures in every region.”     In short, if the people call for a referendum, they have almost had a referendum to call to have a referendum in the first place.  Not the most practical solution.  Further any referendum by the people has an entirely unpredictable outcome.

Section V, Article 106(6) – “appoints an all-Ukrainian referendum in relation to the changes of Constitution of Ukraine in accordance with the Article 156 of this Constitution, proclaims an all-Ukrainian referendum on folk initiative” – Make haste then to Article 156!

Section XIII, Article 156 – “About bringing of changes to the section “General basis”, Section III “Elections. Referendum” and to the section of a XIII “Bringing of changes to Constitution of Ukraine” is given in Supreme Soviet of Ukraine by the President of Ukraine or more (no less) as by the two third from constitutional composition of Supreme Soviet of Ukraine and, on condition of his acceptance more (no less) as by the two third from constitutional composition of Supreme Soviet of Ukraine, becomes firmly established an all-Ukrainian referendum which is appointed by President of Ukraine.” – In short 300 (no less) parliamentary votes required.  300 votes Ms Tymoshenko will not have within the current Verkhovna Rada should she win – and to be blunt, she will not have 300 votes within the Verkhovna Rada after the October 2019 parliamentary elections either.

In fact she would do extremely well to cobble together a coalition parliamentary majority of 226 that will survive 18 months in power – let alone a constitution-changing 300!  A coalition will be required for passing the most standard of statute for any that can both stomach and last in a coalition with Ms Tymoshenko – and history would suggest they don’t last long under her leadership.  A reader will recall the blog has oft stated, you work for Yulia T, or you work against Yulia T – but you cannot work with Yulia T (for long).

As soon as she fails to control a parliamentary majority she fails as a president (so 18 months effectiveness at most).  Certainly at the time of writing her Batkivshchyna Party will not manage to accumulate 226 parliamentarians at the next elections.  A number that requires no coalition.

However, Ms Tymoshenko is very well aware that she is incapable of sharing power and the limitations her ego puts upon her ability to work with others.  She is thus very well aware that she will not keep a parliamentary coalition together for long under her presidency.  She does have a remedy for this certain eventuality – albeit very dubious in the context of democratic representation of the national constituency.

In order to mitigate the fact that Ms Tymoshenko cannot work with other people or share any form of power, Ms Tymoshenko has publicly proposed a plan to insure a Batkivshchyna Party majority that does not rely upon coalition building.  Ms Tymoshenko proposes taking Ukraine back to a post-war (West) Germany circa 1949.  In short she proposes two rounds of voting for parliament, with the winning party, regardless of size of the winning vote, automatically gaining 226 parliamentary seats (a majority) while all others go into opposition and share 224 seats between them.  Ms Tymoshenko would have her average 15% or so of the national vote give her an automatic majority, while the vastly overwhelming majority of votes for anybody except her and her party, gain a parliamentary minority.

While a reader may ponder the democratic aspects of her plan/proposal to insure a 226 absolute majority, that number is still nowhere near the 300 required for matters of the Constitution.

Thus whoever the international experts and jurists (didn’t they participate in the drafting of the current Constitution? (rhetorical question)) engaged by Ms Tymoshenko to draft a new Constitution, they will have to deliver a stroke of legislative genius to gather 300 parliamentary votes.

Further, as with all Verkhovna Rada issues, there will be Verkhovna Rada Committee suggested amendments, thousands of amendments suggested by parliamentarians, and no doubt, numerous appeals to the Constitutional Court that any new Tymoshenko Constitution will be, in fact, unconstitutional.

Naturally a reader will also ponder several other questions after Ms Tymoshenko’s formal declaration of presidential candidacy.  What now constitutes official electioneering, how much will it cost over the 9 months ahead, and will those expenditures and incomes be accurately recorded in the party accounts?

(And yes, naturally a reader is also questioning just who are, and how much are the “international experts and jurists” being paid by Ms Tymoshenko to write an entirely new Constitution too.)

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