Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
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following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also
include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology.
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Ukraine's governing coalition pronounced dead
Russia Today, September 16, 2008, 12:29
The ruling coalition which wrested power from pro-Russian Victor
Yanukovich in the 2004 Orange Revolution has been dissolved by the
Ukrainian parliement. On Saturday a ten-day deadline to restore the
coalition between former close allies Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor
Yushchenko ran out.
The dissolution of the Rada, Ukraine's lower house, was formally
announced by its Speaker on Tuesday morning.
President Yushchenko's 'Our Ukraine' party walked out at the beginning
of September amid tensions over the South Ossetian war.
Yushchenko accused his former coalition partner of "siding with Russia"
as she refused to formally condemn South Ossetia's and Abkhazia's
declarations of independence.
Tymoshenko has said she feared the 'Our Ukraine' party was heading for a
collision course with Russia. Her party, called the 'Yulia Tymoshenko
bloc', may join the pro-Russian Regions Party.
Parliamentarians now have 30 days to either patch up the coalition or
form an entirely new cabinet.
If a consensus is not reached, the president will follow through with
his threat to call early elections.
They would be the third elections in three years of uneasy partnership
between the two pro-Western former coalition partners.
Ukraine in crisis: a brief chronology
November 22 2004: Tens of thousands of Yushchenko supporters demonstrate
in Kiev after election results show PM Viktor Yanukovich won the second
round of presidential elections. The colour orange becomes the symbol of
December 28 2004: The Supreme Court declares previous election results
invalid, a new round is ordered. Yushchenko celebrates victory with
51.99% of the vote. Yanukovich resigns as PM on New Year's Eve.
January 23 2005: Yushchenko is officially sworn in as president and
approves Yulia Timoshenko as PM days later.
September 8 2005: Timoshenko's cabinet dismissed after two high-standing
officials resign. Yury Yekhanurov, a great supporter of the president,
takes her place.
January 10 2006: A gas deal with Russia causes a sharp increase in the
cost of importing energy. Parliament votes to sack the government.
March 26: Yanukovich's Regions Party comes first in the new
parliamentary elections. Timoshenko's bloc is a close second.
June 15: After 80 days of talks, Yushchenko's allies fail to form a
coalition with the opposition to produce a government.
July 18: New coalition, made up of Yushchenko's rivals, proposes
Yanukovich as PM. He is approved a few days later, under the condition
that he will not undermine pro-Western policies.
January 12 2007: The governing coalition passes a law to reduce
presidential privileges, undermining Yushchenko's authority.
March 13: The opposition walks out of parliament, demanding that Ukraine
April: Yushchenko issues a decree to dissolve parliament.
May 27: New elections date set on the 30th of September.
October 15: The "Orange" parties win the elections by a tiny margin, but
fail to gain a majority in parliament.
December 18: Timoshenko voted in as PM, winning the minimum number of
votes needed to secure it.
February 6 2008: Yanukovich's opposition party announces a blockade of
parliament after fist fights and protests over NATO membership.
June 20: Ukrainian parliament deputy Yury Bout resigns together with a
colleague, causing the governing coalition's narrow majority to be
July 11: The opposition calls a no-confidence vote against Timoshenko,
but she prevails.
August 18: Yushchenko's deputy chief of staff accuses Timoshenko of high
treason because of her refusal to support Georgia in the Caucasus
September 3: Yushchenko threatens to call a pre-term election because
the governing coalition has collapsed.
September 16: Coalition is officially dissolved. Parliamentaries now
have 30 days to form a new coalition and cabinet before new elections
What next? Expert opinions
"A state of political crisis is a permanent thing in Ukraine," says Oles
Doniy, a member of the former governing coalition. "Both the public and
the politicians are so used to it, that they take it with a mixture of
weariness and composure".
Doniy thinks the political situation in Ukraine can follow three
courses, one of which, it seems, is merely theoretical. The governing
coalition that has just collapsed could, potentially, be reformed.
According to some analysts, this is the only safe course of action, as
it will create a sturdy, unified government. But in the light of heated
conversations and mutual accusations, it seems highly unlikely that
Yushchenko's "Our Ukraine" and "Yulia Timoshenko's Bloc" will see eye to
The remaining two options are the formation of a new coalition within
the next 30 days, or the calling of early elections. Most senior
political figures in Ukraine at the moment claim they are fully prepared
for the second option.
Plan A: New coalition
Most experts consider the formation of a new ruling coalition -
comprised of Timoshenko's Bloc and Yanukovich's Party of Regions - a
viable, yet unlikely and dangerous course of action. From the beginning
of September, the Party of Regions has been voting mostly in line with
Timoshenko's policies, indicating that a consensus of sorts has already
However, according to Aleksey Garan - the head advisor from the
Kievo-Mogiliansky institute of political analysis - a coalition between
Timoshenko's Block and the Party of Regions is highly unlikely, as it
would be a huge blow to Timoshenko's image. An agreement between parties
that are so radically opposed would be detrimental to the variety of
opinions represented in the Ukranian parliament and challenge both
The potential for a coalition with either the Communist Party of
Litvinin's Bloc is even more unlikely. The former would fail to find a
common language with Timoshenko's Bloc whilst the latter is set on
winning the potential elections itself.
Plan B: Early elections
Yulia Timoshenko's Bloc favours this course of action as, according to
recent polls, they have the potential to win in the elections, albeit by
a narrow margin. According to the Kiev International Institute of
Sociology, 24.1% of Ukranians are prepared to vote for Timoshenko, as
opposed to Yanukovich's 23,3%. Nevertheless, statistics show that the
vote would again be highly polarised which would disstabilise the
To have a constitutional majority, a new coalition would undoubtedly
have to be formed. It would again be made up of ideologically-differing
parties, which has been the breaking point for the Ukranian parliament's
functionality in the last four years.
Another major point of concern is the electorate itself. The number of
voters in elections has been on a steady decrease in the last few years
since most people respond to the ever-lasting political crisis with
growing apathy. According to political writer Vadim Karasev, the
electorate is so tired, that only bribes or the use of force could
potentially make it vote at the moment.
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