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Poroshenko’s tasks and pro-Groysman game: how to fire Yatsenyuk and to form a new coalition

Petro Poroshenko. Photo: RusNext.ru.ru

The “New Coalition and Prime Minister Groysman” blockbuster, which was presented on Sunday when Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation, was stalled by the Supreme Rada the next day.

Poroshenko’s three tasks

For the moment, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has three tasks.

His key problem is that he and his team are forced to act within the framework set by the United States. And the Americans (particularly, US Ambassador Jeoffrey Pyatt) are against dissolving the Supreme Rada and appointing mid-term parliamentary elections. It seems they would also love Yatsenyuk’s Cabinet to stay, but what they actually want is to see a cabinet that will carry out the IMF’s business plan and US and British companies’ projects in Ukraine. But a compliant cabinet needs a majority in the Supreme Rada. In other words, they in the West want Ukraine to have a controllable Cabinet having a majority in the Supreme Rada. And the name of the premier leading that cabinet does not matter.

So, Poroshenko’s first task is to dismiss Yatsenyuk. But since the United States and the IMF are against this (not mentioning foreign citizen Natalie Jaresko), the president’s men are forced to play a more sophisticated game. Since Feb 16 they have been signaling to the West that Yatsenyuk has no more support in the Supreme Rada. On Apr 10, Yatsenyuk said that he was ready to resign. But to say and to resign are two different things.

Judging from the news coming from the Supreme Rada and the Presidential Administration, Poroshenko’s second task is to distribute seats in the new cabinet. In reality, he seeks to form an efficient majority in the Supreme Rada. And the first test here was the appointment of Volodymyr Groysman (the speaker of the Supreme Rada). Otherwise, there would be no difference. Since each group wants one or two offices, this has become a priority for Poroshenko.

Poroshenko wants the new coalition to consist of his bloc and Yatsenyuk-Turchynov’s People’s Front. But this is not enough for the 226 seat minimum. So, the president’s team developed the following scheme: they invited MPs outside parliamentary groups to join the Petro Poroshenko Bloc. This was good for Ihor Kolomoisky and his men. On Mar 31 and Apr 12 four MPs related to Privat Group joined the bloc. But the president and his men do not want to become dependent on Kolomoisky’s group, so, they also invited three MPs having nothing to do with Privat. Some sources report that the president’s team is ready to pay $300,000 to each MP joining the president’s bloc and to support them in their districts during mid-term elections if the Supreme Rada is dissolved.

All we need is confidence

According to some sources, the dismissal of Yatsenyuk, appointment of Groysman and the new Cabinet will be a package decision. Even more, the package will include dismissal of Groysman and appointment of the new speaker.

The point is that Poroshenko’s men are afraid that some MPs will eagerly vote for Yatsenyuk’s dismissal but then will refuse to vote for Groysman’s appointment. So, a package voting is the best and safest option for them.

But here too they may face some problems. There is no guarantee that all the MPs that have promised to vote will do so. So, the president’s men have appealed even to the opposition. One of the leaders of the Opposition Bloc Yuri Boyko (Deputy Prime Minister for Energy and Fuel in Azarov’s Cabinet) has said that it won’t be a shame if some of his men vote for Groysman. “We haven’t yet seen the new cabinet’s program. We hope that it will be sent to all parliamentary groups. This will be a chance for us to decide. If the program turns out to be socially oriented, we may support it,” Boyko said. The voting is scheduled for Apr 14 evening but nobody has yet seen the new cabinet’s program.

If worse comes to worst the Petro Poroshenko Bloc will appeal to Lyashko and his Radicals group. This is just a matter of price.

So, it turns out that Poroshenko’s principle for forming the new cabinet is not an effective program but “every little bit helps.” The Petro Poroshenko Bloc and the People’s Front are picking any vote they can. So, the new cabinet will have very shaky foundations. And even if Boris Lozhkin (head of the Presidential Administration) finds enough votes for Groysman’s team, that team will have to look for votes for each new bill and will be all but unanimous.

In fact, Poroshenko is trying to put opponents into one boat. The news that the new cabinet will have as many as six deputy prime ministers proves this. Poroshenko’s men need votes urgently, so, they are forced to pay in offices.

Sergey Slobodchuk, specially for EADaily (Kiev, Ukraine)

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