Vertical of power

Poroshenko resembled Yanukovych in the eyes of parliament members

Poroshenko resembled Yanukovych in the eyes of parliament members
In order to sign the ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU, the Ukrainian president had to first obtain the special status for Donbas
Photo: Unian

Yesterday the Verkhovna Rada adopted a bill drafted by the Presidential Administration on the special status of local self-government of Donbas and the amnesty of members of illegal armed formations. President Poroshenko had to personally seek votes of support, resorting to threats and promises to them.

Talks in Turchynov’s office

Preparations to yesterday’s voting in the VR began in the Presidential Administration on Monday evening, when leaders of factions and deputy groups convened for a meeting with the head of state. “The president said if the voting fails we can expect military actions with Russia and we will lose more territory,” a member of the UDAR faction told Capital on condition of anonymity. It was decided at that meeting that the bills would be considered behind closed doors. The issue of holding a closed session, which was put to vote in the morning, however, did not gain the required number of votes in the parliament. Members of the UDAR faction, the Economic Development deputy group and independent deputies and representatives of the Batkivshchyna faction that support the president voted in favor of the initiative.

Immediately after the vote VR Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov announced a 15 minute break, which dragged out for almost two hours. “Leaders of the factions are to this point being convinced to agree to a closed session and adoption of Putin’s laws,” authorized representative of the Sovereign European Ukraine deputy group Oles Doniy resented.

A source of Capital in the Batkivshchyna faction informed that the president of Ukraine and the head of his administration Borys Lozhkin visited the office of the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada. “They both summoned leaders of factions and deputy groups and explained to them the current situation. The essence of their statement was quite clear: either law or war. Authorized representative of the Sovereign European Ukraine faction Ihor Yeremeyev was held up in the office of the VR Speaker the longest. The details of the talks are unknown,” the source of Capital said. According to Yeremeyev, no political barter was achieved during his talks with the president. “The issue was why these bills should be adopted,” he noted.

An interlocutor of the publication in the Party of Regions faction said that among other things the members of the faction were promised support in majoritarian constituencies in the parliamentary elections. “Such support could be in the form of budget subsidies and the absence of strong rivals. In general, Poroshenko resembled Yanukovych, who came to the parliament prior to important voting and put pressure on the deputies,” the PoR deputy added. Officially, representatives of the Party of Regions refused to comment on the results of the meeting of the faction’s leader Oleksandr Yefremov with the president. However, according to information of a source in the Batkivshchyna faction, among the concessions on the part of the PoR was the agreement of its faction to support the ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU.

Failed display board

Immediately following the meeting in Turchynov’s office, 265 deputies voted in favor of having the session behind closed doors. The Party of Regions, the deputy group Sovereign European Ukraine headed by Yeremeyev, the deputy groups of former members of the PoR and the CPU “For Peace and Stability” and independent deputies, including former members of the CPU faction, added their votes. “Voting is a show of public opinion. Indeed, today the majority of Ukrainians are in favor of achieving peace at any cost,” leader of the CPU Petro Symonenko told journalists.

The president of Ukraine attended the closed session of the parliament. “He was clearly distraught. He reiterated that we have a choice: adopt laws or got to war with Russia, which we have already lost,” a member of the Batkivshchyna faction said about Poroshenko’s address in the Verkhovna Rada. He said there was a verbal skirmish between Serhiy Vlasenko, the attorney of Yulia Tymoshenko and Poroshenko in the VR session hall. In response to Vlasenko’s remarks that Ukraine is losing its influence on prosecutors and judges in the Donbas region, Poroshenko advised the deputy to “go to the ATO zone with a machine gun in his hands”.

The consideration of the president’s two bills took no more than 15 minutes. As a result, the bill on the special status of local self-government in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts was supported by 277 deputies and the bill on amnesty also garnered the same number of votes. The Svoboda faction, members of Batkivshchyna oriented towards Tymoshenko and a number of independent deputies abstained from voting. However, the official results of the vote are unknown. “This was a precedent in the Verkhovna Rada. Yanukovych was not even close doing that. The display board was dysfunctional, meaning none of the deputies could see who voted and how they voted,” people’s deputy Anatoliy Hrytsenko (independent) complained.

Just as the Presidential Administration planned beforehand, in order to smooth out the rough edges of the voting for the bills on regulating the situation in the Donbas, the deputies were proposed to support the ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU. The document was put up for voting in the Verkhovna Rada in tandem with voting in the European Parliament and garnered the support of 355 deputies.

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Александр Емельянов 17 September 2014, 15:00

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