race for power

PPB and People’s Front are fighting for access to the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada

PPB and People’s Front are fighting for access to the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada
Photo: Unian

Yesterday the preparation group of the parliament approved the agenda of the first working day of the Verkhovna Rada of the 8th convocation, planned for Thursday. However, two days before the opening of the session members of the coalition could not agree not only on the distribution of the senior positions, but even on their seats in the session hall of the parliament.

Collective reading

Traditionally, the work of the VR will begin with deputies taking the ceremonial oath. “We decided on the procedure for the enunciation of oaths. It will be done in compliance with the Constitution when all deputies present in the parliamentary session hall will simultaneously take the oath of the people’s deputy of Ukraine,” said head of the preparatory group Volodymyr Groysman after the group’s meeting.

In this way, deputies decided to circumvent the norms of the parliamentary rules according to which the most senior deputy reads the oath. At the moment, this is former member of the Party of Regions Yefim Zvyahilskiy, who was elected to the Verkhovna Rada as a self-nominated candidate.

Many representatives of the coalition were against his candidacy. For example, VR Speaker of the previous convocation of the parliament Oleksandr Turchynov proposed that representatives of Western Ukraine Yuriy Shukhevych and representative of Crimea Mustafa Dzhemilev take the oath simultaneously with “the representative of the East” Zvyahilskiy.

Serhiy Sobolev told Capital that he was the initiator of the idea that parliamentarians should simultaneously take the oath. He said the Constitution of Ukraine does not envisage how the oath should be read. “For this reason, the will be a group reading just as in elementary school in order that later no questions will arise. We will then avoid repeating the story of the previous parliament, when some deputies did not take the oath, but received their deputy ID and wage,” said Sobolev.

After taking the oath that is then signed by deputies, the parliament should recommence its work. The election of the leadership of the parliament, formation of factions and distribution of parliamentary committees are on the daily agenda. The last is one of the most disputed issues inside the coalition. Indeed, last week the preparation group agreed to reduce the number of parliamentary committees from 29 to 25 and liquidate the privatization committee.

Now the Verkhovna Rada must vote for this decision, though some members of the coalition disagree with this. “I do not see the logic of uniting the Committee on the Fight against Organized Crime and Corruption with the Committee on the Legislative Guarantee of Law Enforcement Activities. These are two diametrically opposed policies and different reforms,” future member of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc Viktor Chumak told Capital. Sources of Capital name him the future chairman of the united committee. Chumak himself confirmed that he received such a proposal, but did not make a final decision.

Ruslan Lukyanchuk, who won a seat in the VR on the list of the People’s Front, told Capital that many deputies are against the merger of the Committee on Information Technologies and the Committee on Transportation and Communications.

As a result, according to Capital, yesterday VR deputies decided to reject the plans of merger of the aforementioned committees. “At this point, speaking about the leadership of the committees is premature because we do not even know what the preliminary composite of the government is,” member of the political council of the Batkivshchyna party Dmytro Shlemko told the publication.

A source in the PPB said there is more haggling inside the parties than between the allies for the leadership of committees. “We are given the budget committee; now there is a struggle between two groups for its leadership. It appears that the group of Anatoliy Matviyenko, and old ally of the current president, is in the lead,” the source said.

The issue of logistics

On Wednesday the preparation group will convene for its last session prior to the official opening of the Verkhovna Rada. Deputies will try to agree on seating of the factions in the parliamentary session hall. It was planned that this issue would easily be resolved yesterday, but some unexpected problems arose. “Two of the largest factions cannot decide where they will sit in the parliament. The matter was carried over to Wednesday,” representative of the Batkivschyna party in the negotiations Andriy Kozhemyakin told journalists.

The teams of the premier and the president deny any conflicts, though they admit that at this point they cannot come to an agreement on this issue. “There is no misunderstanding with the People’s Front regarding the seating in parliament. The decision has not yet been made, though I will not venture to say that there is a serious dispute. This is an issue of logistics,” member of the PPB Taras Kutoviy told Capital.

A source of Capital in the People’s Front said the essence of the dispute is the proximity of the faction to the parliamentary rostrum. “In the last convocation of the parliament the Party of Regions barricaded the opposition from the rostrum and forced self-nominated deputies and members of the Communist Party of Ukraine to sit on the sidelines. This time the PPB wants to do the same, but we also want to control access to the rostrum, mainly to the speaker,” he said. A source of Capital in the Batkivshchyna party said that so far the People’s Front cannot achieve its desired objectives. “The front rows of the left sector will be given to the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and in the right sector – self-nominated deputies. The Opposition Bloc will take the place of the Communists,” the source said.
Noteworthy is that according to the agreements between the People’s Front and the PPB, the seat of the speaker of the house should be occupied by a member of the president’s team. According to information that Capital possesses, the candidacy of PPB member Volodymyr Groysman is being considered for this post.

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