race for power

Ukraine’s parliament approved the Cabinet’s Action Plan only after interference of the president

Ukraine’s parliament approved the Cabinet’s Action Plan only after interference of the president
Photo: Unian

Yesterday, the Verkhovna Rada approved the action plan of the government providing the Cabinet immunity from dismissal for one year. Representatives of the government and the people’s deputies openly say that the action plan is not adequate. However, after lengthy debates the coalition decided to support the Cabinet according to President Petro Poroshenko’s request to parliamentarians.

Yatsenyuk resembled Azarov

In the morning the factions of the coalition held meetings to approve the final decisions on voting for the government’s action plan. According to Capital’s information, the discussion was the most heated during the meeting of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction.

“In the morning a decision was made to not support Yatsenyuk. There are many questions to the action plan. This is not what we wanted to see. The majority of the deputies of the faction refused to vote for this document,” a deputy of the PPB said on condition of anonymity before the start of the VR session.

MP Oksana Prodan (PPB) confirmed for the publication that many deputies will not support the government’s plan. “It cannot be approved in its present edition. The government has only one option – to postpone it or delete the most controversial issues. Such initiatives were made during the tenure of Azarov and Yanukovych and the current government is proposing to do the same,” said Prodan.

PPB faction leader and head of the coalition Yuriy Lutsenko was very harsh and figurative in describing the action plan drafted by Yatsenyuk’s government. “The government’s action plan submitted to the parliament is not only disappointing. It more resembles a student’s slopwork and the illustrated Murzilka magazine [a Soviet illustrated magazine for children],” he said.

Interestingly enough, other participants of the coalition to a certain degree shared the positions of the PPB. For instance, prior to voting representatives of Samopomich and the Radical Party said they were not ready to support the government’s document.
Also, independent deputies that are ready to cooperate with the coalition and the president expressed their concerns. “This is not an action plan, rather a political document. We heard similar theses six months ago. Over this period Yatsenyuk’s government failed to conduct even one reform; it was more engaged in populism,” independent MP Viktor Baloha told Capital.

Requests and threats

After nearly an hour-long presentation of the action plan by Yatsenyuk the coalition requested that the speaker announce a break. After that the deputies went to meet in their factions to decide how to vote. “First Vice Premier Hennadiy Zubko arrived at the meeting of our faction at which he conveyed the president’s request to vote in favor of the program. There were no threats, it was simply a request,” a source in the PPB faction said.

Another source in the presidential party’s faction said that “both Groysman at the morning meeting of the faction and Zubko before the voting said that the action plan is not worthy, though a split of the coalition is not allowable.” In addition to that, in exchange for PPB votes, the People’s Front faction promised to support the president’s bill on increasing the powers of the NSDC secretary.

After that the representatives of the factions of the majority convened for the Council of the Coalition, which the premier also attended. MP Andriy Lazoviy told Capital that at the meeting the representatives of the factions expressed their demands that should be included in the action plan and Yatsenyuk promised that he would take them into account. In particular, it was decided that the phrase stipulating that the coalition agreement is an integral part of the action plan will be included in the preamble.

After the meeting of the coalition, its representatives supported Yatsenyuk with 269 votes. Only 14 members the PPB faction present in the parliamentary session hall voted against the government’s document. At that, Lutsenko and Prodan, who criticized the document, voted in its favor. “Actually, even those MPs who spoke against the document understood that we will vote for it. They just wanted to show Yatsenyuk that he needs to respect the parliament,” said a source of Capital in the PPB after the voting.

The People’s Front voted unanimously for the action plan, while two MPs of Samopomich and one member of the Radical Party abstained from voting. In Batkivshchyna none of the deputies wanted to publicly express their mistrust to the promises of the Cabinet, so all of its members voted in favor of the document. The Opposition Bloc, the deputy groups People’s Will and Economic Development and deputies of the group of right forces Ukrop did not support the government’s plan.

“Adoption of the action plan ensures immunity for the government for the term of one year. This means that the deputies will have no right to raise the issue of a vote of confidence for the government for one year. However, the government may resign voluntarily,” a member of the Political Council of Batkivshchyna Andriy Pavlovskiy told Capital.

A source in PPB says that the coalition members do not rule out a possibility that the government may provoke its dismissal in several months. “The negligent drafting of the action plan and the poorly considered economic and social initiatives give the impression that the Cabinet is not ready to assume responsibility and is not ready to work,” said the source.

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