Rumors started spreading in the Ukrainian parliament (The Supreme Rada) yesterday, saying that President Viktor Yushchenko was supposedly going to obtain the exclusive presidential power in the country. Up to 15,000 opposition followers took to the streets to express their support of the parliament. Coalition deputies attempted to make it to the premises of the presidential administration like it happened in 2004 during the orange revolution in Ukraine. Some of the deputies were holding Bibles in their hands urging President Yushchenko not to commit sinful actions during Holy Week. Ardent Christian slogans were accompanied with communist revolutionary songs.
Speaker Alexander Moroz urged all deputies not to panic at yesterday’s session of the parliament. He guaranteed that their work would continue before 2011. The leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine, Pyotr Simonenko, stated that the head of Ukraine’s Security Service and the defense minister should resign for their interference into the political process (the two officials support Yushchenko). The ruling coalition was infuriated with Yushchenko's decision, who ordered the Prosecutor General to deal with the parliament and the government. A spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine said yesterday that they would not file criminal proceedings against the officials who disobeyed the president’s decree on the dissolution of the parliament. However, such actions may follow if the Constitutional Court makes its own decision on the matter.
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine finds itself in a very complicated situation at the moment. It is virtually the only state agency that can extricate Ukraine from the current political crisis. Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich stated that the chairman of the Constitutional Court, Ivan Dombrovsky, had stepped down from his position due to political pressure. Yushchenko’s followers said that the information was not true to fact. The judges of the court did not accept Dombrovsky’s resignation which eventually became the reason for his hospitalization.
Specialists say that the Constitutional Court is not likely to solve the conflict between the president and the parliamentary coalition. “It is a political crisis, which goes far beyond legal details. Only politicians can solve the conflict,” the head of the Ukrainian Institute for Global Strategies, Vadim Karasev told the Vremya Novostei newspaper. “The fact that the chairman of the court and several other judges appointed with Yushchenko’s support attempted to resign says that the Constitutional Court is not ready to make purely political decisions,” expert Vladimir Malinkovich said.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovich and President Yushchenko had a meeting yesterday in Kiev. Yanukovich said that it would be possible to solve the crisis if the president agreed to cancel his decree about the dissolution of the Ukrainian parliament. In return, the ruling coalition would be ready to revise the law about the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which restricts presidential powers.
In the meantime, the presidential administration continued to insist yesterday the national parliament be dissolved. Viktor Bondar, a spokesman for Yushchenko’s administration, said that the coalition’s outburst of emotions would continue for a couple of more days and then fade away. Afterwards, Bondar believes, the deputies will have to start making preparations for parliamentary elections (the date has been set on May 27).
Indeed, Viktor Yanukovich said at the meeting with foreign ambassadors in Kiev yesterday that he would agree to hold early elections in the country if Yushchenko continued to insist on his initiatives. “We are not afraid of elections. We are certain that we will win,” the prime minister said.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov