19 Feb. — Speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Volodymyr Groysman announced the exit of Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadoviy’s party Samopomich from the parliamentary coalition European Ukraine. As a result, only two factions remained in the coalition – the presidential Petro Poroshenko Bloc (BPP) and Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s People’s Front (PF). Together they have 217 of the 226 votes required for the existence of a coalition. A return to the coalition by Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party could change the situation.
Samopomich justified its withdrawal from the majority by claiming ideological incompatibility with “the Party of Regions carcass” (Opposition Bloc and independent deputies), with whom the BPP and PF had an informal alliance. “Such actions, which legitimised the Ukrainian government, are attacks on the state system of the country and have definitively destroyed the parliamentary coalition European Ukraine,” stated Oleg Berezyuk, leader of the Samopomich faction in parliament.
Functionally, the coalition has disintegrated, but a statement by Groysman is necessary for the legal confirmation of the fact. The faction will then have 30 days to form a new ruling alliance. Otherwise, the president will have to dismiss parliament and declare early parliamentary elections.
While dissolution of parliament is a right rather than the duty of the head of state, this variant is highly unfavourable for the current authorities in Ukraine. The country may survive without an officially existing coalition, but the West’s attitude towards it will change accordingly. Therefore, it is most likely that the speaker will postpone the announcement regarding the lack of a parliamentary majority for as long as possible.
The only way out of this predicament is to re-form the coalition. In the opinion of Radical Party leader Oleh Lyashko, “the next three weeks will have to be spent forming a new coalition and new government, and in the subsequent plenary week, which will be in three weeks, proposing a new coalition, new programme of action, and new government to the people.”
It is namely the Radical Party (RPOL), which officially abandoned the pro-presidential majority on 1 September 2015 – that is the main hope for renewing the ruling alliance. Together with the BPP and PF, the radicals will provide 238 votes – enough to “shut down” even the most independent deputies, for example those from the Anti-Corruption Platform, composed of idealistic BPP deputies who blamed some of the representatives of the faction for controlling corruption schemes while in power.
It is no coincidence that speculation has already begun in the Ukrainian media that the Radical Party faction had only declared its exit from the coalition but its deputies did not remove their signatures from the coalition agreement. Europe Insight contacted the RPOL party secretary to confirm what the faction’s coalition status is. “It is not written on a single legal document that faction [deputies] must provide their personal signature… There is no law on coalitions,” said the assistant to the leader of the PROL Viacheslav Bespalko, categorically rejecting such speculation.
However, the pro-presidential deputies are already mocking the idea of a formation including returned radicals. BPP faction leader Yuriy Lutsenko called Oleh Lyashko a politician who “enters and exits very rapidly”.