Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Dodgy Blogger, dodgy voters 

That sucked -- Blogger had me locked out for about ten hours, during which much is happening. I think there's less here than meets the eye, and so let me explain this.

Several people, including Northern Alliance muj Captain Ed, are reporting that the parliament has sacked Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, along with the rest of his cabinet. Ed notes that "Ukraine's PM is appointed by the executive, not the legislature as in other parliamentary democracies." That's true, but the Rada (parliament) does have the power to sack the PM. The problem is that, as I mentioned before, when the Rada accepts the program of a PM, it automatically gives the PM a year to carry out the plan and cannot sack him according to the Ukrainian constitution. (See Article 87 for the details.) As the previous program was accepted on March 16, 2004, it appeared they could not sack Yanukovych.

So what they did instead was, before voting to sack him, they voted to rescind their approval of the program. That is, in the view of many, a questionable constitutional dodge. Had that been a legal move, there are more than a few Ukrainian PMs that would have gotten the sack earlier than they did (I would wager that to include Yushchenko back in 2001.)

Kuchma's not likely to approve any of this. He is already asking for a parliamentary vote that would need 300 members to approve of a constitutional change. He has enough allies in the Rada to keep that from happening. Kuchma is in meetings with the two candidates and the representatives from Europe. At last report late filing claims on vote fraud. David Boies, call your office!

More important than all this is that Kuchma is following Yanukovych's suggestion from yesterday that a new vote has to start from scratch with new candidates. Yanukovych has taken ill, which in the good ol' days of the USSR means he's being told to be quiet and let the big boys negotiate. (And he should take his wife with him, as Tulip Girl reports.) The Argus reports on the rise of Serhiy Tyhipko as the clan candidate. Remember two days ago we thought he was going over to Yushchenko's side. He's not. Again what appear to be big moves are not. So another night approaches, with new fears of reprisals.

And that needs to be the lesson learned here by observers. It is very difficult to get a grip on what is happening because nearly everything has questionable constitutionality, reporting is spotty, and this is more than anything else a clash of personalities and wills. Short of developing a new theory of psychohistory, we're going to have a helluva time sorting this out. But goodness it's fun.

If Blogger can keep up with me, that is. Gotta meet some students, more after lunch.