The Corner

Roundtable, Square Table, Some Kind of Table Talks

Today’s Ukraine update from Ukraine watcher Robert McConnell:

It appears that the results of last night’s talks are:

1. Sides agreed that the Supreme Court decision gave the framework for resolving the political conflict and must be carried out by all sides.

2. Sides agreed that the President would cut short the authority of the Central Election Commission and introduce changes to the make-up of the CEC and submit those changes to the Parliament for ratification.

3. Sides agreed that changes and amendments need to made to the law on presidential elections to make them transparent leading to a fair vote that would limit abuse and falsification.

It also appears that once points 2 + 3 are completed, the opposition will unblock access to government buildings. (Though I surely hope they monitor who goes in and out of the president’s administration building – – and what they come out with.)

These things were agreed to by Yushchenko, Yanukovych (with reservations); Lytvyn (given they are upheld by Parliament’s Council of Faction Leaders and Committee Chairmen); and Kuchma (same reservations as Lytvyn).

As I understand it going into the talks, Viktor Yushchenko wanted two groups of issues discussed: a small group and a wider group. The aforementioned issues is what he would refer to as the small group. We’ll see if and when the Rada and President move on these issues. Hopefully, today.

At the table talks the problems occurred in the voting over the wider set of issues.

And at the Parliament (Rada)

Yesterday, the Rada agreed to the following sequence of events: Kuchma dismisses government; then parliament votes in a block changes and amendments to the election law and to the constitution. The changes to the constitution take effect September 1, 2005 if the changes to local self-government are approved. If not, then the changes to the constitution take effect January 1, 2006.

At this point we understand that Yanukovych did not agree on dismissal of the government and instead took a leave of absence (or vacation). This is what broke off talks between the sides.

This was not something that Kuchma was expecting. He thought the opposition would not agree to the changes in the constitution and thus he could blame the lack of progress on Yushchenko. Now it turns out his own man – – or the man who had up until that point been “his” man – – is holding up the progress and not letting Kuchma get the “reforms” sought by the president. This deserves very close scrutiny.

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