KIEV, Nov. 13 – Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s Regions Party on Tuesday threatened to boycott the first session of Parliament unless two pro-Western groups agree to back its candidate for the post of interim chairman.
The comment from Raisa Bohatyriova, a senior member of the Regions Party, shows political tensions may escalate sharply this month unless political parties take steps to end a deadlock over the post.
“If we keep working the way we did today, then I believe voters will not see the opening of the first session even on Nov. 26,” Bohatyriova said.
The Nov. 26 is the deadline for newly elected lawmakers to hold the first session of Parliament following the Sept. 30 snap election. The failure to hold the session before or on the deadline may question the outcome of the election and trigger a major turmoil.
Two pro-Western groups, which control a slim majority of 228 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, have been seeking to hold the first session as soon as Nov. 20 to quickly appoint the new government.
The Regions Party de-facto benefits from the delay of the session that technically allows Yanukovych to keep running the government.
The constitution does not let new election within 12 months after the vote. Analysts said under some circumstances the significant delay or even crisis may create a situation when Yanukovych would continue to lead the government for a year until the new election can be announced.
“It’s all being done to postpone the work of Parliament,” Oleksandr Turchynov, a senior member of the group led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, said. He added that lawmakers will still hold the first session no later then the deadline no matter if the progress has been made at the talks.
“The constitution demands that Parliament holds the session no matter whether a working body has made any progress, no matter if there is any sabotage,” Turchynov said.
The 30-strong working body, composed proportionally of all parties, on Tuesday failed for the second day in a row to appoint the interim chairman and to set the date for the first session.
The Regions Party, joined by the Communist Party and by the centrist group led by former Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, backed the appointment of Adam Martyniuk, a Communist.
The Tymoshenko group, jointly with President Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, suggested four different options, including the appointment of a member of the Lytvyn group to the post. But all the options have been rejected by the Regions.
Since the body was split evenly 15-15, no decision has been approved, while the next meeting had been scheduled on Wednesday. (tl/ez)