KIEV, Nov. 20 – Speculation mounted on Tuesday that President Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense group may nominate Ivan Pliushch, his top security advisor and a long-time ally, as the speaker of Parliament.
Yushchenko is expected to meet Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense lawmakers on Thursday to discuss a range of issues ahead of the first session of Parliament due on Friday, lawmakers said.
The nomination of Pliushch, if confirmed, would be a major shift of strategy as the group had been earlier planning to nominate Viacheslav Kyrylenko, a young leader of Our Ukraine, to the post.
“I don’t rule out that the president, using some considerations that have not been taken into account by us, may nominate another candidate,” Roman Zvarych, an Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense lawmaker, said.
“In this case I have no reasons to believe that Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense will not listen to the extremely important word of the president,” Zvarych said.
Pliushch is seen by analysts as a figure capable of balancing out Yulia Tymoshenko, the charismatic opposition leader expected to become the next prime minister. Kyrylenko is seen by analysts as more loyal to Tymoshenko.
Pliushch is one of three members of 72-strong Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense group, which has so far refused to publicly support Tymoshenko’s nomination to the post of the prime minister.
Pliushch has been also advocating for including the Regions Party, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s group, to the grand coalition in the future government. He argued this is needed to get enough votes to amend the constitution, which requires at least 300 votes in the 450-seat Parliament.
Raisa Bohatyriova, a senior member of the Regions Party, reacted to the speculations by praising Pliushch as a “powerful, professionally well-prepared politicians” for taking the post of the speaker of Parliament.
“This [Pliushch] nomination may get support of the majority in Parliament,” Bohatyriova said.
Oleksandr Turchynov, a senior member of the Tymoshenko group, pledged to support any figure nominated by Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, but noted that Pliushch had yet failed to publicly support Tymoshenko for the prime minister post.
“I don’t think this would be logical,” Turchynov said. “Maybe the Regions will nominate [Pliushch].” (tl/ez)