Kuchma names his nominee for the premier's post
The long-awaited decision by President Leonid Kuchma to name a candidate for the post of Premier finally came on Tuesday 22 May. Kuchma nominated Anatoliy Kinakh, Chairman of the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
After consulting with representatives of different parliamentary factions last week, Kuchma decided that Anatoliy Kinakh was one of two candidates (beside Serhiy Tyhypko) for the post.
From July 1995 to September 1996 Kinakh, 46, was deputy prime minister in charge of industrial policies, and for four months in 1999 he was first deputy prime minister. In 1998, he was elected to parliament as a member of the National Democratic faction, which has steadfastly supported President Kuchma during the tape scandal. In 1999, after leaving government, he headed the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, which consistently criticized the implementation of economic and administrative reforms under Viktor Yushchenko's government.
The centrist pro-presidential parties, including the National Democratic Party, the United Social Democratic Party and the Working Ukraine group are in favor of Kinakh's candidature and are ready to support him. The Communists, whose votes might be decisive, since they occupy 112 seats in the 405-member parliament, said they would make their decision on whether to support Kinakh only on the evening of 28 May. The right-wing parties that became oppositional after Premier Yushchenko was voted out of office on 26 April, said they would definitely not support Kinakh. The People's Movement of Ukraine, the Ukrainian People's Movement, and Reforms-Congress Party made it clear earlier that they would not support anybody but Victor Yushchenko.
Parliament will vote on Kinakh's nomination on 29 May. According to the surveys of the Democratic Union faction, by 25 May 220 MPs had decided to support Kinakh. Myhailo Brodsky, leader of the Yabluko faction, said Kinakh would be supported by 300 votes if the Communists decide to vote in his favor. According to Taras Chornovil, the outspoken Reforms and Order representative, Kinakh is merely a "political decoy" deployed to test the political ground for Serhiy Tyhypko, whom Moscow is grooming to succeed Kuchma. Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of the Motherland Party and former deputy premier, said she was sure Kinakh's candidature won't get the necessary votes.
President Kuchma commented that if the parliament fails to support his nominee on 29 May, the vote would reveal that another political clan has been created in parliament. In this case, he promised to delay the installation of the acting prime minister until after the parliamentary elections next spring. Kinakh said he would agree to be acting premier if parliament fails to approve his candidacy for the post.
Anti-presidential referendum team denied registration
The Central Electoral Committee (CEC) refused to register a Cherkasy-based initiative group for the All-Ukrainian referendum aimed at the removal of President Leonid Kuchma from office. The CEC passed its resolution unanimously on 22 May.
The All-Ukrainian Committee for the preparation of the referendum was established on 27 April. Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the Motherland Party and former deputy prime minister became is the committee's chairperson. The committee comprises of representatives of over 50 political parties and NGOs including the Motherland Party, the Socialist Party, the Ukrainian People's Party (Sobor) and the Ukrainian Republican Party.
On 3 May, the initiative group approved two questions to be put forward for a nationwide referendum: firstly, a no-confidence vote against President Kuchma; and secondly, on the redistribution of power among the parliament, the government and the president.
According to Yulia Tymoshenko, speaking during an internet chat session organized by the Ukrayinska Pravda website, the move of the CEC "proves that the President is afraid of referendum." She claims the decision of the CEC will not prevent initiators of the referendum from continuing their efforts. Members of the group said they would file a suit before the Supreme Court and resume mass protest actions. If the court refuses to let the referendum go ahead, Yulia Tymoshenko says her group "will start an open collection of people's signatures demanding the early resignation of the president."
On Thursday 24 May the Parliament failed again to put on the agenda the question of the impeachment of President Leonid Kuchma: only 200 MPs voted to put the issue on the agenda. The attempt to start the procedure of impeachment was undertaken on 26 April but parliament has fallen short of the votes needed to pass the resolution.
Monument to murdered journalists disappeared
The monument put up in downtown Kyiv by govenment opposition groups in commemoration of murdered Ukrainian journalists was dismantled on the night of 22 May, just one day after it was erected.
The monument—a granite stele—was produced in Rivne by a private company for the Ukraine without Kuchma Committee. It was put up on 21 May in the square near the UNIAN news agency. The names of all Ukrainian journalists who were killed, among them Heorhiy Gongadze, who disappeared last fall and would have marked his 32nd birthday on 21 May, were inscribed on the monument. The installation place was kept secret until the last moment to prevent interference by authorities.
By 23 May the monument had already disappeared. According to the General Director of the UNIAN news agency, Mykhailo Batikh, on the morning of 23 May, the monument was taken away by approximately 15 people in civilian clothing.
On 23 May, Yuri Lutsenko, co-chairman of the Ukraine without Kuchma Committee, announced that the stele had been found and would be erected again at the same spot before the weekend. According to him, the authorities initiated the dismantling.
Iryna Solonenko, 25 May 2001
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