Bad score for European integration
The week began with a new attempt at fabricating a “Tymoshenko case” and ended with Yanukovych signing Tax Code amendments, one of which is clearly aimed at blocking Vitaly Klitschko’s presidential aspirations. On Friday it also became clear that any resolution regarding Tymoshenko’s imprisonment has been put off until next Wednesday. That is, of course, if we assume that the pretence is to be continued to the end that the decision rests with parliament. It would be hard to find an analyst who does not believe that it is Yanukovych who will decide whether his main rival and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko will at least be allowed to have treatment in Germany.
By Friday many analysts, politicians and journalists were openly suggesting that the Party of the Regions is moving towards sabotaging Vilnius.
On Thursday Pat Cox and Aleksandr Kwaśniewski made it clear that the last chance for passing the vital laws needed if the EU-Ukrainian Association Agreement was 12-13 November. On Friday the draft laws on the Public Prosecutor and on amendments to electoral legislation were passed in their first reading.
However the main stumbling block remains as far from resolution as ever. On Friday parliament created a working group to rework a draft law on treatment of prisoners. Since prior to that the Party of the Regions had stated categorically that they would not support any of the four current draft laws, and some Regions Party MPs have tried to suggest that there’s no way for Tymoshenko to be released before the Summit, optimism is difficult. Either they are playing for time, waiting for Yanukovych to make a decision, or they are, as many are suggesting, going all out to make the Summit a flop.
The president did not, however, procrastinate as regards another law. As reported, on Oct. 24, Speaker Rybak, without any discussion, called a vote in its second reading of a draft bill with amendments to the Tax Code. The relevant amendment to the Tax Code states that if a person pays taxes in another country, he can be considered a resident of the other country, which would therefore prevent him standing for president in Ukraine, since there is a 10-year residential requirement.
While a constitutional law expert for the Centre for Legal and Political Reform believes that this cannot stand in Klitschko’s way, the amendment is at very least strange and fairly overtly written with the popular UDAR leader in mind.