After long pause, “Batkivshchyna” leader Yuliya Tymoshenko appeared in media again. In her speech during the “Freedom of Speech” program on the ICTV channel, she criticized the government sharply and suggested initiatives that do not conform to Ukrainian legislation.
Her previous absence from information space was caused by the fact that, in December and January, agenda for discussions in media was shaped by president Petro Poroshenko. First, the society and the parliament were discussing his initiative to introduce martial law. The martial law was imposed in all regions that border with Russia for 30-day period. Poroshenko’s opponents, particularly Radical Party leader Oleh Liashko and Yuliya Tymoshenko, accused Poroshenko of attempting to postpone the presidential elections and abuse human rights. However, the elections were not postponed, nor any serious human right violations were observed. Due to the martial law, several military units were restructured and new reservists trained.
Autocephaly for Ukrainian Orthodox Church and granting of Tomos was another hotly discussed topic during recent months. According to the Democratic Initiatives Foundation poll, Ukrainians chose obtainment of Tomos as the most important event of the last year. No wonder that this issue was widely covered and discussed in media. No other candidate, including Yuliya Tymoshenko, was able to offer another issue for discussion that could have eclipsed Poroshenko initiatives. The only exception could be unexpected New Year congratulations by Volodymyr Zelenskyi shown on the 1+1 channel instead of Petro Poroshenko’s speech. But it provoked not a thoughtful discussion, but a barrage of infuriated comments criticizing Zelenskyi for breaking 27-year-long tradition of independent Ukraine.
After Tomos for Ukrainian Orthodox Church was granted, a vacuum in media emerged and “Batkivshchyna” leader filled it immediately. Her party website cites her main speech theses.
The “Batkivshchyna” party leader Yuliya Tymoshenko is convinced that immediately after the presidential election in Ukraine, the new president should ensure the holding of an all-Ukrainian referendum on the adoption of a new Constitution, which will destroy the system of governance by clans. The new president must also put into practice the new economic course developed by experts, which offers a fundamentally new financial policy, tax system, working conditions for entrepreneurs and agrarians, which in turn will stop the massive outflow of Ukrainians abroad.
“The first thing that the new Ukrainian president should do after the election is start a national referendum on the adoption of a new Constitution that will destroy the clan-oligarchic system of governance of the country and give real powers to the citizens. The new Constitution should build a system of balances and counterbalances, where clans cannot influence the processes in the country,” Yuliya Tymoshenko said during the “Freedom of Speech” program on ICTV.
Let’s recall that Tymoshenko offered changes to the Constitution during the presentation of her “New Course” program. According to these changes, Ukraine would transform into parliamentary republic where a head of state would be elected not by the people but by MPs. This proposal is similar to the draft constitutional changes that were developed by her party in 2009 during her secret negotiations with Viktor Yanukovych aimed to divide the power between their political forces. Fortunately, deep distrust between Tymoshenko and Yanukovych prevented this initiative from being implemented.
During her speech, Tymoshenko emphasized that the Constitution should be adopted on a national referendum. This statement raised many observers’ eyebrows, since, according to the Article 92 of the acting Constitution, procedures for conduction of elections and referendums are determined by the law. The only problem is that there is no valid Ukrainian law on referendum.
Two former heads of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Ihor Popov and Oleksandr Chernenko, voiced their criticism of such approach in their comments on Facebook. “Even the CEC [Central Election Commission] would not hold a referendum without a law,” Popov noted.
“This is complete nonsense. There are numerous procedures, including formation of commissions, collecting of signatures etc. For starters, the parliament should allocate budget costs for this initiative. Of course, YuVT [Yuliya Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko] can tell whatever she likes, but legitimacy of such referendum would be like of those held in ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’,” Chernenko wrote.
We should also recall that, in 2009, the constitutional changes for Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc were drafted by Viktor Medvedchuk who has Putin as his godfather. This was revealed by ex-president Leonid Kravchuk. Key idea of that constitutional draft was to concentrate all powers in single hands. This should have been realized through a “chancellor republic” model, according to which winning political party gets half of all parliamentary seats plus one and ability to form government. In other words, winning party would not have needed any partners for creating coalition and would have been able to make decisions unilaterally, without consulting anyone else. This would have led to usurpation of power. In many regards, this idea was transferred to the new Tymoshenko’s Constitution project which is de facto a slightly updated version of the old draft.
Among many Tymoshenko’s statements, another one stands out: she accused Ukrainian government again in benefitting from the war without saying a single word about Russian president Vladimir Putin who have started and fuels the war. By doing so, she demonstrated once more that she is Putin’s preferred candidate during the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine.