What Zelensky did and did not do in the month of 2 as president of Ukraine
On Sunday, July 21, elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will be held. The “Servant of the People” party, won by the new president of the country, Vladimir Zelensky, will almost certainly win them. Judging by polls, almost half of Ukrainians are ready to vote for her. The party owes its popularity, first and foremost, to Zelensky himself, who in the first two months of the presidency is in conflict with the Ukrainian elite, but this has not damaged his image at all.
What did Zelensky
The powers of the president of Ukraine are limited: for example, he cannot appoint the prime minister and ministers, and also dismiss them without the consent of the Verkhovna Rada, writes Medusa. But the head of state can dissolve the Ukrainian parliament itself under certain conditions. Zelensky took advantage of this on the very first day of his presidency. As a legal justification for the dissolution, he used the fact that the ruling coalition has not had a majority of deputies since the beginning of 2016 of the year (although this did not prevent the Rada from approving the current government of Vladimir Groisman). The new election, which was to be held in October, was postponed to July 21. Prior to the elections, the previous composition of the Council continued its work, its last meeting was 12 July.
Deputies responded Zelensky sabotage his initiatives. The President proposed that the Rada carry out electoral reform and cancel the election of half of the deputies in single-member constituencies. According to him, in such elections, those who simply bribe voters win regularly. As a result, this bill was simply not included in the agenda. The election of July 21 will be held on the old mixed system: half will go by party lists, half - single-mandate. For the presidential party “The Servant of the People”, this is rather a minus than a plus: many new people are running for it, and on the ground, the lack of experience with election campaigns can be critical. All other initiatives Zelensky, personnel and legislation, the Verkhovna Rada sabotaged in the same way.
Deputies tried to challenge the legality of their own dissolution, but the Constitutional Court supported the president.
Fired almost all governors
Another presidential prerogative, recorded in the constitution, is the dismissal and appointment of heads of regional state administrations, that is, governors of Ukrainian regions. 11 Jun Zelensky fired 15 from 24 regional leaders. In his plans and the resignation of the remaining - as soon as the right candidates are selected.
But here, not everything went smoothly, since according to the constitution the president should coordinate his decision with the government, and Zelensky’s relations with the ministers appointed by Petro Poroshenko did not exist. Clearly this procedure is not spelled out. In the end, after a dispute between the members of the government themselves, they approved the first appointees of the new president.
Opponents of Zelensky, as well as some Ukrainian media criticize his choice. The post of head of the Odessa administration was nominated businessman Andrei Andreichikov. The president was accused of the fact that this appointment was the payment of generous financial support for the “Servant of the People” by the entrepreneur. As a result, he withdrew Andrechikov’s candidacy and offered to hold an open competition. The new head of the Cherkassy region, Igor Shevchenko, allegedly found real estate in Russia. There are no complaints about the Transcarpathian governor Igor Bondarenko, but he is a pastry chef, and there is a wary attitude towards them since the time of Petro Poroshenko. Lawyer Markiyan Malskyy was elected head of the Lviv region after voting on Facebook.
Finally, the head of the Donetsk region Zelensky appointed Pavel Kirilenko, whose brother serves in the security forces of the self-proclaimed DNR (according to the president, the brothers do not communicate). And Lugansk region will be led by a former member of the pro-Russian Party of Regions, Vitaly Komarnitsky.
On the subject: Sociologists: For a month, Zelensky’s support has almost doubled
Many and effectively scolded officials
As a presidential candidate, Zelensky, right up to the debate with Poroshenko, avoided public confrontations with the Ukrainian elite. Becoming the head of state, he, on the contrary, made them part of his image. Zelensky's team almost every day publishes videos in which he attacks another official under the cameras, and sometimes dismisses him on the air.
Here he is reprimanding the Kiev mayor, Vitali Klitschko, for not paying for the trams ordered in the Dnieper. By phone, directly from the manufacturer.
That calls Nikolaev "gangster city" and dismisses the regional head.
But he expels Yaroslav Godunka, Secretary of the Boryspil City Council, from a meeting, and argues with the Mayor of Boryspil, Anatoly Fedorchuk, because of complaints from citizens about feces in one of the city’s lakes.
After the meeting, when the microphones were not yet turned off, Zelensky said that he would call his classmate Ivan Bakanov, whom he had appointed as deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine, to deal with “this devil” - it was about the door that was exposed to Godunka.
Zelensky could borrow a similar style of communication with officials from Mikhail Saakashvili, who in the first years of the presidency of Petro Poroshenko led the Odessa region. Saakashvili eventually quarreled with the president, was forced to leave Ukraine, and returned already at Zelensky. He is running for parliament, but his “Movement of New Forces” has almost no chance of overcoming the five percent barrier. Saakashvili called on his supporters to vote for the “Servant of the People”.
What Zelensky did not do
I could not dismiss ministers and quarreled with some of them
Immediately after the inauguration of Zelensky, Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman announced his intention to leave the post. Then something happened that initially seemed to be a purely theoretical possibility - the deputies voted against the resignation of the prime minister. On the same day, Zelensky asked Rada to remove the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasily Gritsak and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak from his posts - the deputies again voted against. Then he asked to send himself to resign Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin - but Rada refused him. Later, Zelensky himself appealed to the deputies with a request to dismiss Klimkin, as well as Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko - once again the refusal.
It came to a big conflict between the president and the head of the foreign ministry. In late June, the Russian Foreign Ministry sent a note to the Ukrainian embassy proposing the release of Ukrainian sailors captured in the Kerch Strait in November last year on charges of illegally crossing the border. In exchange, Russia asked for written guarantees of their participation in the future legal process. In response, Klimkin called this proposal a “Russian trap”, and moreover a “rather primitive one”. Zelensky, in turn, expressed outrage that the Minister did not inform him about his actions.
As a result, the president asked the prime minister to bring Klimkin to disciplinary responsibility, and Rada, for the second time, to dismiss the minister. And again received from the deputies. Klimkin himself said that he was going on political leave. According to the statement of Ukrainskaya Pravda, responsibility for the conflict lies with Zelensky’s entourage: the minister allegedly tried to reach the head of state, but they were not joined.
Not agreed with Russia on the release of captured sailors
Immediately after winning the presidential election, Zelensky said that the priority for him would be just the return of captured sailors. July 11 held its first conversation with Vladimir Putin, the main topic of which, according to the press service of Zelensky, was the release of prisoners. Zelensky later said that “all partners of Ukraine” objected to his call to Moscow.
But since then negotiations have not advanced. The President of Ukraine is demanding the return of Ukrainian sailors without prior conditions from Russia. At the same time, he is ready to exchange the head of RIA Novosti Ukraine, Cyril Vyshinsky, whom the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies accuse of treason, for director Oleg Sentsov, convicted in Russia for preparing the terrorist attack. However, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that “a wonderful first step towards the resumption of dialogue” would be Ukraine’s release of Vyshinsky.
So far, the Zelensky administration has only managed to defrost consultations on resolving the conflict in the Donbas. In particular, by order of the president, Ukrainian troops were withdrawn from the village of Lugansk - this is one of the conditions of the cease-fire achieved earlier. But experts find it difficult to say how far these negotiations can go.
He did not introduce the law on democracy, but he did not sign the law on impeachment
In Zelensky’s election program, it was said that the first law he would introduce would be about democracy by the people, that is, more active use of referendums and the possibility of recalling elected persons. A couple of weeks after the inauguration, it turned out that this is not one, but several bills, and it seems that not all of them are ready. The president’s team, according to his adviser and ideologue Ruslan Stefanchuk, cannot translate his plan, “because things arise every day that force plan A to add plan B, C and D”. A month after the inauguration, Zelensky’s team reported on 20 its first achievements, among which were 16 bills submitted to the Rada. Democracy and referenda as its key component was not among them, and rejected all the rest of the parliament.
A remarkable story happened with another initiative of Zelensky - about the impeachment of the president. The deputies out of habit rejected his own version of the corresponding bill, but they accepted the alternative proposed by the radical Oleg Lyashko. His Zelensky has not yet signed.
But the president put forward another initiative - to expose the lustration of senior officials, as well as deputies who held positions from the victory of Euromaidan to his own assumption of office. A similar law was passed under Poroshenko in relation to the officials who worked under Viktor Yanukovych.
However, polls show that Ukrainians most of all expect Zelensky to cut utility tariffs - success in this area is not very great either.
Not lost rating
Despite everything, Zelensky remains the most popular Ukrainian politician. In a survey conducted by the Ukrainian sociological group "Rating", 58% of respondents approved his activities at the presidential post. At the same time, more than 80% of respondents treat the work of the Rada poorly. The "Servant of the People" has excellent chances to achieve victory in parliamentary elections, several times ahead of all competitors.
But even the most favorable outcome of the election campaign does not guarantee Zelensky an absolute majority - due to the mixed election system to the Rada. This means that he will have to join the coalition. The key question is with whom. If with the other party, Golos, which is led by another Svyatoslav Vakarchuk from the world of show business, this should not become a too problematic union (according to polls, it is on the verge of passing a 5% barrier). This party has no clear program, and, like the Zelensky party, it reflects the request, first of all, for new faces.
But if it is necessary to negotiate with Yulia Tymoshenko’s “Fatherland”, then problems can arise. First, it will be an alliance with part of the old elite, which Zelensky’s voters are unlikely to enjoy. Secondly, Tymoshenko herself will certainly demand the most favorable conditions for himself. And the responsibility for possible failures in the eyes of the voters who provided Zelensky with phenomenal support will lie only on him.
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