This week MPs have to consider draft bills required for signing the Association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. Experts admit that the opposition and the Party of Regions are ready to cooperate, while the main battle in the parliament will happen between supporters and opponents of European integration. It may happen that the split will lead to formation of new factions and alliances.
Moreover, forthcoming presidential campaign of 2015 may also influence the work of the parliament. The opposition plans on nominating a single candidate for presidency, and the Party of Regions expects new opposition factions to cooperate. As for the formation of the state budget for 2014, it will surely become a matter of heated debates.
ForUm has asked experts about the work of the seventh parliament, its methods and possible results.
Spiridon Kilinkarov, MP (Communist faction):
- Considering the forthcoming presidential campaign, this session will be rather conflictive, and most of the conflicts will happen within opposition parties. The hottest period will fall on September-October, before signing the Association agreement and right after it. The sides will debate on soundness of the country's foreign policy. The consideration of the state budget is also expected to be complicated.
Oleksandr yefremov, MP, head of the Party of Regions faction:
- Nobody can foresee the development of events in the parliament. It is a hopeless affair, though I hope the parliament will work.
Taras Berezovets, political strategist, director of consulting company Berta Communications:
- The key decision to make is to adopt the package of draft bill on European integration. Considering the conflicts we can observe already now, any scenarios are possible. Moscow has its agents in our Verkhovna Rada, and their task is to sabotage the adoption of European integration laws with any means possible. However, the majority of MPs, including the Party of Regions, non-faction deputies, "UDAR", "Motherland" and may be "Freedom" will stay focused, and the package might be adopted already this week. "The law on extending rights of sexual minorities", though, may become an exception. I doubt the majority will adopt it.
Vadym Karasyov, expert, political scientist:
- Three important issues to be considered by the parliament include preparations to Vilnius Summit, presidential campaign and state budget for 2014. The Association agreement is no doubt the most important trend, which means the conflict between the power and opposition will be less obvious, but disputes between pro-European and anti-European political forces will get more heated. The first group may include "Motherland", "UDAR", "Freedom", majority of the Party of Regions. The second one - Communists and a part of the Party of Regions, meaning misbalance will be within both the ruling majority and opposition. Presidential campaign will increase the tension as well, when every faction will promote its own candidate.
And all these events will happen amid unclear economic situation and the process of formation of the state budget for 2014. Considering the economic slowdown, the state budget will have less possibilities for expenses, but appetites of various oligarch groups will not disappear. Thus, serious wars for the access to budget pie cannot be ruled out.
Oleksandr Paliy, independent expert, political scientist:
- We do not have problems with the quantity of draft bills, but with their quality. We need reforms in the system of self government, law enforcements, justice, but our authorities are incapable to carry out reforms.
During this session the parliament will have to adopt the laws required by the European integration course. Moreover, Yanukovych ordered to make a decision regarding Tymoshenko. I hope it will be done.
Volodymyr Rybak, speaker of the parliament:
- New session cannot be calmer, as presidential election is closer. This election will definitely influence the work of the parliament, when candidates from every faction will criticize each other all the time. However, comparing to previous two sessions, MPs have grown up and the parliament is becoming a real institution of power.
Andriy Parubiy, MP, ("Motherland" faction):
- The key task of this session is to adopt the laws required for Association and free trade area agreements. And the opposition has already declared its readiness to support parliamentary initiatives promoting European integration.
Kost Bondarenko, expert, political scientist, chairman of the Institute of Ukrainian politics:
- New session of the parliament has two principle packages of laws to adopt. The first one includes eurointegration laws, aimed to become the basis of the Association agreement, and I believe the power and opposition will demonstrate their ability to cooperate. The second complex of laws includes draft bills on the state budget for 2014, which must stipulate numerous social issues. And in this case every MP will hog the blanket, thus the process of adoption may linger.
Dmytro Korchynski, president of the Institute for regional policy and modern political science study:
- It is hard to forecast parliamentary processes, but I hope the new session will be more spectacular. We may see new battlefield techniques, fights. I hope for bigger drive this time.
Oleh Zarubinski, MP (Party of Regions):
- I expect the session to be tense and rich. The parliament needs to adopt a number of fateful for Ukraine decisions regarding the Association agreement, but forthcoming presidential election will influence the behavior of certain political players. I think some of them will step over the bounds of civilized norms and it will cause tension and escalation. However, I expect the common sense to prevail, and political squabbles and ambitions to yield to important decisions.
Vitaly Yarema, MP ("Motherland"):
- I cannot say how conflictive this session may be, but I can assure that the opposition is ready to work fruitfully and adopt necessary laws. If the majority and ruling party work within legal frames we are ready to cooperate. Moreover, I do not expect any conflicts within the opposition. I sure three political forces can agree. We have a common goal. The most topical issues for us include foreign policy course and trade war with Russia.
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