In a statement made on the square outside Kyiv’s Lavra church June 7, Viktor Yanukovych said he supports the election of the president by the direct vote pf Ukrainians. Hitherto, rumors were rife that BYUT and the Party of Regions closed circle of negotiators discussed electing the president by Verkhovvna Rada lawmakers. Pres Yushchenko lambasted the plan (incidentally, widely publicized by media representatives) as a state coup that will lead to the emergence of a junta in Ukraine.
In his statement, Viktor Yanukovych said, among other things:
“Hard times demand reforms. We must reform the constitution, institutions of power and the economy. The present situation endangers our economic well-being and the independence of Ukraine. However, decisions on how to reform Ukraine cannot be taken in secrecy from our people.”
Only the leaders who can sacrifice their own political ambitions can save Ukraine from the looming economic and political bankruptcy. Alone, no party or leader will be able to achieve this. Ukraine can be saved by uniting the efforts of all political players regardless of the differences they have, Yanukovych continued.
I have been stressing the need for unification since 2005, the PR leader said. The long-overdue talks with BYUT have started.
It became clear to me that, even given the readiness of all participants to go for serious compromises, the new coalition will be faced with a number of problems it won’t be able to solve soon.
However, the proximity of the presidential election makes the formation of a new cabinet senseless. The few months left before the election won’t be enough to start serious anti-crisis work. We discussed proposals to change the constitution to elect the new president in VR and extend the tenure of VR. The purpose of these proposals was to give the new cabinet and coalition time to realize their economic agendas.
These changes in the constitution had to be made very quickly. It means that there won’t be any public discussion of the constitutional changes. I think, it is a rollback from democracy – we must hear the voice of the people.
It was this consideration that raised my concerns before making a final decision to join in a coalition with BYUT.
I also had big concerns about the proposed way to elect a new president. Of course, electing the president in VR would save time and money so much needed now. Meanwhile, such back-room decisions would raise suspicions on the part of Ukrainians and send a message that politicians do not respect the people. The will of the people should be respected, Yanukovych declared.
I have to say that the talks with our partners have a big future potential. The way to unification we have jointly cleared will remain our common asset. We will sure put it to good use. It will happen right after the presidential election. The president elected by the direct vote of his people will be able to unify the country, he summed up.