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Why Ukraine has not succeeded in democratization under Yushchenko?

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Yuriy Matsiyevsky
Presentation prepared for the Center for European Studies
University of Florida,
Gainesville, January 24, 2012

Published in: News & Politics
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Why Ukraine has not succeeded in democratization under Yushchenko?

  1. 1. Why Ukraine has notsucceeded in democratization under Yushchenko? Yuriy Matsiyevsky Presentation prepared for the Center for European Studies University of Florida, Gainesville, January 24, 2012
  2. 2. Major questions Why after the "Orange Revolution" political process did not go toward the establishment of democratic rules, but rather accompanied by unregulated political rivalry that eventually led to the defeat of the "orange team" in presidential and local elections in 2010?  Why, after the power change in 2004 political agreement were not kept as well as before 2004.?  What impact has the practice of "game without rules" in the political process in the recent past and now, and where the causes for the devolution of constitutionalism in Ukraine?
  3. 3. Basic concept Institutional trap – ineffective, but durable norms, which all major players are not interested to change. Operating code of political culture, following G. Meyer, is a set of the dominant rules and norms, attitudes and patterns of behavior that determine the actual functioning of politics at the level of elites and masses. Involution of constitutionalism is a process of  the systematic violation of the principle of rule of law that is manifested in selective use of law and violation of both the laws and procedures for their approval.
  4. 4. Scenarios of elite conflictsBalance of Coercion cheaper Cooperation cheaperrecourses/ cost than thanof strategies cooperation coercionEven distribution “War of all against “Struggle according toof recourses all” the rules” (institutionalamong actors compromise)One-sided “Winner takes all” “Cartel-like deal”prevalence of (co-optation ofresources subordinated actors by the dominant
  5. 5. Factors influencing the players’ behavior High uncertainty (inability to predict he outcome of the action taken) Shifting balance of recourses (formal and informal influence, public support) and hidden information determine the cost of strategies Having limited recourses, players tend to play a zero-sum game. The deals they have reached were rather tactical calculations in pursuing “the winner takes all” strategies All of the above cause the commitment problem. A deal, even after being reached, has low chances to be fulfilled. By downgrading the Constitution, players deprived themselves of the mechanism to enforce commitments.
  6. 6. The traits of the “Bad” or informal pacts while good pacts are based upon mutual acceptance of competition among elites, bad pacts are designed to avoid elite competition. while good pacts provide institutional guarantees for participants that are enforced by formal institutions, bad pacts are based upon informal institutional arrangements or uncertain procedures while "good pact" are public contracts, "bad pact", even if they become public, contain a significant component of the informal nature, which rarely becomes known to public. Therefore, these covenants I call informal pacts. Finally, while "good pact" promote democratic political culture of elites that can be considered as their added social value, "bad pacts" are reached exclusively for the survival of political players and bear
  7. 7. Informal pacts during the Yushchenko’s presidency Dec.8, 2004- changes to Constitution in exchange of revote of the second round and election of V.Yushchenko a President. Consequences: Detrimental  for the legitimate procedure of overcoming the political crisis, this ‘’Deal’ resulted in systematic escalation of key issues arising in political process. Constitutional reform, which entered into force on 01/01/2006 has significantly reduced the power of the newly elected president, who obviously did not want to bear it and continued to act as if he had the same prerogatives as before. Tensions that existed at the personal level between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko have intensified an unclear division of power between the president and the prime minister . After working for eight months, on 09/ 08/2005 the Tymoshenko’s government was forsed by Yushchenko to resignation. It was done due to still existing  presidential power, but mostly for preventing the shift of power in favor of Premiere.
  8. 8. The rivalry with Tymoshenko and a “Deal” with Yanukovuch Memorandum of Understanding between the government and opposition was signed two weeks after Tymoshenko’s dismissal on Sep.22, 2005 Consequences: Yushchenko received additional parliamentary support, but bear 50% loss in public support (from 30% in Aug.2005 to 14% in Nov.2005) Yanukovych and his PofR were given a lift into a power play on the eve of parliamentary election After winning the election with 34 % of the votes and 41% of seats PofR forget about the deal and formed an “anti-crisis coalition” with socialists and communists.
  9. 9. A pact (Universal) of National Unity Loosing parliamentary support Yushchenko suggested a new deal that was signed by all faction’s leaders, besides Tymoshenko, on Aug.3, 2005 The President secured 5 ministers in the new government in exchange for nominating Yanukovych for the post of prime-minister. PofR has received a dominant position in parliament and Yanukovych has received access to the sate recourses. “Orange camp” was disunited and appeared in ambivalent position in Parliament. In case of securing a constitutional majority in Parliament a coalition could effectively overcome the Presidents’ veto and threaten Yushchenko by impeachment. After a new law on the cabinet of ministers (Dec.21, 2006) that enable a Prime Minister to dismiss the presidential ministers, Yushchenko had to wage a war on two fronts and situation in Ukraine became a war of all against all.
  10. 10. Political crisis and dismissal of the Rada Threatened by the growing number of a new coalition, Yushchenko issued a decree to dismiss the parliament on Apr.2, 2007. On Apr.3, Rada adopted a law preventing the national bank to finance the election. On Apr.25 Yushchenko issued another decree, confirming the dismissal of the Rada and established a parliamentary election for June 24, 2007. On Apr.26 the faction of PofR announced the readiness to initiate the procedure of impeachment of the President. The crisis was resolved by a new deal on May 4, 2007 between the President, Prime-Minister and the speaker of parliament O.Moroz On June 5 Yushechenko issued a new decree that stopped the former edicts and, finally, on July 31 issued the fourth decree in which a date of the pre-term elections was established on Sep. 30, 2007.
  11. 11. Tymoshenko – Yakukovych deal on the new Constitution (2008-2009) The deal had several objectives: to lessen uncertainty over the result of presidential elections To secure their control over executive and legislative power by introducing a parliamentary system. What prevent the deal? Lack of credible commitments in both parties Leak of information to the press
  12. 12. Devolution of constitutionalism and its implications The former discussion present the case of devolution of constitutionalism Political expediency subverted procedural requirements High uncertainty, caused by the disrespect for democratic decision-making procedures pushed all key players to resolve conflicts by negotiating informal pacts, which further intensified uncertainty and complicated the choice of "playing by the rules."
  13. 13. Institutional Trap in Ukraine’s politics Devolution of constitutionalism brought Ukrainian elites to "institutional trap" – they realised malignancy of informal agreements but continued to use them in the hope of winning over the opponents. Trying to beat one another in a game of two against one in a triangle of president, prime minister and speaker with permanent change of sides, prevented the elites form initiating structural reforms in Ukraine and distanced it from the democratic standards of policy making.
  14. 14. Final remarks The first two imply structural and the last two procedural constrains of Ukraine’s transition that are rarely discussed in scholarly researches informal pacts have become an integral part of the "operational code"of political culture of Ukrainian elites In Ukraine, both elites and citizens have substantive rather than procedural attitude to good governance that was once called “momentocracy”. In other words, if the end justifies the means, the question of compliance with the rules is less important. Inability to predict the consequences of their actions is a distinct feature of  unprofessionalism of Ukrainian elites. Personal sympathies/antipathies have become a front line in Ukrainian politics in post-orange period. This led some observers to conclude that Ukraine belongs to Byzantine rather than European political tradition.
  15. 15. Model of devolution of constitutionalism

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