Yanukovich Offers Yushchenko Prime Minister Job

Ukraine PM’s desperate offer (The Australian)

UKRAINE’S peaceful orange revolution was on the brink of victory last night as the thousands in Kiev’s Independence Square cheered the latest concession from the country’s authoritarian regime. Pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, the official winner of presidential elections widely claimed to have been rigged, last night offered the prime ministership to pro-Western rival Viktor Yushchenko. “If my victory is confirmed, I am ready to offer the post of prime minister to Viktor Yushchenko,” said Mr Yanukovich, adding that under proposed constitutional reforms the post would become the most important in the country. If, however, the result is annulled by the Supreme Court, which last night began a second day of hearings into Mr Yanukovich’s complaint that Sunday’s election was stolen from him, he would propose holding a new poll without either of them as a candidate.

Mr Yushchenko rejected the desperate offer to cling to power. “No, I cannot accept these proposals,” he said.

As the protest movement became more confident that momentum was heading its way, Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that Moscow would respect the results of any new election. Mr Yanukovich’s mentor, outgoing President Leonid Kuchma, less than 24 hours earlier conceded that the election should be re-run. Mr Kuchma, who has ruled the former Soviet state for the past decade, said this appeared to be the only way to resolve the crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of protesters rally on the streets of Kiev and other cities in freezing conditions for more than a week.

Mr Yushchenko is widely expected to win any fair election, after his popularity has been demonstrated by the size and passion of the crowds that have jammed the streets waving flags and scarves of orange, his campaign colour.

This one appears to be about over. If the supreme court rules that Yanukovich committed fraud and Yushchenko actually won, simply installing Yushchenko certainly makes more sense than a do-over election.

FILED UNDER: Europe
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. There’s some buzz out there to the effect that all the nice words from the oligarchs is nothing but a charm offensive designed to keep the issue in doubt until the opposition gets its fill of cold, hunger, and the thousand other slings and arrows one might face in a tent in winter.

    This thing ain’t over by a long shot.

    Cheers…

  2. BigFire says:

    The president & current prime minister’s nuclear option is for partition, in which they’ll have use arms to achieve that limited goal. The Ukrain constitutation does not allow for that, short of arm rebellion.

  3. Rusty says:

    Since when was Wierd Al Ukranian?

  4. I didn’t even know Wierd Al was Ukranian…
    ….let alone Prime Minister….