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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Challenges for Klitschko

UDAR has power and 500 days to realize the chance of turning Kyiv into a modern European city, expert says
11 June, 2014 - 17:18

On the whole, 56.7 percent of voters voted for Klitschko, and UDAR won 73 places in the Kyiv Council: these are the official results of Kyiv elections. Whereas Klitschko’s victory in mayor’s elections was predictable, the results of the voting to the city council are unexpectedly too high. What awaits Kyiv?

The first problem Klitschko is facing is his team, because under the brand of UDAR several people of former mayor Chernovetsky and former Regionnaires got to the City Council. Political scientist Viktor NEBOZHENKO described them as “people with high corruption potential.”

“Most likely, these people came to Klitschko’s team by Solidarity quote,” political scientist Viktoria PODHORNA told The Day. “His faction in Kyiv Council had a conflict with the Chernovetsky bloc, and I don’t think Vitalii could have changed his point of view in this respect. These people will hardly influence the leader of UDAR. Podhorna thinks that if these deputies go against the principal stand of the faction, it is possible that they will leave. “Maybe, these ambiguous persons will create a group in the Kyiv Council separately from UDAR,” the political scientist says.

People’s Deputy from UDAR Pavlo ROZENKO could not give a clear answer to The Day’s question how former Regionnaires and Chernovetsky’s people could go to the Kyiv Council through the party lists. “If in a while there are facts that will prove improper activity of the deputies, Vitalii Klitschko won’t tolerate this, taking a rigid anti-corruption stand. We won’t allow anyone to discredit the UDAR party and personally Vitalii Klitschko,” Rozenko stated.

Another problem the newly elected mayor is facing is uniting of the posts of the head of KCSA and mayor. Klitschko, as the most interested person, from the very beginning stated that there is a need to combine these posts “to realize the expectations of Kyivites,” but at Verkhovna Rada session on June 3 there were not enough votes – only 224 MPs supported this decision.

“By this voting Batkivshchyna is trying to take revenge at Vitalii Klitschko. There have been no discussions on combining these two posts. But everyone understands that the city should be managed by a person with corresponding powers and possibilities,” Rozenko says.

“VR is playing political games rather than holding real reforms,” Podhorna says, “This is the reason why the society does not trust it. And the question is not about the Regionnaires, but the fact that there is no consolidated stand in power regarding the reforms. Maidan was not heard and its demand to change the system, not people, has not been fulfilled.”

The political scientist mentioned that there have already been attempts to unite the posts of the KCSA head and mayor of Kyiv, even Batkivshchyna submitted analogical draft laws, which meet the current political trend to decentralization, i.e., delegating the powers from the executive power to local government. “It uses as the ground French and Polish models, where state administration performs only the function of a monitor. Of course, the mayor cannot receive all the power, and there is governmental balance to prevent this,” Podhorna explains.

The political scientist thinks that unprecedented high support of Klitschko means that Kyivites expect changes and reforms in the city. That is why the Kyiv mayor must have broad powers for their realization. “There is a ground now for his conflicts with the head of KCSA,” Podhorna notes.

On the other hand, there is another possibility to appoint Klitschko the head of the KCSA, like the leader of UDAR stated after the elections of May 25. This can be done by the newly elected President Petro Poroshenko. But Podhorna is skeptical about this possibility. “The newly elected president cannot ignore the opinion of the current parliament. He cannot be a partner of only one political force,” the political scientist states.

Podhorna is sure that the posts of the head of KCSA and mayor of Kyiv should be united, because this is the first symptom of the change of the system and decentralization of power. “If no changes can be implemented in Kyiv, what are the guaranties that they will take place in other cities of Ukraine? These are concessions not only to Klitschko, but all the regions of the country,” the political scientist emphasizes.

There is the third problem connected with Vitalii Klitschko’s performing of the duties of the city mayor. The city has been suffering from the arbitrariness of Chernovetsky’s team for several years, and his activity has not been improved by Regionnaires headed by Oleksandr Popov. Over this time many problems have arisen, solving of which will be a marker of efficient activity of Vitalii Klitschko on the new post.

“Kyiv has many issues which need to be solved urgently, within the short 500-day-long term given to the mayor of Kyiv, Vitalii Klitschko,” head of analytical center “Institute of City” Oleksandr SERHIIENKO told The Day. The expert thinks that a prerequisite for solving the problems is holding an audit and establishing what property, lands, and finances belong to the community. Namely then it will be possible to speak about the efficiency of the activity of the mayor. “First, transparent procedures of making decisions by the city council must be established,” Serhiienko continues, “for the people to take an active part in the process of managing their city. Secondly, there are problems in the housing and communal services, because natural monopolies are controlled by oligarchs, not the community. There are problems with the infrastructure – the worn-out networks,” the expert says.

But Oleksandr Serhiienko is quite optimistic in his preliminary assessment of the future activity of the newly-elected mayor, saying that Klitschko’s good name is at stake. “His faction in Kyiv Council was the only one that clearly and principally resisted the split-up of the property by the ‘young team’ of Chernovetsky. Klitschko can use his name to involve the best professionals, experts, and managers in realization of his purpose to turn Kyiv into a modern European city,” the expert shares his opinion.

So, Klitschko is facing serious challenges. Along with the current problems of the city which have been accumulating for years, the leader of the UDAR already in the near future will have to solve the questions of his personal powers and staff, for in 1.5 years local elections will take place. And the results of his work during this period will show what his political future will be.


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