Power struggle in Ukraine: actor against boxer


ein unequal struggle drives to its climax. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Selensky, is almost on target: he wants to deprive the mayor Vitali Klitschko capital. The fight is also unequaled, because here a man who was an actor and television producer until his election victory in April and has also used these resources politically, competes against a former world heavyweight boxing champion. On Wednesday, the new government approved the step requested by the President; now only its signature is missing. Thus, the struggle between the two most successful newcomers in Ukrainian politics in a new round.

Gerhard Gnauck

Gerhard Gnauck

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, based in Warsaw.

Kiev has as its capital two offices at its head: that of the mayor elected by the people and that of the head of the administration. The president can exchange the governors of districts in the country, which Selenskyj has already done in almost all regions. In Kiev, however, he must also appoint the elected mayor as head of administration. This was confirmed by the Ukrainian Constitutional Court in 2003. Selenskyj wants to take this double hat – or at least the executive half – from Klitschko, who has been in office since 2014, and reduce him, as his followers fear, to the representative role of a “British queen”.

In addition to the obvious desire of Selensky, to have a loyal executive, content issues in the decision seem to play only a minor role. But there are suspicions that could be relevant in court. For example, the head of the Presidential Office, the lawyer Andrij Bohdan, alleged in August that an alleged intermediary, Klitschko, offered him $ 20 million in bribes if he left the mayor alone. Kiev is a lucrative plaster as a construction and real estate market, on which permissions from the city hall play a major role. Klitschko responded by calling the country's anti-corruption bureau. It will not be easy for Selenskyj to put Klitschko aside; the mayor is popular, and his record is not the worst compared to that of his predecessors.

Klitschko is popular throughout the country

Together, the actor and the boxer had achieved as “anti-political” newcomers their first successes in a different business than the policy that was in Ukraine for a long time closely entwined with the “Biznes”, the opaque economic world, and a very bad reputation enjoyed. The successful and famous in a Hamburger boxing club Klitschko was looking for a new field of activity after the end of his sporting career. Many credited him with earning his dollar millions “with honest hands”, and abroad, under transparent conditions.

Twice he has fought in elections for the city hall; At times, when the former head of government, Yulia Tymoshenko, had been jailed in a politically controlled trial, he was the country's most popular opposition politician. Only on the third occasion did he succeed: when the pro-European Majdan demonstrations in 2014 set the country in motion, he won in Kiev with 57 percent of the votes in the first ballot. His presidential candidacy he had then withdrawn – in favor of his ally Petro Poroshenko, who was then also victorious.

While Selenskyj holds back with public statements in the ongoing dispute, the doctorate sports scientist Klitschko has now gone on the offensive and shows that he has not fallen on the lips. He has “good” personal relations with Selensky, “never have I heard reproaches from his side. We meet like old friends, “said the former sportsman on Friday the station BBC. However, he did not like the fact that in the political satire broadcasts produced by Selenskyj against him, Klitschko, he often did not like “jokes below the belt”, and he had said that to Selenskyj “several times” during meetings at social events. That is no longer satire, “this is not art”.

No quiet fellow traveler

The President's action against him is now being explained by Klitschko with a “trivial matter, the struggle for power.” The Selenskyj team has the mission to achieve a “reset” of power in the country. “There are legal means for that. They wanted a reset in parliament, so there were elections (in July). And if Klitschko as a mayor does not like someone, you do not have to place someone from above. Let's hold mayoral elections. “The right of citizens to determine their city should not be curtailed. Now to put a head of administration on his nose, “that's like sitting in a car with two drivers, each with their own steering wheel. This car will either not drive at all, or it will only come to the next intersection. “

Klitschko also does not exclude that it could be because he had supported the presidential candidate Poroshenko in April and not Selenskyj. But he does not regret this: Poroshenko has now foreign policy – albeit not domestic policy – “achieved a lot”, organized in the period of Russian aggression, the international support for Ukraine.

Of course, Klitschko also does not want to be understood as an opposition to the president and his party “Sluha Narodu” (The servant of the people) understood. But he is not uncritical: Even in the presidential campaign he had compared the politically inexperienced actor with a pilot who had to ask his passengers (the voters) where the journey was going. Meanwhile, he said, fly the machine, “but there is strong turbulence”.

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(TagToTranslate) Vitali Klitschko (t) Petro Poroshenko (t) Andrij Bohdan (t) Federal Constitutional Court (t) Dollar (t) power struggle (t) Ukraine


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