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“No Excuse for Failure” - Experts on High Hopes Placed in Zelenskyy
29 July, 2019
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One week after the early parliamentary elections in Ukraine we invited experts to discuss the new parliament and those who will take the majority of seats – presidential party Servant of the People.

Secretary general of the Independent Defense Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO) Olena Tregub argues that “people are not afraid of giving Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his party full power.” But that also mean there will now be “no excuse for failure”. In her opinion has proven itself a democratic country where people are not afraid to take to the streets and overthrow those abusing power.

Tregub views Zelenskyy as somebody who gave people another option other than old, experienced politicians such as Petro Poroshenko or Yulia Tymoshenko. Despite even Western analysts considering Tymoshenko for the PM post, the defense expert dismissed such a scenario from the start.

The executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center Daria Kaleniuk believes now that Zelenskyy has all branches of power, the test for him will be to ensure the judicial branch is free of his influence. She goes as far as saying that the first initiative expected from Zelenskyy should be “a reboot of the judicial system.”

One of the biggest concerns for Kaleniuk is acting minister Ulana Suprun’s medical reform that might be abandoned by the new government. This is especially worrying in the light of differing messages coming from Zelenskyy and his team. At the same time, there are also positive observations. The anti-corruption expert calls the prospect of Ruslan Ryaboshapka becoming Prosecutor General promising because he has already initiated a lot of changes in judiciary. Kaleniuk firmly believes he has the “will and desire to change the system.”

Director of the Institute For Global Transformations in Kyiv Oleksii Semenii calls the next five years “a huge challenge for Zelenskyy, his team and the whole country.” because they are expected to change what has been around for 27 years in a short period of time. But if he succeeds, it could be “the start of a real revolution.” However, he warns against expecting quick results.

Drawing parallels with 2004, Semenii argues that expectations were even higher than today. Thus Ukrainians have already had a huge letdown but still opted to have hope.

“Even the best MPs need 12-18 months to understand how to go through the whole legislative process.” 

Matthew Kupfer, the Kyiv Post's news editor, hears “the deafening sound of public’s boot of discontent making contact with the buttocks of the political establishment,” which is a global trend. 

Speaking of the medical reform which has a lot of opposition among new politicians, Kupfer fails to see a good alternative to Ulana Suprun’s project. He believes the idea of the insurance-based system is “worrying” because it is reminiscent of the problematic British NHS.

Summing up expectations people have for Zelenskyy and his team, the journalist says “no excuses would be acceptable for failure to deliver results,” and emphasizes the importance of removing parliamentary immunity.

What experts do agree on is the need for Interior Minister Arsen Avakov – who has been in office since 2014 – to go. 

Watch the full show here.