President Kuchma's call for a shift of power from the presidency to the parliament ("Kuchma's great U‑turn," Aug. 29) could be an acknowledgement that Viktor Yushchenko would become president within two years time. If this occurs, the benefits of the existing strong presidential powers would no longer be available to the present "party of power." Worse still, these powers could now be used against it to settle old scores. Strong presidential rule is only an asset if you are in control of it.
In Ukraine's political landscape, the only place where the existing "party of power" could still have influence after the next presidential election is in the Rada. The rules of the last parliamentary election allowed it to obtain a significant role in it, even though it finished a distant third in the popular vote.
It is maybe now in the interest of the president and his supporters to shift power into this political body, where they still would be able to use their position for their own benefit.
For Ukraine, the move from presidential to parliamentary democracy would not necessary solve anything. The problems that have plagued Ukraine are not a result of the existence of the wrong type of political system, but how it is used (or abused).
A strong presidential system may in fact be most beneficial to Ukraine at the present time. Ukraine is now seeking European Union and NATO membership. To achieve these goals will requires the implementation of rapid reforms, so Ukraine can catch up with it East European counterparts. A strong central authority could implement the needed changes.
What Ukraine needs today, more than political reform, are politicians who are willing to use their power to build a nation that allows all Ukrainians to be able to benefit from independence, not just themselves.