May 28, 2024

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Political battle for queue rages between Volodymyr Zelensky and Mayor Vitaly Klitschko

Political battle for queue rages between Volodymyr Zelensky and Mayor Vitaly Klitschko

Former boxer condemns campaign of intimidation against his municipal teams to defame him. Volodymyr Zelensky has not stopped facing him in the power struggle around the capital since the 2019 presidential election.

The feud between the president and the mayor of Kew is no big secret. It is coming to light now. Vitali Klitschko Condemned A “Unleashed Propaganda” held against him, In A solemn speechWednesday, June 21. “It seems that someone is keen to regain control of the capital”He got angry thinking that “People of Kiev [était devenue l’]Hostages to Political Struggle”. The former boxer did not mention Volodymyr Zelensky by name or his party’s “servant of the people”. But everyone understands that the feud between the two in Ukraine is old.

A major point of contention is the recent issue of air raid shelters. On the night of June 1, three people, including a minor, died in a Russian strike after finding the door closed at the entrance to the underground shelter. A controversy erupted that echoed the nation’s sentiments. This sad episode offended the sentiments of the community and immediately took on the appearance of a scandal.Comments to franceinfo Tetyana Ogarkova, journalist and head of the international branch of the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Volodymyr Zelensky and Vitali Klitschko accuse each other for political reasons.”

The two chosen ones are foot by foot

Nationalist sentiment did not prevent the head of state from harshly criticizing the mayor of Kew. “We don’t just have enemies in Russia, they are inside. Knockouts can happen.”, the President commented. A clear reference to the former boxer responsible for the tragedy. The city council member, for his part, recalled that the heads of the district, precisely responsible for opening and maintaining shelters, were appointed by the president.

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Intelligence specialists work outside a polyclinic in Kew, Ukraine, on June 1, 2023, after an overnight Russian strike.  (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP)

In November, already, a controversy had poisoned the relationship between the two. “I expect quality work from Kyiv City Hall”, had achieved The president, greatly angered by the malfunctions of the “points of invincibility”, allows these shelters to provide citizens with water and electricity for themselves. “In the current situation, I don’t want to get into a political fight”, had avoided the former boxer. not that “No time for political games”He reiterated in a German weekly Der SpiegelIn December.

Vitali Klitschko finally came out of his reserve on Wednesday. The court placed the city security chief under house arrest in connection with the air raid shelters case. An angry mayor has more blows “Endless searches paralyzing the work of city services”. “In times of war, they sow chaos in the administration of the capital”He was still angry.

An old dispute over local government

But this feud between the mayor and the president dates back long before the war. In 2010, the former boxer headed the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR), a center-right pro-European organization, and in 2014 was elected on the list of then-President Petro Poroshenko’s constituency. Since then, he has been gradually trying to relaunch his liberal party, suspended during the coalition games.

After the election of Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019, the president’s group already tried to impose a representative from its ranks as the head of the Kyiv City State Administration (KMDA) with the mayor. But capital has the peculiarity of entrusting these two functions to the same person – an exception in Ukraine. Vitali Klitschko then managed to hold two hats, after fighting and gaining the support of a section of the population.

The mayor of Kyiv (Ukraine), Vitaly Klitschko, during a press conference organized on July 26, 2019, condemns the president's desire to expel him from the head of the civil administration.  (NURPHOTO/AFP)

The new chapter in 2021 saw the President’s team withdraw from the mayor the opportunity to appoint the heads of the ten district administrations (RDA). Vitali Klitschko, this time, bowed out. The President is now responsible for appointments on the proposal of the Council of Ministers.

Finally, at the beginning of the war, the regional military administrations merged with the civil administrations, absorbing their prerogatives in passing. On cue, this so-called “KMVA” was handed over to officer Serhiy Popko, and the fighting was halted. At the time, the capital was struggling for its survival under the influence of the Russian advance. After the invasion forces were withdrawn and defeated, the municipality demanded an end to military rule. It is from there “Office of the President has stopped talking to Vitali Klitschko”confides to franceinfo Dmytro Bilotserkovets, head of the Udar group. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a photo where both of them appear.”

“They haven’t exchanged a single word since April 2022.”

Dmytro Bilotserkovets, head of the Udar group in the Kyiv City Council

At franceinfo

“There is no question of personal sympathy or hostility between President Zelensky and the mayor”, ousting Lilia Pashinna, who was elected from the minority “Servant of the People” group in the city council. But still “We see a complete chaos in the city administration”He told franceinfo, referring to the problem of accommodation, flooding after bad weather or “Overcharge” In road works. “When a person doesn’t do their job, they have to make way for more professional candidates.”

After the air raid shelter scandal, Zelensky’s entourage considered taking KMDA away from Vitali Klitschko at any cost. The civil administration, at present, has no powers. But presidential teams “At the end of the war, I want to control it when the legislative and presidential elections are organized.”, accused Dmytro Bilotservokets. The latter condemns repeated searches in municipal services – “More than five this week” – He is responsible for political decisions. “Governing the city now is very complicated.”

Centralization of power during war

Vitali Klitschko’s confidence rating dropped from 58% in March to 48% in May. According to the Razumkov Center. Far from Volodymyr Zelensky (85% and 83.5%). Several names are being floated today to head the KDMA, including popular Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaly Kim. “Who controls Kiev, controls Ukraine, it is sometimes said. All this may mark the start of the election campaign in 2024. But this political contest may present some risks for the capital”Tetyana Ogarkova analyzes.

Kicking out Vitali Klitschko was a mistake, analyze many Ukrainian experts. “Politically and legally, this will have serious consequences for the authoritiesComments by political scientist Ole Sakian, in Daily Express. History shows that kyiv does not tolerate imposed appointments. Not to mention Vitali Klitschko’s weight internationally. These fights, however, are causing some concern in the country. “This conflict is harmful to the government,” he said.Oleksiï Goncharenko, deputy of the “European Unity” party, informs franceinfo.

“We must devote all our energies to defeating Russia, not to political infighting.”

Oleksiï Goncharenko, Deputy “European Unity”

At franceinfo

Vitaliy Klitschko, head of Ukraine’s Association of Mayors, has already defended local elected officials in legal trouble on several occasions. “A dangerous trend, Did he care?In early May, after the legal conflicts of the mayor of Odessa. He is the third mayor to be sacked by the courts in what appears to be an attempt to harass local officials. Before him, the mayor of Poltava was convicted of embezzlement, and Chernihiv was removed from office for using his company car for personal purposes.

After the massive decentralization drive launched in 2015, this trend has now reversed. Exemplifies the Carnegie Foundation, as part of the anti-corruption policy led by Volodymyr Zelensky. But still “By removing a perhaps imperfect but elected executive, the government is setting a dangerous precedent, reinforcing authoritarian tendencies within an already stagnant political system.”, researcher Konstantin Skorkin underlines. This conflict between central authority and local authorities could flare up again after the war.