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Victim of Russia: PACE President agreed on the details of his resignation

Author : Serhiy Sydorenko

12:15, 27 April 2017
Victim of Russia: PACE President agreed on the details of his resignation

Author : Serhiy Sydorenko

Ukrainian delegation provoked resignation of PACE president Pedro Agramunt

12:15, 27 April 2017

 Read the original text at eurointegration.com.ua.

Open source

This week, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has witnessed something unbelievable. Ukrainian delegation provoked resignation of PACE president Pedro Agramunt.

It seemed that there were no chances, no mechanisms in PACE to withdraw the chairman. There was little chance to prevent his re-election in January, but the Assembly did not want to go against tradition and left Pedro Agramunt his head for a second consecutive year.

As early as Monday morning, all parties in the corridors of Strasbourg said that there were no chances for success. We have learned the details of the agreement under which Pedro Agramunt agreed to resign by writing a resignation "voluntarily".

Related: Political corruption assembly: Azerbaijani bribe and Russian interests in PACE

And perhaps most importantly, the key reason for the resignation was that the Spanish deputy conducted unacceptable cooperation with Moscow. Contacts with Russia are toxic and can destroy a career of the European politics.

How it all began

Pedro Agramunt has received the image of the "bad guy" among Ukrainian delegates in PACE, although the history of his emergence as a deputy with a dubious reputation is much more accidental.

He was the main person involved in investigations of political corruption in the Assembly, but the scandal of "caviar diplomacy" involved many other MPs, and for a long time, the issue was discussed on the sidelines.

Although Ukrainians, of course, were not concerned about corruption story of Pedro Agramunt, but what he publicly said about the need to lift Assembly’s political sanctions from Russia.

Related: PACE creates new body to look into Agramunt's case

And in January, when PACE President extended his mandate, he seemed to have felt complete impunity.

The highpoint became the Syrian issue. March 21, Russian "First Channel" reported that delegation of PACE deputies and the State Duma of Russia headed by Agramunt arrived to Damask. However, the assembly has not even heard about it.

Agramunt held a separate meeting with Bashar al-Assad (of course, Russian media reported about international support for the Syrian authorities). But not this fact created grounds for the resignation. Remember, the PACE did not even have such a procedure.

Therefore Agramunt had no doubt that he simply cannot be punished.

Ukraine has often criticized the government due to lack of initiatives abroad; because we are just like an object, not the subject of foreign policy. This story is an example of the change.

It started with "innocent" letter condemning the actions of the President of PACE, distributed by the head of the Ukrainian delegation Volodymyr Aryev and under which the signatures has slowly gathered. Pretty standard procedure that could frighten the head of the assembly.

Monday morning at a meeting of the PACE Bureau - the governing body of the Assembly – Agramunt has got a convincing victory. 17 deputies voted against putting the controversial question of trip to Syria on the agenda. Only 11 deputies voted "for".

Related: PACE President accused Russian media of manipulations explaining his visit to Syria on Defense Ministry aircraft

Against the rules

Members of several factions, in fact, breaking procedures of PACE, have simply blocked the session - one by one they took the word and called Agramunt to resign.

And, most importantly, it happened spontaneously, without prior arrangement.

An interesting detail - from 17 influential members of the Bureau who voted against hearing on its closed session, no one stood up for his president at a public hearing. All, even old friends of the Russians realized that no one should defend the politician, who is disgraced.

In addition, the pro-Russian president of PACE became the victim of his arrogance - he avoided direct answers to questions about his visit to Syria on Russian aircraft, and many took it as an insult.

Announcing special hearings on Syria, he tried to make them closed to the media. Our sources say that at a closed meeting of the Bureau, he personally and repeatedly asked not to let the press because it would be "uncomfortable to speak when hundreds of eyes are watching you."

Tuesday did not bring him good news. Hearing of the Syrian issue were similar to a public spanking. Spanish media has reported that Agramunt lied, saying that his trip was coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Related: Ukraine needs to fulfill PACE requirements on ensuring opposition rights

PACE President announced to a narrow circle of leaders of the Assembly, how and when he submits his resignation.

In King’s name!

The highest political governing body of PACE is the so-called "presidential committee" – the president, general secretary of the Assembly, and the leaders of political groups. There were no formal meetings of the committee in those days, but informally members of this body met on Tuesday afternoon.

Pedro came with his willingness to leave the office, but on his own terms. More specifically, the condition was even one, to save his blushes before his own monarch, King of Spain.

The fact that on Thursday 27 April, King Philip VI to hold a speech at the plenary hall, addressing to the Assembly. And for Agramunt it is extremely important that till the end of the session, including presentation of the King, he remains in the office.

So retirement would follow the scheme: Agramunt will not even appear in the hall or Wednesday or Thursday or Friday, except for one hour, he would bring the king to his room and listen to a chair on the podium of the Assembly.  Then he would hold the King home, and after the close of the session, he would come officially announce his resignation.

Related: Klympush-Tsintsadze: PACE resolution on Ukraine is worthy achievement

And now the surprise: for another month, this resignation would not be documented. Written statement that Agramunt is leaving the powers of the president, would be brought to the meeting of the Presidential Committee and the PACE Bureau on May 29 in Prague. And at the next Bureau in late June would be able to choose a new president.

In exchange, group leaders ensure that would not block Agramunt’s participation in the "royal panel." (By the way, there is no guarantee that the media would not ask the king about the subjects of his shame, with great probability it might happen.)

Anyway, Ukraine has achieved its main result. The main reason why the PACE decided to "expel" its president is that he crossed the border in cooperation with Russia.

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