Arithmetically they have their cherished 226 votes. But factually - no. So, let's go step by step.
The first meeting of the Party of Regions faction in the Verkhovna Rada was announced on November 21. The faction's Secretariat called around 228 members which are considered "their own" in the Party of Regions - including non-party independents, and ...the meeting was canceled. Almost all independents, as well as a significant number of the Party of Regions plurality deputies ignored the invitation from the party clerks, and mostly did so defiantly. The reason is obvious - most of them understand that if the regime wants to "put them in a stall", it'll do it. But since they are being sent to the ruling party by force, they will sell their freedom at the highest price. During the 2012 election, none of the plurality candidates including the Party of Regions ones (with an exception of Oleksiy Azarov) had any support from their beloved party. Everything had to be bought for cash - including administrative resources, contacts, etc. Captains of business from many industries have spent a lot of time and millions of dollars to get the cherished parliamentary immunity.
The responsible one for the formation of a parliamentary majority in the Party of Regions is Secretary of the National Security and Defense Andriy Klyuyev. As the head of the election headquarters of the party he is obliged to present President Viktor Yanukovych with numbers in the protocols as well as a controlled and obedient majority which is capable of forming a government, staffed at the personal instructions of Viktor Yanukovych.
And here is where Klyuyev encountered a problem - how to convince plurality independents to join the Party of Regions faction? Or rather, how to convince them to do it for nothing? For free?
In other words - how to make independent people voluntarily reset their ratings and reputation in their constituencies only to be branded "a Party of Regions member?" Klyuyev does not have this authority in the Cabinet of Ministers for these purposes. He can only promise. But Andriy Petrovych cannot provide any guarantees. Because he, too, was not guaranteed that he will be able to guarantee anything to anybody.
And here's a play for the public. First Act - faction meeting is announced but it is not attended by 226 deputies. Then Mykhaylo Chechetov swears that they already 226 votes, and that 40 independents have written applications for joining the faction: "I beg of you, 90% of the independents came running to us themselves the day after the elections and have written applications for joining the faction. So we did not have to convince anyone." But when he was asked to give at least one name, Chechetov suddenly became shy and silent.
Second Act - small sites that have the "reputation" throw out the information regarding an allegedly known list of independents who will join the Party of Regions faction. There is no source , there is no official statement. But the information is immediately refuted by the people on the list. Volodymyr Lytvyn, Viktor Baloha, Serhiy Myshchenko, Petro Poroshenko openly say that they are not planning to join the Regions.
Third Act - despite the denials of the information, for some reason, it is all over the evening news on Inter TV channel with great fanfare .
Obviously, this simple PR stunt is a naïve attempt to brand the independents. Klyuyev understands that forcing the deputies is not in accordance with the "street law". They do not owe anything to the power but quite the opposite ... So if you often repeated that the independents are the Party of Regions, you may see them rushing into the faction for posts. But savvy plurality deputies understand - the word of the Party of Regions cannot be trusted, and they don't always pay their debts.
If the independents join the Party of Regions fraction, this does not mean that they will get some bonuses. Not at all. Most likely, the most attractive committees of the Verkhovna Rada will be taken by its own plurality members. The Party of Regions faction is not going to please momentary needs of Klyuyev to drive the independents behind the blue and white flags (Party of Regions colors) to sacrifice the desired posts in the budget and tax committees.
The truth is that so far none of the Regions' leaders is holding direct talks with each independent. However, the PR campaign on Inter is an imitation of the negotiation process for the main Spectator in Mezhyhirya (Yanukovych). The calculation is based on the fact that the independents will become scared themselves and run to the Party of Regions out of despair. But something tells us that there won't be any "suckers" in this Parliament. Until the self-nominated deputies get real guarantees and real motivation, as long as such motivation are not given to plurality deputies of the Party of Regions, there will be no parliamentary majority as such - it's just ridiculous.
While President Yanukovych imitates the formation of a new vertical of power, his inner circle imitates work on creating a parliamentary majority. Imitation is the main political strategy of the Party of Regions in all political matters.