Ukraine's Tymoshenko Wants Govt Talks With President

KIEV, Ukraine -- Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Tuesday demanded direct talks with President Viktor Yushchenko to try to break the deadlock over coalition talks more than three weeks after parliamentary polls.

Yulia Tymoshenko

Tymoshenko, whose party came second in the election, accused Yushchenko aides of undermining a liberal "Orange" coalition between her party and his Our Ukraine party.

The two leaders headed the 2004 "Orange revolution" street protests against electoral fraud, but fell out afterwards over major policy issues and corruption allegations.

Tymoshenko said presidential aides wanted to form a government with Viktor Yanukovich, the pro-Moscow candidate she and Yushchenko toppled in 2004, but who came back to win the March elections.

"We insist talks with the Our Ukraine bloc should be held by Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko to eliminate from the negotiations all these people who fail to help, but torpedo the creation of such a coalition," Tymoshenko told a news conference.

"We lay the responsibility for creating the coalition on Ukraine's president. Only he can stop all intrigues today."

DEAL OR NO DEAL?

A deal between Our Ukraine, Tymoshenko's party and the Socialist Party of Oleksander Moroz -- would give the Orange coalition 243 seats in the 450 member parliament.

Yanukovich's Regions Party won 181 seats and the rest went to the Communist party.

Yushchenko's first year in power was marked by economic slowdown, rising inflation and the corruption scandals which cost Tymoshenko her job as prime minister.

But last week the three "Orange" allies signed a preliminary deal to create a coalition. Then further talks stalled over Yushchenko's reluctance to yield to Tymoshenko's key demand of getting back the post of prime minister.

Raising the political heat further, Tymoshenko told the news conference some of the president's closest aides were trying to make a deal with Yanukovich's Regions Party.

Current Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov has been quoted by local media as saying that Our Ukraine and the Regions party had a lot in common in their economic programmes.

Regions party officials say they would enter a coalition only if their leader Yanukovich is named premier and they have control over finances, the economy and the energy sector.

Parliament is expected to convene for its first session in May and will have two months to approve a government.

Source: Reuters

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