Ukraine Deputies In New Talks On Govt To End Crisis

KIEV, Ukraine -- Parliamentarians headed into new talks on Friday to form a government able to bridge Ukraine's longstanding political differences and end three months of turmoil which has severely hobbled government activity.

Supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc, wave flags and shout slogans during a rally in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, July 14, 2006. Ukraine's divided lawmakers demanded on Friday that President Viktor Yushchenko intervenes in the political crisis.

Parliament, thrown into chaos this week by liberal deputies shouting through megaphones and blocking aisles, called a new recess after sitting for no more than a quarter of an hour.

Parties backing the 2004 "Orange Revolution" which propelled pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko to power failed to form a coalition after talks following a March election collapsed.

They now oppose an alternative grouping led by the Regions Party under Viktor Yanukovich, the Moscow-backed politician from industrial eastern Ukraine defeated by Yushchenko in 2004. Communists and Socialists are also in the prospective coalition.

Yushchenko rejected a proposal to make Yanukovich prime minister and called for a "consolidating" figure. He has said he will dissolve parliament if no agreement is reached.

During lengthy talks between "orange" groups, some allies of the president, such as caretaker prime minister Yuri Yekhanurov, favoured an alliance with Yanukovich's Regions Party.

Such a "broad coalition", they argue, could heal rifts between the Russian-speaking east and the nationalist west, where Yanukovich is viewed with deep suspicion.

Yekhanurov said a broad coalition was under consideration, but a new approach -- and a new leader -- was needed.

"Party leaders cannot head this government, because they are symbols," Ukrainian media quoted him as saying late on Thursday. "Their mere presence will split Ukraine in two."

But a senior Regions Party official said discussions with the pro-presidential Our Ukraine party had been broken off as the two sides could not agree on basic positions.

Yanukovich made a comeback after being humiliated in the revolution, his party taking first place in the March election. He says there can be no compromise on his being named premier.

A Regions Party statement said Yushchenko had no reason to dissolve parliament and call a new election.

"We presume the president will cast aside his personal sympathies ... and do everything possible to ensure a capable, professional government is formed," it said.

The two remaining parties backing an "orange" coalition -- Our Ukraine and the bloc of ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko -- have been impeding parliamentary activity for a week.

Tymoshenko, who stood to be restored as prime minister under an "orange" team, now says dissolving parliament and holding a new election is the only way to solve the crisis.

Source: Reuters

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