Ukraine's Yushchenko Set To Back Arch Rival For PM Job: Source

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's leader will support the candidacy of his former presidential rival, pro-Russian Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych, for prime minister, an informed source in the Ukrainian parliament said Thursday.

Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko (L) shakes hands with pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych has said he was cautiously optimistic that the President would eventually agree to his nomination as prime minister.

A new parliamentary coalition led by Yanukovych's Party of Regions officially assumed duties Tuesday and re-submitted their leader's prime ministerial candidacy to President Viktor Yushchenko. The president will now have to decide on recommending the candidature to parliament within 15 days.

The source said, "The president simply has no choice. Supporting Yanukovych is a bad option for him, but other options are even worse."

Yanukovych lost to Yushchenko in a 2004 presidential rerun called in the wake of protests against alleged vote rigging that became known as the "orange revolution."

Earlier on Thursday, Yulia Tymoshenko, Yushchenko's main "orange" revolution ally, led her faction out of parliament, demanding that the president dissolve the legislature to prevent the Yanukovych-led majority from gaining power. Some 120 lawmakers - nearly a third of the 450-seat assembly - followed her out of the hall.

The source said attempts to reformat the anti-crisis coalition or to dissolve the Supreme Rada would make the situation even worse, adding that the only viable option was to expand the anti-crisis coalition by taking in at least a part of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc, which would receive several portfolios in the new government.

"This is what Yushchenko and Yanukovych are discussing now, and I believe that they will find mutually acceptable arrangements within the 15-day term, as provided for under the Constitution," he said.

Source: RIA Novosti

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