Ukraine Parties Reach Coalition Deal: Report

KIEV, Ukraine -- The pro-Western parties in Ukraine who narrowly won last month's parliamentary elections have reached an agreement to form a coalition, Interfax reported on Monday.

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko (L) and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko meet at the presidential office in Kiev, October 15, 2007.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of her eponymous party and leaders of the Our Ukraine-People's Self Defence bloc struck the deal following a meeting with President Viktor Yuschenko.

Tymoshenko is due to return as prime minister under the terms of the agreement, which was due to be formally signed on Tuesday, Interfax said.

She was previously prime minister in 2005 before falling out with Yushchenko.

The two pro-Western parties took back control of the parliament in the September 30 elections, taking 228 of the 450 seats, according to the final results tally confirmed Monday.

Yushchenko dissolved the parliament earlier this year after constant in-fighting with the pro-Russian coalition government led by his rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych's pro-Moscow Party of the Regions now appears destined for opposition, despite a respectable tally of 175 seats.

The president said Monday that he hoped a stable administration in the new parliament "would now allow the country to leave behind it the vicious circle of crises and conflicts."

Yuschenko and Tymoshenko, allies in the pro-Western "Orange Revolution" at the end of 2004, held talks prior to the vote aimed at securing an alliance in the eventuality of winning the election.

However the president sowed created confusion at the start of October, appearing on TV to call for a grand coalition which would include the Party of the Regions.

He later moderated that position, suggesting that the pro-Russian bloc could be given posts within government.

Tymoshenko's bloc and the presidential grouping rejected any possibility of an alliance with the pro-Russian side but declared themselves ready to grant the opposition certain important portfolios -- a deputy prime minister and some assistant ministers -- so long as her coalition gained power.

Source: AFP

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