Ukraine’s Orange Coalition Suffers Setback

KIEV, Ukraine -- A day after Ukraine’s “orange revolution” parties signed an agreement to form a governing coalition, cracks have appeared in the fragile union, AFP reported.

Can Yushchenko (R) ever make peace with Tymoshenko (L)?

Members of President Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc have voted to support all but one of the points of the agreement in principle signed by party leaders the previous day. The rejected section would have made it easier for Yulia Tymoshenko, the President’s estranged “orange revolution” partner, to become the prime minister in the new Government.

Yushchenko is widely believed to oppose her appointment.

Yulia Tymoshenko has blasted the move as a “torpedoing of this agreement”. “We think ... that Our Ukraine should get together once more and approve the complete protocol,” she said.

The Socialists, the third party in the “orange” coalition that would control 243 seats in the 450-member Upper Rada legislature, also criticizes the measure.

The agreement the trio signed lays out six major steps they will take on their way to formally creating a majority coalition in Parliament following legislative elections in late March. The sixth step was inserted at the last minute by Tymoshenko.

It states that the final coalition agreement will be based on a memorandum that the three parties prepared but never signed ahead of the March 26 ballot.

That memorandum says that the party that gets the most votes will get to name the next premier.

Tymoshenko, who trounced Yushchenko’s party in the poll, has demanded that she return to head the government in any union. The fiery and ambitious Tymoshenko helped Yushchenko lead the “orange revolution” protests that kept a Russian-backed candidate out of power in late 2004. But she split with the President after he fired her as premier in September.

The pro-Russian opposition, Regions Party, is due to receive 186 seats in the new Parliament, Tymoshenko’s bloc 129, Our Ukraine 81, the Socialists 33 and the Communists 21.

Source: MosNews