Tymoshenko Returns To Negotiations

KIEV, Ukraine -- Negotiations on the formation of an Orange coalition to govern Ukraine were resumed yesterday. The pro-presidential Our Ukraine Party, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialist Party of Ukraine returned to the negotiating table at the initiative of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

Yulia Tymoshenko

The fragile peace may not last long, however, since Viktor Yanukovich's Party of the Regions has announced that it is discussing a coalition agreement with Our Ukraine.

The main Orange forces in the country, Our Ukraine and the Timoshenko Bloc, tried to bury the hatchet yesterday after negotiations were broken off the day before. Timoshenko Bloc leader Alexander Turchinov said that negotiations were continuing on forming a three-way coalition and very near completion.

He added that the coalition agreement consists of three parts: an economic program, a program for government action and rules of the coalition. The details of the agreement would be discussed at a meeting with Timoshenko, Socialist leader Alexander Moroz and Our Ukraine figure Boris Bespaly.

On Tuesday, head of the Our Ukraine legal department Roman Zvarych announced that the party was withdrawing from negotiations because of the behavior of Tymoshenko, who was demanding to be made prime minister. The Timoshenko Bloc countered with accusations that Our Ukraine was holding secret negotiations with the Party of the Regions.

Passions were calmed Tuesday evening after Yushchenko met with Tymoshenko. Yesterday morning, all sides expressed their wishes to continue negotiations. The meeting may be delayed, however, if it takes place at all.

Our Ukraine, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialist Party of Ukraine are preparing separate agreements with their own requirements to participation in the coalition. The Tymoshenko Bloc is insisting that ministerial positions be distributed in proportion to the results of the March parliamentary elections, to which Our Ukraine strongly objects. Our Ukraine wants the agreement to be signed before posts are assigned.

The Party of the Regions has added another degree of uncertainty with its announcement. Party leader Viktor Yanukovich said at a press conference yesterday that his experts have prepared a draft coalition agreement for the political force with which that party is in negotiations.

He did not specify what political forces those are. Another prominent member of the Party of the Regions, Andrey Klyuev, told journalists that “the basic principles of that coalition agreement have already been discussed with representatives of Our Ukraine.”

Another Party of the Regions figure, Taras Chornovil, told Kommersant that the party excludes only the possibility of an alliance with the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc.

Source: Kommersant