Ukraine's Tymoshenko Bloc Claims Ally Working With Opponent

KIEV, Ukraine -- The race to form a majority coalition in Ukraine's parliament took an unexpected turn Tuesday when the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc accused one of its allies of siding with a pro-Russian party.

Oleksandr Turchinov

Oleksandr Turchinov, a representative of the Tymoshenko bloc, said pro-presidential grouping Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions, led by former presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, had voted together during a session of a four-party working group charged with overseeing preparations for the newly elected parliament's first session this week.

"This leads to the conclusion that a draft agreement [on a parliamentary coalition] between Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions is being prepared," Turchinov said.

Tymoshenko said she expected a draft agreement on forming a majority coalition in Ukraine's Supreme Rada early last week after a period of intensive negotiations between groups following March 26 parliamentary elections that failed to produce an overall winner.

The coalition was likely to include Tymoshenko's bloc, Our Ukraine, led by incumbent Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, and the Socialist Party.

Official results from the March ballot saw the Party of Regions take first place with 32.14% of the vote, which translates to 186 seats in the 450-seat Rada.

Yanukovych's party was followed by the Tymoshenko bloc with 22.29% of the vote (129 seats), Our Ukraine with 13.95% (81 seats), the Socialist Party with 5.69% (33 seats) and the Communist Party with 3.66% (21 seats).

No other party won a 3% share of the vote needed to take up a place in the Rada, which under the country's constitution must convene 30 days after the publication of the election results in two newspapers on April 27. A parliamentary

Our Ukraine, however, said it was suspending its participation in the talks until Tymoshenko clarified her position on how posts in the new government would be distributed.

The heroine of the 2004 "orange revolution" has consistently sought to return to the prime minister's post, from which she was dismissed after only seven months in office over a rift with President Viktor Yushchenko.

Source: RIA Novosti