Ukrainian President's Party Starts Formal Coalition Talks With Pro-Russian Party

KIEV, Ukraine -- President Viktor Yushchenko's political party announced Thursday that it was in talks with Ukraine's largest pro-Russian party to create a governing coalition, amid a continuing struggle to form a new government 11 weeks after parliamentary elections.

Viktor Yushchenko (L) and Viktor Yanukovych

The pro-Western Our Ukraine party also insisted that the door was still open to talks with its former Orange Revolution allies.

"We held first preliminary consultations with Party of Regions," Our Ukraine's Roman Zvarych said in parliament. "But we propose holding multilateral negotiations as well as bilateral (talks) with any political force to find a way out."

Negotiations among the three estranged parties that led the 2004 mass uprisings against election fraud collapsed over the weekend, prompting Yushchenko's party to open talks with the Party of Regions.

Ukraine's government has been paralyzed since the March parliamentary election ended without a decisive victor. The Party of Regions, which dominates in the Russian-speaking east and south, won the most votes.

But it was overshadowed by the former Orange allies, who would hold more seats in the 450-member parliament if they could work out their differences.

The other two Orange parties have called negotiations with Party of Regions a betrayal.

The Party of Regions is led by Viktor Yanukovych, whose ballot-stuffing attempt to win the 2004 presidency sparked the Orange Revolution.

Lawmakers from the Party of Regions joined forces with Our Ukraine on Thursday to push through another break in parliamentary work until next Tuesday to allow for coalition talks.

The Socialists and the bloc of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko voted against the break.

Relations between the one-time allies sharply deteriorated during Yushchenko's first year in office, with Yushchenko firing Tymoshenko eight months into his term and the charismatic Tymoshenko running an aggressive parliamentary campaign, which helped her party to rout Yushchenko's.

Many analysts say that Yushchenko sees Yanukovych as less of a threat than Tymoshenko.

"The process has started and we are out of this process," said Mykola Tomenko from Tymoshenko's bloc. "But it does not mean that we have lost hope."

The chances of the Orange team overcoming their deep hostility looked increasingly unlikely, however.

Yanukovych predicted that a coalition would be formed by Tuesday. He said that his party already had enough votes to form a majority, based apparently on individual lawmakers allegedly defecting from their parties.

Yanukovych did not elaborate, but added that his party is seeking "a coalition of parties not of individual lawmakers."

Some lawmakers have hinted at the beginning of a deep split within Our Ukraine over the talks with the Party of Regions.

"Our Ukraine is not only committing its own political suicide, it also wants to take Ukraine's future with it," Tymoshenko said.

Source: AP


Anonymous said…
Mr. Yushchenko are you feeling OK?

You are holding negotiations with the man who supposedly had you poisoned, who wanted to shoot the Orange demonstrators, who stole last year's election twice, by ballot stuffing, and who is 100% pro-Russia.

Did I miss anything, Mr. President?
Anonymous said…
Oh yes...

Let's not forget Yanukovych's two jail terms. He would make a great Prime Minister for a banana republic.
Anonymous said…
BALANCE OF POWERS:YUSCHENKO'S,YULIA'S & YANUKO'S?????? At stake is UKRAINE'S POLITICAL FOUNDATION & POLICY MAKINGS=Backing each entity are all the Ukrainian Citizens with Yuschenko caught in the middle positioned as fulcrum in this "Tee-tor-Totter" shifting of in-fighting.Establishing Soverign Principles for the whole country will require concessions and comprimises.Imagine each entity is guilty of some skullduggery that has to be pushed aside.Whatever is developed will influence all the "People" not just the special interest groups and so whatever happens these three entities can accept the accalades or blame for diasters should they unfortunately occur.