Sirens As Ukraine Govt In Chaos

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's parliament, all but shut down during three months of fruitless coalition talks, plunged into chaos on Tuesday with backers of the "Orange Revolution" storming the rostrum and sounding sirens to halt debate.

Ukrainian lawmakers fight in the parliament building in Ukraine's capital Kiev, Tuesday, July 11, 2006.

The chamber opened its sitting by endorsing a coalition government headed by Viktor Yanukovich, the man humiliated by pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko in the "Orange Revolution".

But speaker Oleksander Moroz's attempt to continue debate collapsed when members of "orange" groups surged forward to the rostrum, scuffling with rivals from the Regions Party.

"Specific people want to take power at any price," Moroz shouted, his voice barely audible above the sirens. "This is an attempt to stop parliament from work."

Yanukovich lost the 2004 presidential race to Yushchenko after weeks of street protests. He quickly put together his grouping, with Socialists and Communists, last week after a last-minute defection wrecked a bid to build a coalition of "orange" parties behind the revolution.

The new grouping has support from 238 deputies in the 450-seat chamber after an inconclusive election in March.

It was the defection of Moroz, a Socialist, which last week toppled the initial attempt to form a government.

The two remaining "orange" parties -- the bloc of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and the president's Our Ukraine Party -- now call for new elections.

Yushchenko says he will not rubber-stamp any proposed prime minister without guarantees that the Western values of the 2004 revolution will be safeguarded. He has also said he may dissolve parliament if no government is formed within fixed deadlines.

During the long weeks of talks aimed at forming an "orange" coalition, some of Yushchenko's comrades had suggested teaming up with the Regions Party in a "broad coalition".

Such a grouping, it was argued, would heal longstanding divisions between Ukraine's nationalist west and its Russian-speaking industrial east, more sympathetic to Moscow.

But Our Ukraine decided on Monday it wanted no part of the new grouping, in which communists will sit alongside wealthy business magnates.

Tymoshenko told reporters on Monday: "With such a coalition, Ukraine has no future and not even the hope for a future."

Under new constitutional provisions, the president's powers are reduced and parliament must choose the prime minister.

But the president is empowered to dissolve parliament if it fails to form a government within 60 days of its first session, which took place on May 25.

Source: Reuters


Nick Rudnev said…
what a mess :)