Ukraine's Tymoshenko Vows Tough Opposition As Parliament Opens

KIEV, Ukraine -- Yulia Tymoshenko, a charismatic former prime minister of Ukraine, has started the new parliamentary year with a typically robust statement on her intention to form a genuine opposition to the government.

The Supreme Rada returned to work Tuesday after the summer recess and preceding months of post-election paralysis as rival groups fought to take control of the government and senior parliamentary posts.

And with her archrival Viktor Yanukovych installed as the new prime minister, Tymoshenko vowed that his Party of Regions and its coalition allies would be in for a tough examination.

"We will not be friends [either with the parliament or the government]," she said. "We will be a genuine opposition, which would not allow any fact to be concealed."

The heroine of the 2004 popular protests known as the "orange revolution" also promised that her eponymous bloc "will not remain silent when it is necessary to speak."

Tymoshenko, who served as President Viktor Yushchenko's first prime minister before being replaced by Yuriy Yekhanurov, added that she would insist on a law governing the opposition be drafted by the opposition itself rather than by the government.

Yanukovych, who returned to the prime minister's chair in August, appeared to take a more conciliatory line at the opening of the parliamentary session. He has already toned down some pro-Russian positions and he told the 450-seat legislature that he viewed "the opposition not as an enemy, but as an ally in strengthening the country's economy and the democratic foundations of Ukrainian society's life."

The Party of Regions leader, who served as prime minister under President Leonid Kuchma in 2002-2004, leads a coalition that also comprises the Communist Party, the Socialist Party and some members of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine.

Tymoshenko, who had sought a second stint as premier herself before a coalition collapsed in the summer, made fresh claims Monday on the Yanukovych government's legality, saying it was illegitimate because the prime minister had failed to give up his powers as a lawmaker by an August 25 deadline. However, Rada Speaker Oleksandr Moroz dismissed the claim.

Source: RIA Novosti