Ukraine's President Proposes Ohryzko For Foreign Minister's Job

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Monday asked parliament to approve Volodymyr Ohryzko as the new foreign minister — the latest tug-of-war between the pro-Western president and Russian-leaning prime minister.

Volodymyr Ohryzko

Last week, pro-Western Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk resigned, saying his month-long struggle with the coalition government run by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych risked damaging the country's international reputation.

Ohryzko, who is also believed to be pro-Western and has worked as Tarasyuk's top deputy since 2005, was named by Yushchenko to fill the role temporarily after Tarassyuk resigned.

Tarasyuk's resignation reflected the power struggle in Ukrainian politics between Yushchenko and Yanukovych. Ukraine's Constitution leaves the precise division of powers unclear, prompting a tussle for authority.

Yanukovych appears to be in a stronger position, particularly after parliament approved a new law this month outlining Cabinet powers.

Under Ukrainian law, the parliament votes on the president's nominee for foreign minister, but it is unclear at the moment when the vote can take place.

Yanukovych's governing coalition is pushing the candidacy of former foreign minister and current adviser to the prime minister, Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, as well as that of another career diplomat and deputy head of presidential administration, Oleksandr Chaliy.

A Yanukovych ally, lawmaker Taras Chornovil, called the nomination a surprise and suggested Ohryzko might not give adequate attention to Russia as foreign minister.

"He is not a person who causes conflicts but we are not sure how he would be able to fulfill Ukraine's foreign policy in different directions," said Chornovil.

Source: International Herald Tribune