EU Welcomes Ukraine's New 'Orange' Coalition

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission has welcomed the formation of a coalition between the two major pro-western parties in Ukraine after the September elections, hoping that the country will continue to choose the path of reform.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner

"I welcome the announcement of the formation of a coalition following the September [30] early parliamentary elections in Ukraine," external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said on Tuesday (16 October).

"The future government has important challenges ahead as Ukraine continues down the path of constitutional, political, and economic reforms. The European Commission stands side-by-side with Ukraine as it continues along this path of reform," she added.

On Monday (15 October), Ukraine's two major pro-western parties - the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine Party-People's Self-Defense - signed a draft coalition deal.

Under the deal, Ms Tymoshenko's party will have the right to nominate a candidate prime minister, while Our Ukraine will have the same right for the candidate parliamentary speaker.

Together, these so-called 'orange parties', a reference to the role they played in the country's Orange Revolution in 2004 - have a small majority in parliament, 228 seats out of 450, 156 of which belong to Tymoshenko's bloc.

The coalition partners have already stressed on several occasions that pushing through reforms is a key priority for the new government.

"The parliament is new, those in power are new, and the democratic team has all the grounds to reform all sectors of life so that people feel tangible changes in the country," Ms Tymoshenko was quoted as saying by Radio Free Europe.

Ms Tymoshenko also hopes to include the centrist Lytvin party, with 20 seats, in the coalition in order to give the government a more comfortable position.

Furthermore, she has said she would grant some governmental positions to politicians of the rivalling pro-Russian Party of the Regions, which, with 175 seats, is the largest party of the country.

Source: EU Observer