Ukraine Leader Wants Feuding Parties To Talk On Govt

KIEV, Ukraine -- President Viktor Yushchenko, in a move likely to increase political confusion in Ukraine and further stall economic reform, on Wednesday ordered feuding parties to work out what coalition should run the country.

Viktor Yushchenko

Yushchenko, who before Sunday's election had said he wanted a coalition only of pro-Western allies from the "Orange Revolution," said stability could be achieved only by a political understanding that included the party of his chief rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

His comments ran counter to an agreement he appeared to strike with former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, his ally from the "Orange Revolution" with whom he subsequently fell out for a time.

"We can achieve political stability from a political understanding between the three key political players -- the Regions Party, the Tymoshenko bloc and Our Ukraine," the President told reporters outside his office.

Yanukovich, Yushchenko's old rival from the 2004 "Orange Revolution," heads the Regions Party.

The President himself is backed by Our Ukraine while the Tymoshenko bloc is led by his fiery former prime minister with whom he might now find himself once more at odds.

Yushchenko's call seemed certain to increase the rivalry with Yanukovich too.

Yushchenko said it was up to the three groups to end the bickering that has characterized Ukrainian politics for more than a year and to decide who would form the government and who would go into opposition.

"My main message to these political forces is to start political talks in order to form the basis of a majority in the Ukrainian parliament and the government and determine the relations between forces in government and opposition."

With the count nearly complete, groups linked to the "Orange Revolution" -- Tymoshenko's bloc followed by the pro-presidential Our Ukraine, lead Yanukovich's Regions Party and its Communist allies.

Both sides have claimed victory and the right to form a government.

"The President has decided to show that he is above the fray, that the formation of a coalition is a matter strictly for parliament with his as supreme arbiter.

"This is Yushchenko wanting to distance himself from the political fight -- and dissociate himself from coalition talks," said Oleksander Lytvynenko, an analyst at the Razumkov think tank.

Source: Reuters Canada