Ukraine's PM Hopeful Tymoshenko Vows To Cede Some Powers To President If Appointed

KIEV, Ukraine -- Yulia Tymoshenko, the top contender for the post of prime minister in Ukraine after parliamentary elections, vowed Friday to cede some Cabinet powers to President Viktor Yushchenko if she gets the job.

Yulia Tymoshenko at press conference

The pro-Western parties of Tymoshenko and Yushchenko, the central figures in the 2004 Orange Revolution that ushered Yushchenko to power, together received a slim majority in the Sept. 30 vote and have enough parliament seats to form a governing coalition.

Tymoshenko said the two groups have agreed to let Yushchenko name the interior minister, Ukraine's top police official - a power now held by the Cabinet - and give him more leverage over other Cabinet and regional appointments.

"I think what we need now is not to engage in a fight for portfolios but to firmly show the capability of the democratic coalition to be formed and formed quickly," Tymoshenko told reporters.

She also warned her rival, the more Russia-friendly Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who garnered the biggest share of votes, against seeking to have the election results invalidated and boycotting parliament sessions, as representatives of his party have said they might.

Tymoshenko's and Yushchenko's forces have offered to grant Yanukovych's party deputy ministerial posts in all Cabinet ministries as well as the position of deputy prime minister and chairs of some key committees in parliament.

Yanukovych's party has given mixed signals about whether it would accept the offer and threatened to render the legislature illegitimate by having one-third of parliament members stay away from sessions.

Tymoshenko vowed the parliament would be able to operate even with Yanukovych's seats empty.

"The Party of Regions' demarche to ruin stability in Ukraine ... today won't be in line with the Constitution," Tymoshenko said.

"The Verkhovna Rada will work as it is," she said, referring to the 450-seat parliament.

Ukrainian politics have been driven by a power struggle between Yushchenko and Yanukovych since the tumultuous 2004 presidential race.

Yanukovych was initially declared the winner, but the results were later overturned by courts and Yushchenko won a revote.

Yanukovych capitalized on widespread disillusionment in the slow pace of reform and returned as premier in 2006.

The two leaders' bitter political standoff earlier this year led Yushchenko to call an early vote.

Source: Kyiv Post