Ukraine's former Orange Revolution allies call for new round of coalition talks on Monday

Kyiv Post
Apr 07 2006, 17:02

(AP) Ukraine's estranged Orange Revolution allies called Friday for a new round of coalition talks to begin urgently next week, their parties said.

"The process should begin already from Monday," said President Viktor Yushchenko's party, Our Ukraine.

The call came a day after Our Ukraine said it supported forming a coalition with its estranged ally, Yulia Tymoshenko, and the Socialists, but refused to immediately cede to Tymoshenko's demand that the premiership be returned to her.

Ukraine's March 26 parliamentary election ended with no party winning a majority, forcing the parties into coalition talks.

Yushchenko plays the role of a kingmaker because both the pro-Moscow opposition party, which won the most votes, and Tymoshenko's bloc, which came in second, have shown no interest in uniting with each other. This means both of them need the pro-presidential party to form a parliamentary majority. The majority is responsible for choosing the prime minister and much of the Cabinet.

Tymoshenko's bloc, meanwhile, announced that it was forming a working group to discuss creating the coalition. It invited Our Ukraine and the Socialists to a meeting Monday for discussions. Monday is the deadline for the Central Election Commission to release final results.

Yushchenko, who sacked Tymoshenko from the prime minister's job in September during a bitter falling out, has been reluctant to restore her to the powerful post. Yushchenko has also said it is important to reach out to the opposition Party of Regions, led by his former Orange Revolution foe, Viktor Yanukovych, since that party won the most votes and carried Ukraine's Russian-speaking east and south.

Our Ukraine's party official, Roman Zvarych, expressed optimism Friday that the Orange forces would set aside their differences and unite. "Of course, tension exists," he was quoted by Interfax-Ukraine as saying. "It wouldn't be politics if there was no tension." He added that Our Ukraine was ready for "maximum concessions" but said its partners should also be.