Tymoshenko accuses Yushchenko of blocking her policy (Update)

18:06, 21 April 2008
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Because he sees her as a rival

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, in an interview published on Monday, accused her wary ally President Viktor Yushchenko of blocking policy because he sees her as a rival in the next presidential election, according to Reuters.

Tymoshenko told Germany`s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the president had effectively blocked "by decree" about 20 initiatives to boost transparency which were aimed at fighting corruption.

She said it was hard to explain why the president stood in the way of the measures.

"I think the reason is that the president is thinking hard about the ... presidential election and sees me as a competitor," the newspaper quoted her as saying.

"But this competition should not stop transparency and reforms in my country."

Yushchenko and Tymoshenko stood side by side in the 2004 "Orange Revolution" protests that swept the president to power.

But he sacked her as his first premier after seven months and the two have clashed on a number of issues since she returned to the premier`s office last December.

The next presidential election is to take place early in 2010, but no date has yet been set. Tymoshenko also criticised presidential moves stopping the privatisation of strategic industries.

"Personally, I think the ban on strategic privatisations is ruining the investment climate in Ukraine," she told the paper.

A presidential decree this month cancelled the sale of four regional electricity producers. Yushchenko said the sell-offs of key industry sites were unconstitutional.

Tymoshenko also accused the country`s central bank of pursuing policies which fuelled inflation.

Price rises of 9.7 percent in the first quarter exceeded a government full-year forecast of 9.6 percent. Year-on-year March inflation rose to over 26 percent.

"We are dealing with this inherited problem and believe that our measures will dampen inflation. But the instruments we have are limited. The government has no influence on the central bank," Tymoshenko said.

"But it is known that the central bank is coupling our currency very closely to the dollar. Foreign experts say that inflation is being imported in this way."

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