Talks continue to save coalition in Ukraine

18:17, 03 October 2008
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Lawmakers made frantic last-minute efforts Friday

Lawmakers loyal to the Ukrainian president and prime minister made frantic last-minute efforts Friday to revive their pro-Western coalition and avoid early elections in this politically turbulent nation, AP reported.

But there was little indication that the estranged 2004 Orange Revolution partners, President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, could reach a compromise and avoid announcing a new vote.

The nine-month old alliance fell apart last month amid infighting between the two leaders, who may be rivals in the 2010 presidential election. Yushchenko`s party pulled out of the coalition after Tymoshenko`s faction sided with the opposition to pass a series of laws that trimmed presidential powers.

The president and prime minister also bickered about how to react to Russia`s August war with Georgia, with the Yushchenko accusing Tymoshenko of selling out to the Kremlin, which opposes Ukraine`s drive to join the West`s NATO alliance.

Tymoshenko said Friday she had met all Yushchenko`s demands, including rescinding the legislation that stripped him of some powers, in order to save the alliance. She accused Yushchenko of blocking those efforts.

"The democratic coalition has been taken hostage by dishonest and indecent politicians," she told reporters. She said holding an early election — a third parliamentary vote in as many years — would be damaging at a time of global financial crisis.

Tymoshenko said she also fears that a new vote could rob Parliament of its current pro-Western majority, hampering the country`s efforts to integrate with the West.

Yushchenko said in a statement Friday that Tymoshenko`s efforts were insincere and a way to blame him later for the collapse of the coalition.

Yushchenko reiterated his determination to announce the early vote if no agreement is reached soon, but he did not specify the deadline. Tymoshenko has named Friday as the deadline` an official with Yushchenko`s office said lawmakers have until mid-October to form a new alliance.

AP via International Herald Tribune

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