Ukraine’s leaders reach accord on new coalition
Ukraine’s leaders reach accord on new coalition

Ukraine’s leaders reach accord on new coalition

17:50, 10 December 2008
1690 0

After months of political discord that threatened Ukraine’s ability to respond to deepening financial problems, the country’s pro-Western leaders announced Wednesday that they had patched up their differences...

After months of political discord that threatened Ukraine’s ability to respond to deepening financial problems, the country’s pro-Western leaders announced Wednesday that they had patched up their differences and would not call new elections.

Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko announced in Kyiv that she had formed a new parliamentary coalition with allies of the president, Viktor A. Yushchenko, and a small third party. Ms. Tymoshenko and Mr. Yushchenko both favor closer ties to the West, but have regularly feuded since they came to power in the so-called Orange Revolution of 2004.

“I am convinced that the end of the political crisis gives us more hope that Ukraine will safely overcome all the challenges of the world financial-economic crisis,” Ms. Tymoshenko said.

The once high-flying Ukrainian economy has been battered by the financial crisis, and the country has had to seek an emergency $16.5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. The economy is dependent on steel, chemical and other heavy industries which have suffered, and the Ukrainian currency has plunged.

At the same time, tensions with neighboring Russia have grown as Mr. Yushchenko pushed for Ukraine to join NATO and actively supported Georgia in the conflict in August.

The internal political struggle in Kyiv reached its height in September, when Mr. Yushchenko accused Ms. Tymoshenko of carrying out a “political and constitutional coup” by approving a measure to curb the president’s authority. The measure was passed with the backing of the pro-Kremlin party led by a former prime minister, Viktor F. Yanukovych.

At that point, Mr. Yushchenko said he would declare new parliamentary elections, which Ms. Tymoshenko resisted, and the two sides spent weeks bickering over how to proceed. All three major politicians have been seeking to use the stalemate to position themselves for presidential elections in January 2010, analysts said.

By Clifford Levy, The New York Times

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