Secretariat Chief of Staff Viktor Baloha told reporters on Friday Victor Yushchenko would support rational initiatives by the government but oppose their hasty and populist decisions, according to the President`s press-office.

      “The President will support all rational initiatives by the Cabinet but, at the same time, ‘raw’ and unbalanced projects should be reconsidered and developed, and the Presidential Secretariat is ready to actively participate in this process, having all necessary tools for that,” he said, adding that the President spared no effort to create a truly democratic and efficient government.

      Mr. Baloha said not only did Victor Yushchenko balance the branches of power but he was also ready to act as a guarantor of the rights of the opposition and develop the dialogue with the parliamentary majority.

      He said the major task of the Secretariat today was to help the President efficiently perform his duties: “I would like to emphasize that the President of Ukraine has been and will be the first person in Ukraine’s state system. It is obvious that the President today links different branches of power in the country. We want to help him build constructive cooperation not only with the government but also with the Verkhovna Rada, which we consider to be an extremely important task now.”

      The chief of staff said the President would “equally” pay attention to his relations with lawmakers and executives: “Now parliament is one of the most important institutions in the system of power from the standpoint of Ukraine’s political development. Not only does the new Constitution give more powers to the Verkhovna Rada but it also gives more responsibility.”

      Thus Mr. Yushchenko, he said, sees it as his greatest priority to bolster reforms in the country with relevant laws.

      “Populist bills will obviously be vetoed. This is not confrontation but efficient control,” he said.

      Mr. Baloha also focused on the importance of cooperation between the President and the judicial branch, claiming that Mr. Yushchenko was ready to support their initiatives in order to efficiently introduce judicial reforms.

      “While adapting to the new political environment, the judicial branch must be reinforced and proceed to the highest level. For that, we need efficient judicial reforms, which will protect judges, root out corruption and restore people’s faith in justice,” he said.

      Speaking about ways to forge closer ties between the government and the Secretariat, Mr. Baloha said recently formed groups to analyze the situation in the regions were quite efficient. He also commended Anatoly Tolstoukhov, Minister of the Cabinet, for cooperating with the Secretariat.

      “Today, the Presidential Secretariat is no longer the part of the executive branch. Tomorrow, the Secretariat must become an efficient and functional system to efficiently implement and ensure presidential functions and face challenges,” he said, adding that the Secretariat was now facing several profound challenges.

      He said he relied on new professionals in his team: “We will be formulating a state strategy here. We set ambitious goals and I am sure we will achieve them.”

      Mr. Baloha then said another important task was to fight corruption: “One of the headquarters to stop this epidemic will be situated in 11 Bankova Street. Here, we will coordinate activities aimed at combating organized crime and corruption.”