KIEV, April 19 â€“ President Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday refused to take a key role in forging a ruling coalition in Parliament among parties that had supported him during the dramatic presidential election in 2004.
Yushchenko responded to the calls from former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a potential coalition partner, who had asked the president to step in after disagreements had emerged between parties.
â€śThe president will work with both, the majority and the opposition,â€ť Iryna Herashchenko, Yushchenkoâ€™s press secretary, said. â€śThatâ€™s why no one should impose on the president any functions that do not belong to him.â€ť
The comment is a setback for Tymoshenko, who seeks to overcome growing resistance from Our Ukraine, Yushchenkoâ€™s party, to regain the post of the prime minister following the March 26 election.
Tymoshenko urged Yushchenko to step in as the talks had stumbled after Our Ukraine had rejected a clause opening way for Tymoshenko to regain the post of the prime minister.
The latest developments cast doubts on whether the coalition can be successfully and quickly created between Our Ukraine, the Tymoshenko group and the Socialist Party.
On Tuesday, Tymoshenko rejected Yushchenkoâ€™s key demand for the creation of the coalition by refusing to draft a roadmap of economic policy decisions of the future government.
Yushchenko has been apparently viewing the roadmap as an important safeguard to make sure that Tymoshenko would not pursue populist policy and will not resort to controversial economic decisions as had been the case last year.
Parties will have 30 days to form the majority coalition after newly elected lawmakers gather for their first session sometime in the middle of May. After the formation of the coalition, the coalition will have another 30 days to appoint the Cabinet of Ministers.
Any failure to meet the deadline would allow the president to dismiss Parliament and to call new election, an option that has been apparently considered within Yushchenkoâ€™s office, officials have said.
In the meantime, Yushchenko urged potential coalition partners to intensify talks over the coalition that would also include drafting the roadmap to ensure stability.
â€śThe president is extremely interested in a stable situation in Ukraine,â€ť Herashchenko said. â€śThatâ€™s why he is interested in a stable coalition that will be formed not for several monthsâ€¦ but for at least three, four or even five years.â€ť (tl/ez)