TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2018
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Pro-Western parties join forces in vote
Journal Staff Report

.KIEV, May 25 – Three pro-Western parties that jointly control a simple majority in Parliament voted on Thursday to postpone legislative sessions until June 7 to give their leaders more time to sign a coalition agreement.

The vote was overwhelmingly backed by Our Ukraine, the Socialist Party and a group led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko that control a total of 243 seats in 450-seat Parliament.

The vote, which was vehemently opposed by the Regions Party, is the latest indication that the pro-Western groups have been increasingly moving towards creation of the coalition.

“The vote… is the first sign that the Orange coalition will be created,” Petro Poroshenko, a senior member of Our Ukraine, said Thursday.

The parties, following their meeting late Wednesday, have agreed in principle on the coalition, but more time is required to draft an agreement to share responsibilities between coalition partners and other details.

“A major work has been done to start drafting the single coalition agreement,” Tymoshenko said at a press conference Thursday. “I think that by June 7 all coalition documents will be ready.”

Tymoshenko, who controls the biggest group in Parliament among other potential coalition partners, will probably be nominated to the post of the prime minister, people familiar with the situation said.

Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov and other ministers have formally resigned on Thursday, in line with the constitution, but will continue to run the country in acting capacity until the new government is formed.

The agreement is expected to cover a 5-year time period through the next general election and will have a roadmap of key policy initiatives that will have to be tackled by the government.

By Ukrainian law, lawmakers have 30 days to form the coalition after the first session of Parliament following general election, or face dismissal by the president.

Among key foreign policy initiatives of the new government there were some discrepancies in positions of the three parties that will also have to be worked out, Roman Bezsmertniy, Our Ukraine’s top negotiator, said.

“Our Ukraine is more decisive towards [joining] NATO, the European Union and [approving] land reform,” Bezsmertniy said in a television interview late Thursday. “The Tymoshenko bloc is more restrained, while the Socialist Party is even more restrained.”

“We agreed that we draft the main agreement and then draft the protocol of discrepancies and then we seek the proper wording in the agreement,” Bezsmertniy said. (tl/ez)

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