Socialists change ultimatum, now seek to cut Yushchenkoâ€™s powers
KIEV, June 14 â€“ Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz suggested Wednesday that his group may seek an alliance with opposition Regions Party if President Viktor Yushchenkoâ€™s Our Ukraine rejects an ultimatum for a coalition.
Also, Moroz changed his ultimatum, now agreeing to surrender claims for the Parliamentary speaker post in exchange for Yushchenko surrendering his right to appoint key ministers and local officials.
The development underscores a major rift and growing distrust between the Socialist Party and Our Ukraine increasing chances for the Regions Party, a moderately pro-Russian group, to join the new government.
â€śYesterday, weâ€™ve heard statements form Our Ukraine leaders that they change the format of talksâ€ť and may start consultations with the Regions Party, Moroz said. â€śOK, we also reserve the right for a choice, just like you.â€ť
The comment comes after Our Ukraine has warned it would start consultations with the Regions Party to form the new government after its 2.5-month talks with two other groups had collapsed.
The talks, which also included a group led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, collapsed after the Socialist Party had issued the ultimatum insisting on getting the speaker post.
The post, the second most important job after the prime minister that is to be decided at the talks, had been tentatively reserved for Our Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Moroz changed the ultimatum, now suggesting he was ready to surrender the claims for the speaker post, but insisted that Yushchenko would have to surrender much of his current powers.
By the constitution, the president nominates the foreign minister and defense minister, key law enforcement officials, such as SBU security service chief and the prosecutor general, and a number of top officials in regions.
But Moroz said that Yushchenko should surrender those rights and let the coalition nominate the figures for those posts, a demand that had been quickly rejected by Our Ukraine and Yushchenko.
â€śMorozâ€™s proposal essentially aims to violate the constitution and encroaches on the powers of the president,â€ť Anatoliy Kinakh, an Our Ukraine leader, said. â€śThis is unacceptable.â€ť
Yushchenkoâ€™s spokeswoman also rejected the proposal.
The developments signal that both groups will appeal to the Regions Party, which controls 186 lawmakers in 450-seat Parliament, seeking to form the coalition and the new government.
Moroz has already been offered the job of the speaker in a coalition between the Socialist Party, the Regions Party and the Communist Party, according to people familiar with developments.
Such coalition would muster 240 seats, but would be highly unstable due to the involvement of ultra leftist Communist Party. It would also frequently clash with Yushchenko, analysts said.
A more viable coalition would involve Our Ukraine and the Regions Party, analysts said.
Our Ukraine would probably seek to get the job of the prime minister, while the Regions would be offered the job of the speaker, analysts said. (tl/ez)