KIEV, July 11 â€“ Ukraineâ€™s pro-Russian coalition on Tuesday challenged President Viktor Yushchenko by electing a Communist Party leader as the first deputy speaker of Parliament, a move that makes the legislatureâ€™s dismissal more likely.
Yushchenko called the development â€śa huge political mistakeâ€ť that makes virtually impossible further talks between pro-Russian groups and Our Ukraine, Yushchenkoâ€™s party, over a compromise to end the standoff.
The increasing hostility between pro-Russian groups, led by the Regions Party, and pro-Western groups, such as Our Ukraine, put mounting pressure on Yushchenko to dismiss Parliament after July 25 and to call new election.
Yushchenko has been calling for talks between pro-Russian groups and pro-Western groups in order to end the standoff in Parliament and to form the government that would promote his pro-Western policy.
But pro-Russian groups, defying Yushchenko, moved on Tuesday to elect Adam Martyniuk, the Communist Partyâ€™s No. 2 man, as the first deputy speaker of Parliament. The coalition also officially nominated Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Regions Party, for the post of the prime minister.
â€śThis is the question of a terrible political choice that would produce nothing but confrontation in Ukraine,â€ť Yushchenko said in remarks over attempts by the pro-Russian coalition to quickly elect the leadership of Parliament.
The pro-Russian groups have been seeking to elect Martyniuk fast to cement the coalition after the last weekâ€™s surprise election of Oleksandr Moroz, the leader of the Socialist Party, as the speaker.