KIEV, July 11 ‚Äď Ukraine‚Äôs 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 legislature‚Äôs dismissal more likely.
Yushchenko called the development ‚Äúa huge political mistake‚ÄĚ that makes virtually impossible further talks between pro-Russian groups and Our Ukraine, Yushchenko‚Äôs 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 Party‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúThis is the question of a terrible political choice that would produce nothing but confrontation in Ukraine,‚ÄĚ 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 week‚Äôs surprise election of Oleksandr Moroz, the leader of the Socialist Party, as the speaker.