KIEV, July 30 â€“ The creation of a new coalition in Ukraine stumbled Friday after President Viktor Yushchenko had flatly refused to support Viktor Yanukovych, the Regions Party leader, for the post of the prime minister.
The development again escalated tensions between Yushchenko and the Regions Party, a moderate pro-Russian group, further increasing chances for the dismissal of Parliament and early election.
The main political parties agreed on Thursday to sign an agreement to ensure Ukraineâ€™s pro-Western foreign policy and economic reforms, perhaps creating a coalition between the Regions Party and Yushchenkoâ€™s Our Ukraine.
The Regions Party, the Socialist Party and Our Ukraine, which control a total of 296 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, indicated Thursday they were close to signing the agreement. But the talks stumbled Friday as Yushchenko had sought to block nomination of Yanukovych as the prime minister.
â€śThe agreement will not be signed,â€ť Taras Chornovil, a member of the Regions Party, told NTN television Sunday. â€śThe talks are in a deadlock because of Our Ukraine.â€ť
The failure to sign the agreement, known as the Universal for National Unity, would most likely lead to Yushchenko dismissing Parliament and calling new election, a scenario the groups had sought to avoid.
Yushchenko cancelled his scheduled radio address to the nation on Saturday, a sign that the talks had collapsed. Oleh Rybachuk, the chief of staff at the Yushchenko office, said the talks will probably resume Monday morning.
â€śI canâ€™t believe the agreement will not be signed,â€ť Rybachuk told Channel 5 television late Sunday. â€śThe result would be the presidentâ€™s decision on the new election.â€ť
Yushchenko last week obtained the power to dismiss Parliament as political parties had failed to form the government 60 days after the previous government had resigned on May 25. Yushchenko threatened to take the action soon unless parties agree to promote his pro-Western policy and economic reforms.
The pro-Russian coalition, which includes the Regions Party, the Socialist Party and the Communist Party, created less than three weeks ago, nominated Yanukovych for the post of the prime minister.
Yushchenko has 15 days to sign the nomination and to submit it to Parliament, a deadline that expires on Aug. 2.
The Regions Party has already vowed to challenge Yushchenko should the president move to dismiss Parliament, apparently hinting that the pro-Russian coalition would still vote to approve Yanukovych as the prime minister.
This shows political crisis in Ukraine may aggravate that may further split the country between pro-Western leaning central and western regions and pro-Russian leaning eastern regions.
â€śThe thoughtless decision by the president will trigger an adequate reaction from Parliament and will not bring in calmness to the country,â€ť Yevhen Kushnaiov, a member of the Regions party, told ICTV. â€śI wish the president could think well before provoking Parliament.â€ť
But the grim scenario may still be avoided as talks will probably be conducted on Monday morning to try to prevent the standoff.
â€śThere will be a meeting at the presidentâ€™s office at 10:00 in the morning to review the talks,â€ť Rybachuk said. â€śDepending on the progress made at the talks, a decision will be taken on whether we can resume the talks.â€ť (tl/ez)