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Regions Party accepts pro-Western policy
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, Aug. 2 - Minutes before President Viktor Yushchenko was expected to announce decision to dismiss Parliament late Wednesday, the Regions Party had agreed to support Ukraine’s pro-Western policy, including quick accession to NATO.

In response, Yushchenko agreed to support nomination of Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Regions Party, for the post of the prime minister. Parliament is now expected to move quickly on Thursday to form the new government.

“I have taken the decision to submit the candidature of Yanukovych for the post of the prime minister,” Yushchenko told a group of reporters late night Wednesday following hours of meetings with the groups.

The compromise ends more than four months of torturous talks between political groups over the new government following the March 26 general election. It also helps to avoid a major confrontation between the president and Parliament that could be otherwise triggered by the dismissal.

The move is the latest in a number of last minute deals and flip-flops between political parties over the past four months. Most of these deals have been later reversed or changed by political partners, further complicating the negotiations.

“Death by Ukrainian politics!” Timothy Ash, an analyst at Bear Stearns International in London, said, adding that the dismissal of Parliament would be the worst choice.

“Market would unlikely be impressed with Yushchenko trying to dissolve Parliament,” Ash said. “The Parliamentary majority could seek to resist, and we could end up with an ugly stand-off, and threats of impeachment against the president.”

Yushchenko said the agreement with the Regions Party would help to prevent a split between the country’s western regions, which support integration to the European Union, and eastern regions, which back greater cooperation with Russia.

“I understand the difficulty of this decision,” Yushchenko said. “I ask to the nation to accept this with understanding as we have a unique chance to get together the two banks of the Dnipro River.”



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