KIEV, Aug. 27 – Ukraine’s two perennially squabbling main pro-Western political parties say they have agreed to a seven-year alliance ahead of the Sept. 30 election.
Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, President Viktor Yushchenko’s group, will seek to sign the deal with its pro-Western ally, the group led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a leader said Monday.
Yuriy Lutsenko, who leads Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense for the election, said the agreement is to ensure the long-term partnership between the two groups—erstwhile allies in the so-called Orange Revolution--through the end of 2014.
The time-frame indicates that Our Ukraine will probably demand assurances from Tymoshenko not to challenge Yushchenko at the next presidential election in 2009, analysts said.
It also suggests the two parties may seek to throw their support behind a single pro-Western candidate running at the presidential election in 2014 when Yushchenko will not be allowed to run by the constitution.
“There are many political battles ahead of us,” Lutsenko said in an interview with Studio 1+1 television. “We would like to be assured that these political allies under no circumstances repeat the problem [of March 2006 election] when they have been attacking each other, losing the country.”
The agreement, which was drafted by Our Ukraine, will be signed shortly after Tymoshenko returns from her election campaign tour throughout Ukraine, Lutsenko said.
“The president, as the leader of all democratic forces, and the leadership of our bloc have expressed reservations in the agreement and we’re now expecting a word from Yulia Tymoshenko,” he said.
The signing of the agreement presumably helps the pro-Western alliance in challenging the pro-Russian Regions Party led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.
The plans for signing the agreement come as support for pro-Western groups has been growing over the past three weeks and improving chances for forming the pro-Western government after the Sept. 30 election.
Poll data released last week had suggested Tymoshenko could return as the prime minister after the election as the pro-Western groups may collect enough votes—if they can succeed in working together this time around--to form the government.
The suggested agreement will complement the existing deal, according to which Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense and the Tymoshenko group are to form a 50-50 government. The group winning more votes between the two will nominate the prime minister.
Two pro-Western groups scored 32.3% support among respondents, slightly more than two pro-Russian parties--Regions Party and the Communist Party--which may jointly score 32.1%, according to FOM-Ukraine, the polling agency.
The support for the Tymoshenko group among respondents increased to 18.3%, up from 14.1% three weeks ago, while Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense’s rating dropped to 14% from 15.1%, according to the poll.
Public support for the Regions Party, led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, eroded to 29.5%, down from 30.2% three weeks ago, while the Communist Party’s rating dropped to 3.6% from 5%.(tl/ez)