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Premier takes off to go on campaign trail
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, Sept. 10 Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said Monday he planned to go on vacation starting Wednesday to help spearhead the campaign for his Regions Party across Ukraine ahead of the Sept. 30 election.

Yanukovych said the massive campaign would help the party win the election and secure him the post of prime minister for the next five years.

Of course, I have a huge desire to work as the prime minister of Ukraine for at least the next five years, Yanukovych said at a press conference. Thats to be able to finish those plans that we have.

The comments come as an opinion poll showed that Regions Party and its pro-Russian ally Communist Party had regained their combined lead over two pro-Western groups ahead of the vote.

The Regions Party now enjoys support from 30.1% of respondents, followed by the group led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (18.2%), President Viktor Yushchenkos Our Ukraine-Peoples Self-defense (11.7%) and the Communist Party (4.2%), according to FOM-Ukraine, a polling agency.

Members of the Regions Party are thought to have been approaching Yushchenko staff on the possibility of their groups forming a coalition after the election, according to media reports.

But relations between Yushchenko and Yanukovych have worsened dramatically over the past three weeks as the Our Ukraine-Peoples Self-defense groups launched an anti-corruption campaign that many believe would target members of the Regions Party.

After the Regions Party apparently failed to secure a promise from Our Ukraine-Peoples Self-defense over the coalition, the Party stepped up pressure on Yushchenko by radically changing its campaign now focusing on divisive issues such as the Russian language and NATO.

But Yanukovych on Monday again stressed that a coalition will be required to form the next government, suggesting that he may still be seeking the coalition with Our Ukraine-Peoples Self-defense to ensure long-term stability.

The future government will be a coalition one. It will all depend on which coalition there is in Parliament, Yanukovych said. I wish that the government works at least five years and then we will have concrete results. (tl/ez)




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