BRATISLAVA, Oct. 11 – Ukraine will be able to boost ties with the European Union and accelerate integration after a new government is formed following the Sept. 30 snap election, President Viktor Yushchenko said Thursday.
Two pro-Western parties--the group led by Yulia Tymoshenko and Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense--outperformed pro-Russian groups at the election and will have a slim majority in Parliament.
“We received a great result at the election that will benefit Ukraine,” Yushchenko said while on a visit to Bratislava, Slovakia. “These results will strengthen Ukraine’s European integration process.”
Together, Tymoshenko’s group and Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense will control 228 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, a majority that allows the groups to form the government. The president nominates the prime minister, who must be approved by Parliament.
A group led by former Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, a centrist party that will control 20 seats, was also invited to join the pro-Western coalition. The party has yet to respond.
The Central Election Commission is supposed to announce final results of the election before Oct. 15, which is when the parties can create the coalition and the government.
The election comes as a relief for Yushchenko, whose pro-Western foreign policy was hampered and delayed for the past 12 months by the pro-Russian government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.
Among the biggest setbacks, the Yanukovych government postponed indefinitely Ukraine’s accession to NATO, Russia’s main concern.
Yanukovych also postponed Ukraine’s accession to the World Trade Organization as his government had refused to approve minor legislative and regulatory changes. Russia has been warning Ukraine of economic repercussions and even trade problems in Kiev joins the WTO before Moscow.
Now, encouraged by the election, which had given the pro-Western parties a victory, Yushchenko said Ukraine’s pro-Western policy will accelerate.
He said that within the next 11-12 months, Ukraine and the EU will prepare a long-term agreement that will eventually give the country a chance to join the EU, Kiev’s most wanted foreign policy goal.
“Ukraine will have a prospect of European integration,” Yushchenko said. (jp/ez)