KIEV, Nov. 22 – President Viktor Yushchenko faced unexpected opposition from his Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense party on Thursday when he suggested nominating his security advisor Ivan Pliushch for speaker of Parliament.
The majority of Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense lawmakers rejected the proposal, and stood by their previous decision to nominate Viacheslav Kyrylenko, the leader of Our Ukraine, to the post.
Pliushch, who is known to be an advocate of a grand coalition that would also include lawmakers from Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s Regions Party, withdrew his nomination, according to lawmakers.
“The discussing had been going on, when Pliushch came forward and said he doesn’t need any post,” Volodymyr Stretrovych, an Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense lawmakers who joined the meeting, told Channel 5 late Thursday.
The development removes obstacles for the creation of the pro-Western government coalition on Friday when Parliament is due to hold its first session after the Sept. 30 snap election.
“We have a plan for tomorrow’s grand opening of the session of Parliament, we have a clear understanding of what to do,” Yuriy Lutsenko, an Our Ukraine leader, said after the meeting with Yushchenko. “Now, political events will be developing rapidly.”
Yushchenko held the meeting with Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense on Thursday ahead of the session to try to persuade them to nominate his long-time ally Pliushch to the post of the speaker.
Pliushch is seen by analysts as a figure capable of balancing out charismatic Tymoshenko once she becomes the next prime minister. Kyrylenko is seen by analysts as more loyal to Tymoshenko.
Pliushch is one of three members of 72-strong Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense group that had yet refused to publicly support Tymoshenko’s nomination to the post of the prime minister.
But following the meeting with Yushchenko, Pliushch and two other lawmakers have apparently changed their minds and at last had agreed to back Tymoshenko.
“The good news is that all 72 lawmakers are ready to support the coalition,” Lutsenko said.
Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, jointly with the Tymoshyenko group, control 228 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, the slim majority that us just enough to create the coalition and to form the government.
However, Yushchenko has repeatedly warned lawmakers said the coalition must include more lawmakers for the sake of political stability.(tl/ez)