KIEV, Nov. 28 – Seven rebellious lawmakers from Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, at a meeting with President Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday, promised to stop their resistance and to sign an agreement creating a pro-Western coalition, an official said.
Viktor Baloha, Yushchenko’s chief of staff, said the meeting removes obstacles for the creation of the coalition that is expected to quickly appoint Yulia Tymoshenko as Ukraine’s next prime minister.
“The president has a clear confidence that from now on there are no obstacles for the creation of the democratic coalition and for the formation of an effective government,” Baloha said.
As a compromise, however, Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense may replace Viacheslav Kyrylenko as the group’s nominee for the post of speaker of Parliament, according to Mykola Onyshchuk, one of the lawmakers that met Yushchenko.
“I am afraid there will be a different candidature,” Onyshchuk said in an interview with the Channel 5 television late Wednesday. “I think the president and lawmakers realize the level of responsibility that lies on the coalition, and, perhaps, that’s why this cannot be Kyrylenko.”
Yushchenko met Kyrylenko earlier on Wednesday, but the press service had not released details of the meeting.
Last week Yushchenko tried to replace Kyrylenko with one of four candidates he had suggested, including Ivan Pliushch, a former security advisor, Yuriy Yekhanurov, a former prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, the foreign minister, and Yuriy Kostenko.
But Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense lawmakers then challenged Yushchenko and refused to accept the replacement.
Yushchenko seeks to nominate a strong leader as the speaker in order to balance out Tymoshenko as the prime minister, analysts said. Kyrylenko is seen by the president as too loyal to Tymoshenko, whose populist initiatives have already caused concerns among economists.
One of such initiatives is Tymoshenko’s campaign promise to pay within two years some 120 billion hryvnias, or $60 billion, in debts owed to millions of people on Soviet-era bank deposits.
Provided the government secures enough cash for the payment, this would cause inflation of up to 40% annually, according to Oleksandr Morozov, a former head of Oshchadbank, the savings bank.
Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, Yushchenko’s group, and the group led by Tymoshenko, will jointly control a slim majority of 228 seats in the 450-seat Parliament.
But the coalition was stalled on Friday after seven Our Ukraine lawmakers nexpectedly refused to support it.
All lawmakers provided different reasons for the refusal, but they all, however, insisted on their personal loyalty to Yushchenko.(tl/ez)