KIEV, Nov. 29 – A pro-Western coalition was created in Ukraine on Thursday after 227 lawmakers, a slim majority, signed an agreement opening way for the formation of the government led by the fiery Yulia Tymoshenko.
The move came as six out of seven rebellious Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense lawmakers had ended their resistance and had signed the agreement. Ivan Pliushch, President Viktor Yushchenko’s former security advisor, failed to sign. The coalition needs at least 226 signatures.
The development ends two months of talks between parties following the Sept. 30 snap election at which two pro-Western groups had outperformed two pro-Russian groups by a slim margin.
“We required major efforts to come to an agreement and to reach a compromise,” Yevhen Korniychuk, a member of the Tymoshenko group, said. “But we acted according to democratic principles and lived up to our commitments.”
The development opens way for consultations over forming Tymoshenko-led government that will replace the pro-Russian government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.
Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense and the Tymoshenko have pledged earlier this year to form a 50-50 government in the event of their joint victory at the snap election.
Our Ukraine is supposed to nominate the speaker of Parliament, while the Tymoshenko group is supposed to nominate the prime minister.
“Now, the democratic forces will start consultations over the new government in terms of personnel,” Tymoshenko said.
The pro-Western coalition controls 227 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, but both groups have been courting the centrist group led by former Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn to join.
“I would really like the democratic coalition to come about and the Lytvyn group to join it,” Tymoshenko said. “I believe this would give Parliament a chance to work calmly.”
Tymoshenko’s party performed strongly at the election, but her campaign had mostly focused on populist issues.
One of her campaign promises was the pledge to pay within two years 120 billion hryvnias, or $60 billion, to millions of people that had lost their savings during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Another promise was to cancel military draft service from Jan. 1, 2008, which critics said could eliminate the country’s defense force at once. A top army general said the move would cost 40 billion hryvnias, while, eventually, Tymoshenko had agreed to work with Yushchenko on the issue.
But Tymoshenko’s biggest election promise was to fight corruption and to promote justice.
“The goal is to form a government team that will consist of true professionals, not of thieves, corrupt and criminal elements,” Tymoshenko said. “Our goal is to set a clear and harmonious order for the people.” (tl/ez)