KIEV, Dec. 5 - President Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday said that the incoming government coalition will have to approve a number of laws fixing imbalances in Ukraine's political system before he can nominate Yulia Tymoshenko as the new prime minister.
"First, a number of laws will have to be approved," Yushchenko told a meeting of local government officials in Kiev.
The comment underscores Yushchenko's concerns with some laws, including the controversial law on the Cabinet of Ministers, which has shifted much power from the president to the prime minister.
The law allows the government to nominate and approve defense and foreign ministers if the president fails to nominate them within 14 days, clashing directly with constitutional provisions that allow only the president to nominate both figures.
The law was originally vetoed by the president, but was approved in January after the Tymoshenko group joined forces with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's Regions Party to override the veto.
The development later triggered a major clash between Yanukovych and Yushchenko over foreign policy and the powers, and eventually led to the dismissal of Parliament by Yushchenko's decree on April 2.
Tymoshenko later promised Yushchenko's Our Ukraine-People's Self-defense to approve a new bill that would include reservations from the presidential office. The parties agreed to approve the bill before the nomination of the prime minister to avoid any room for the political conflict between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko.
The coalition controls 227 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, was created last week following the Sept. 30 snap election. As its first step, Arseniy Yatseniuk, Yushchenko's choice, was approved as speaker of Parliament on Tuesday.
Tymoshenko expected to the coalition to proceed quickly to approve her as the new prime minister perhaps as soon as Thursday, but Yushchenko's comments suggest that the process may be somewhat delayed until the required legislation is approved.
Still, Yushchenko suggested the approval of the legislation will not take too long, and said the new government will have to form "as soon as possible" and will draft a "strategic vision of the country's development."
"I am confident that the new government will be capable of professionally and in a decent way solving problems that had been inherited from predecessors," Yushchenko said.
Among the challenges that will have to be tackled, Yushchenko mentioned "exceptionally high" inflation, corruption, abuse of authority by customs offices and non-transparent natural gas supply and price setting arrangement.
"The president, the coalition and the future government will have to get together around solving this and other tasks," Yushchenko said. (tl/ez)