KIEV, Dec. 6 – President Viktor Yushchenko on Thursday nominated Yulia Tymoshenko to be Ukraine’s next prime minister after receiving assurances from her party that important legislation will be approved before Parliament votes on the candidacy.
The presidential office has been calling for the legislation, aimed at stabilizing relations between the institution of the presidency and the government, to be approved before the new prime minister is voted in.
“We will approve the legislation first,” Oleksandr Turchynov, Tymoshenko’s ally, said in an interview with Studio 1+1 on Thursday. “After that we will vote to approve the prime minister.”
The legislation among other bills includes the revised bill on the Cabinet of Ministers. The law that is now in effect has shifted some presidential powers to the prime minister and to the coalition, triggering an exhausting battle for power between Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych earlier this year.
Parliamentary regulations call for the prime minister nomination to be debated and voted within five days after it had been submitted by the president, suggesting the legislation must be approved within days.
Meanwhile, before approving the legislation, Parliament will also have to fill vacant positions in the legislature, including posts of two deputy speakers of Parliament and two dozens heads of standing committees.
The Regions Party, Yanukovych’s group that is rapidly drifting towards becoming a major opposition force, has tried to block the work of Parliament Thursday amid disagreement over the committee posts.
Turchynov, who accused the Regions of deliberately delaying the work of Parliament, said lawmakers may get for a session on Saturday and Sunday to speed up the process.
“If lawmakers feel like it, why not to work on Saturday and Sunday?,” Turchynov said. “The speaker of Parliament must do everything for the prime minister to be approved within five days.”
The law on the Cabinet of Ministers currently allows the coalition to nominate defense and foreign ministers in case the president fails to do so within 14 days. This law clashes directly with the constitution provisions that allow only the president to nominate both figures that are crucial for the country’s foreign and defense policies.
The law was originally vetoed by the president. But following a secret deal between Tymoshenko and Yanukovych in January, both groups have joined forces to override the veto, triggering a chain of events that had later led to the dissolution of Parliament on April 2.
The coalition, which controls 227 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, was created last week following the Sept. 30 election. As its first step, Arseniy Yatseniuk, Yushchenko’s choice, was approved as the speaker of Parliament on Tuesday. (tl/ez)