KIEV, Dec. 11 – Yulia Tymoshenko’s bid to become prime minister fell through on Tuesday when a computerized vote counting system in Parliament suddenly failed to register votes from some of her most ardent supporters.
The system showed only 225 lawmakers voted for Tymoshenko, one less than is required for approval, while two lawmakers immediately complained their voting cards had failed.
An attempt to hold a re-vote also failed as Region Party lawmakers, Tymoshenko’s opponents, swarmed around the seat of Parliament Speaker Arseniy Yatseniuk, pulling out his voting card and destroying equipment that operates the system.
The development led to clashes between lawmakers and triggered lengthy political consultations, involving President Viktor Yushchenko, to try to unblock the work of Parliament.
David Zhvania, a lawmaker from Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, said the president has agreed to submit Tymoshenko’s nomination to Parliament again on Wednesday.
He also said that lawmakers will probably hold the new vote by casting paper ballots instead of relying on computerized voting system, known as Rada, to prevent any manipulations.
Meanwhile, the failed vote is a setback for Tymoshenko and for the pro-Western coalition that was expected Tuesday to approve a new government to replace that of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Regions Party.
“This proves the fact that Parliament’s secretariat, which hasn’t been reshuffled, is working for the Regions Party,” Bohdan Hunskiy, a member of the Tymoshenko group, said. “There is evidence of them blocking the voting cards to make sure that Tymoshenko’s approval doesn’t get through.”
The Regions Party denied the allegations of tempering with the voting system. But some Regions Party lawmakers argued the failed vote means it was time to create the grand coalition, which would include their party in the government.
The pro-Western coalition controls 227 seats in the 450-seat Parliament and has successfully voted to approve Yatseniuk as the speaker of Parliament last week. The vote strengthened hopes within the coalition that Tymoshenko will be approved as the new prime minister and the new government will be formed the same slim majority.
But the vote counting system on Tuesday showed that Oleksandr Omelchenko, a former mayor of Kiev and an ardent supporter of the pro-Western coalition, has failed to register his vote in favor of Tymoshenko.
Ivan Denkovych, a member of the Tymoshenko Bloc, also failed to vote for Tymoshenko, according to the Rada system.
Both, Omelchenko and Denkovych later confirmed that the system had malfunctioned, and urged for the re-vote.
Minutes later both lawmakers voted to re-run the vote, but this time a card from another lawmaker failed. Yaroslav Fedorchuk, a Tymoshenko group member, said the malfunction had rejected his vote, while Yatseniuk’s card had been pulled out by a Regions Party lawmaker, leading to the failure. (tl/ez)