KIEV, Dec. 13 – Lawmakers will vote Friday whether to approve Yulia Tymoshenko as Ukraine’s new prime minister, three days after a previous vote had failed due to an unexplained computer malfunction, Parliament Speaker Arseniy Yatseniuk said Wednesday.
President Viktor Yushchenko, following the failed vote, re-nominated Tymoshenko on Wednesday. But, bowing to pressure from the Regions Party, the main opposition group, lawmakers held talks on Thursday discussing future appointments to lead dozens of Parliamentary committees.
“According to regulations, the speaker of Parliament must without delay and without discussions include in agenda such issues as appointments and dismissals,” Yatseniuk said, defending the decision to hold the prime minister vote on Friday.
This comes as the Regions Party has been persistently calling for delaying the vote until the next week, suggesting that first appointments must be made to Parliamentary committees.
But the coalition rejected the plan and demanded holding the vote on Friday. The constitution stipulates the coalition must approve the prime minister and to form the government 30 days after the coalition has been created, effectively setting the deadline on Dec. 23.
“We believe they simply delay time and try to break the coalition,” Oleksandr Turchynov, a Tymoshenko ally, said. “We have made all possible concessions and compromises.”
Meanwhile, Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, Yushchenko’s group, and the group led by Tymoshenko pledged on Thursday to press ahead with the idea of holding the prime minister vote by raising hands or by casting paper ballots as opposed to using the Rada, the computer system.
The idea was to prevent any possible Rada malfunction like the one that had prevented the approval of Tymoshenko as the prime minister on Tuesday.
The system showed only 225 lawmakers had voted for Tymoshenko, one less than is required for the approval, while two lawmakers had immediately complained their voting cards had failed.
The failure was cheered by the Regions Party, which had effectively disrupted the work of Parliament for almost two days.
Coalition lawmakers accused Regions Party loyalists of tampering with the system to prevent the approval of Tymoshenko, a charge that the Regions Party had flatly denied. SBU security service checked the system on Wednesday, but hadn’t found any evidence of tempering.
Meanwhile, there were signs on Thursday that the Regions Party would try to delay the work of Parliament on Friday as the party by nominating a highly controversial figure for the post of the first deputy speaker of Parliament.
“This figure will be a joint nomination [by the opposition groups],” Olena Bondarenko, a spokeswoman for the Regions Party, told the Channel 5 television. “This will be Adam Martyniuk.”
The nomination of Martyniuk, a member of the Communist Party, was flatly rejected by Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense on ideological grounds two weeks ago.
The Tymoshenko group also indicated it will not support Martyniuk’s nomination, which means the figure may fail to collect enough votes for the approval and could trigger a new round of tensions in Parliament. (tl/ez)