KIEV, Jan. 31 – President Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense group on Thursday demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko of her controversial remarks that coalition with Regions Party, an opposition group, was possible.
Viacheslav Kyrylenko, the leader of Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, said the group will demand the explanation on Feb. 5, when the coalition is due to hold its meeting.
“The creation of a coalition with the Regions Party would mean the collapse of the democratic coalition,” Kyrylenko said in a statement. “Even if the Regions Party agrees to some 20 conditions imposed the prime minister.”
“Our bloc will never initiate the collapse of the [pro-Western] coalition or the creation of the coalition with the Regions Party, and we will demand the same position from the Tymoshenko Bloc,” Kyrylenko said.
Tymoshenko, in an interview with EuroNews television channel in Brussels on Tuesday, said it was possible for her parliamentary bloc to join forces with the Regions Party in the coalition. This marked a shift from her persistent and flat rejections of the idea.
Tymoshenko later tried to downplay the remark, suggesting that she meant to say that her group will cooperate with the Regions as with the opposition force.
But the reaction from Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense on Thursday shows that the scandal has been gathering momentum and may lead to complication within the two-party governing coalition.
The remark was made at a very sensitive time, shortly after Tymoshenko and Yushchenko had exchanged sharp comments suggesting both may compete against each other in the presidential election late next year.
It also comes amid widespread speculation in Kiev that the Tymoshenko group and the Regions Party could join forces for the impeachment of the president, if the standoff persists.
The Regions Party and the Tymoshenko group, the two biggest groups in Parliament, jointly control more than 300 votes, enough to override a veto from the president.
The Regions Party also picked up the remark on Thursday announcing that the party was ready for talks with “any political group” for creation of the grand coalition.
“We are for a mutual and as wide as possible understanding. Without ultimatums, without warnings, without conditions,” the Regions Party said. “We are ready to sit down for the talks with anybody, not for an adventure, but for the goal that we have always set, for the unification of Ukraine and for improving lives of the people.” (tl/ez)