KIEV, April 10 – Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, President Viktor Yushchenko’s group, called for an urgent meeting with its coalition partner, the group led by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, as tensions between the two groups began escalating.
The development is the strongest indication yet of the growing split between the two groups that joined to form a pro-Western government in Ukraine more than three months ago.
“We have to hold serious and frank talks to stop mutual accusations,” Viacheslav Kyrylenko, the leader of Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense, said. “We insist that our colleagues from the Tymoshenko Bloc stick to the coalition agreement.”
Any coalition partner is allowed to call a meeting of the coalition in case of any urgent issues, and Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense seeks to hold the meeting on Monday.
The development comes amid rapidly escalating tensions with the coalition after the Tymoshenko group now frequently joining forces with opposition Regions Party in votes challenging Yushchenko.
Tymoshenko’s group on Wednesday temporarily postponed plans for creating, jointly with opposition Regions Party, a panel for re-writing the constitution after a strong warning from its only coalition partner, Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense.
Both, the Tymoshenko group and the Regions Party seek to challenge President Viktor Yushchenko by greatly reducing his powers, while instead increasing powers of the prime minister.
The Tymoshenko group and the Regions sought to create the panel this week, but on Wednesday had suddenly postpone the move following the warning from Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense.
The panel is a major challenge for Yushchenko, a pro-Western leader, who has been seeking to re-write the constitution and has already created the National Constitutional Council, a 96-member body to draft amendments. The Regions Party quit the council a month ago.
The joining of forces between Tymoshenko and the Regions Party is especially dangerous for Yushchenko as the two groups can jointly override a veto from the president.
This comes amid speculations that the Tymoshenko has been increasingly cooperating with Yushchenko’s foes in order to weaken the presidency.
On Tuesday, the Tymoshenko group has joined forces with the Regions Party to approve internal regulations in Parliament clashing with Yushchenko.
On Wednesday a number of Tymoshenko lawmakers joined forces with the Regions Party to approve a resolution that challenges Yushchenko over his recent decision to fire a controversial judge of the Constitutional Court.
Kyrylenko warned the joining of forces between the Tymoshenko group and the Regions undermines the coalition and is unacceptable. (nr/ez)