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Government coalition closer to collapse
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, April 14 Parties loyal to President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko at a meeting Monday failed to resolve major political differences, edging the pro-Western government coalition closer to potential collapse.

The Tymoshenko Bloc failed to assure Yushchenkos Our Ukraine-Peoples Self-defense that it would not be joining forces with the opposition Regions Party in seeking constitutional amendments challenging Yushchenko.

Following the meeting, the Tymoshenko group has been holding consultations within the party on whether - jointly with the Regions Party - to go ahead and create a controversial constitutional commission on Tuesday. The move would almost certainly undermine the coalition.

The coalition will be saved if the Tymoshenko Bloc doesnt vote for the bill creating the commission, Viacheslav Kyrylenko, the leader of Our Ukraine-Peoples Self-defense, said after the meeting. The bill is backed by the Regions and the Communists.

Kyrylenko said that the Tymoshenko Bloc would probably announce its final decision on Tuesday.

The partners took a pause for approving decision, Kyrylenko said. We expect they decision to be such that would help to save the coalition.

Both, the Tymoshenko group and the Regions Party have been seeking to challenge Yushchenko by reducing his powers, while instead increasing powers of the prime minister.

The amendments, which challenge Yushchenkos own plans for re-writing the constitution, would most certainly encourage creation of a bi-partisan political system in Ukraine. Such system would be dominated by the Tymoshenko group and the Regions Party, analysts said.

The commission is a challenge for Yushchenko, a pro-Western leader, who has already created the National Constitutional Council, a 96-member body to draft its own amendments. The Regions Party quit the council more than 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.

The Tymoshenkos groups voting for the commission is a challenge for the president, the United Center, a group recently created by Yushchenko loyalists, said in a statement.

This would be an alternative to the National Constitutional Council, which has a maximum representation of the people, the group said. Instead, the commission is a club that would pursue interests of the two political parties. (nr/ez)




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