KIEV, Nov. 24 – President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday attacked Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, his main rival for votes in Ukraine’s western regions, for her “disastrous” economic policy.
As the latest example of such policy, Yushchenko mentioned Tymoshenko’s effort to force the National Bank of Ukraine to print one billion hryvnias to help the cash-strapped government fight flu.
“Every week of Tymoshenko being the prime minister leads the country to a disaster,” Yushchenko said while on the election campaign trail in the Chernihiv region. “Tymoshenko is the crisis, the crisis in everything.”
Parliament, on demand from the Tymoshenko Bloc, is due to hold an emergency session on Thursday to try to override a veto from Yushchenko to a bill that forces the NBU to print the money.
Support from at least 300 lawmakers in the 450-seat Parliament is required for the legislature to override the veto, which means pro-government lawmakers have to join forces with the opposition Regions Party for the successful vote.
Although the bill was backed by 401 lawmakers on November 3, the epidemic had lost momentum over the past two weeks and that apparently is relieving pressure for the funding.
“I will be interested to see the reaction of Parliament that will be approving decision on good intentions that lead to hell,” Yushchenko said.
“The issue is not about one billion hryvnias, the issue is that… the prime minister is dishonestly conducting the economic policy,” Yushchenko said. “I would like this problem to be a responsibility of the prime minister who as a person seeks to authorize the printing of money without the necessity.”
Yushchenko has earlier said the government should have either cut spending or borrow money from commercial banks to raise funds for its anti-flu measures that include purchases of Tamiflu and other medicines. He argued the monetary emission may spur inflation and weaken the national currency.
The Regions Party recently said the request for the money printing was a financially “wrong” step by the government, but they had planned to support the measure in order to stop the spread of the flu.
Yushchenko indicted that even if Parliament overrides the veto, he will not sign it, suggesting Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn will have a chance to sign it after Dec. 10.
Yushchenko has been persistently criticizing Tymoshenko for her economic policy, but also for the way of handling natural gas talks with Russia that he believes has made Ukraine economically and politically more dependent on Russia.
Yushchenko and Tymoshenko both run for the presidency at the election due on January 17, 2010, and both compete for voters in western and central regions of Ukraine.
Yushchenko has taken a shot at Tymoshenko’s campaign slogan that has been placed throughout the country and says that “She Will Win.”
“Today I’ve seen many posters in Pryluky that say ‘She Will Win.’ She will not win. That’s because if she wins, you are going to lose. And I don’t want that.” (tl/ez)