KIEV, Nov. 25 – Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said she will show up in Parliament on Thursday to personally persuade lawmakers to override a presidential veto for the release of one billion hryvnias to fight flu.
Parliament will be holding an emergency session at the request of the Tymoshenko Bloc, which seeks to override President Viktor Yushchenko’s veto of a bill ordering the National Bank of Ukraine to issue UAH1 billion to pay for epidemiological needs.
“I will be there to persuade the lawmakers,” Tymoshenko said in an interview with Channel 5 television late Wednesday.
Tymoshenko’s plans to appear in Parliament underscore the fact that the government completely lacks financial resources after the International Monetary Fund had postponed its $3.4 billion installment earlier this month.
President Viktor Yushchenko vetoed the bill earlier this month amid concerns the money printing may boost inflation and weaken the national currency.
Yushchenko, who said Tymoshenko’s economic policy is leading the country to “disaster,” said the government should cut budget spending or borrow from commercial banks to finance the anti-flu effort.
Tymoshenko’s appearance in Parliament will be aimed at the opposition Regions Party, whose support will be required to override the veto. It will also be a test of the prime minister’s political strength.
At least 300 votes in 450-seat Parliament are required to override the veto.
Regions Party leader Viktor Yanukovych said Wednesday the party will decide on Thursday whether to support the bill.
Party members have earlier criticized the bill as economically “wrong,” but have indicated that they would probably still support it.
The bill was originally backed by 401 lawmakers on November 3, when the flu epidemic has been gaining momentum and spreading fast from the country’s western regions to eastern regions.
But now the epidemic has slowed down, reducing the need for the finances.
“Everything will be fine. We will survive and will keep moving forward,” Healthcare Minister Vasyl Kniazevych said Wednesday when asked on what will happen if lawmakers fail to override the veto.
Meanwhile, Tymoshenko said that the money will be needed to prepare for the second wave of the flu epidemic that she said will probably hit Ukraine later this year.
“World Heath Organization experts told us to expect the second wave of the flu,” Tymoshenko said. “That’s why we need to prepare for this.”
If Parliament overrides the veto, but Yushchenko refuses to sign it into law, it will be Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn who will have to sign it after December 10. (nr/ez)