Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ukraine's Coalition Unravels in a New Setback

By Aussiegirl

Sadly, the Orange Coalition has suffered a major setback, with the future looking uncertain. In Ukraine, according to sources who have recently lived and traveled there, the consensus seems to be that Yushchenko was a weak and indecisive leader who appeared to be out of touch with important issues. At least things seem to be proceeding without chicanery and bloodshed. But it looks as though pro-Russian forces have managed to wrest control of parliament from the Orange Coalition with the defection of Socialist leader Moroz. Never trust a Socialist.

Ukraine's Coalition Unravels in a New Setback - New York Times

President Viktor A. Yushchenko of Ukraine, a Western-leaning reformist who led a wave of popular protests to office, only to stumble badly when tested in parliamentary elections, suffered a new political defeat on Friday when his fragile coalition collapsed in acrimony two weeks after it was formed.

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Sergei Chuzavkov/Associated Press
President Viktor A. Yushchenko of Ukraine in Kiev Friday.

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His opponents, joined by a former ally of the president, announced a new coalition and pledged to nominate as prime minister the man Mr. Yushchenko ultimately defeated after those protests overturned a rigged presidential election in 2004.

Friday's events, three and a half months after his party's humiliating showing in parliamentary voting in March, cast new doubts on Mr. Yushchenko's presidency, undermining his efforts to steer Ukraine on a course more closely entwined with Europe. He faces the possibility of an opposition government and prime minister opposed to his policy of joining the European Union, NATO and the World Trade Organization.

"This is certainly going to be a blow to the president's priority objectives," said Roman M. Zvarich, one of Mr. Yushchenko's supporters, who previously served as justice minister.

Viktor F. Yanukovich, Mr. Yushchenko's presidential rival and leader of the Party of Regions, seized on the disarray among the pro-presidential parties. Only two weeks ago, the parties negotiated a fragile compromise to create a government that would, largely, support Mr. Yushchenko's policies. Mr. Yanukovich, who has pledged closer economic, political and social ties with Russia, announced what he called an "anti-crisis coalition" uniting the Communists and the Socialist Party, which until this week had allied itself with what became known in 2004 as the Orange Revolution.

The crisis only seemed to worsen, though. Mr. Yushchenko, whose indecisiveness showed in weeks of tumultuous negotiations over forming a coalition after March's election, raised the specter of disbanding Parliament even before it effectively convened. By law, he could call new elections if Parliament cannot form a government within 60 days of the dismissal of the old one, a deadline now set for July 25. In a statement, Mr. Yushchenko said he did not want "the country to walk in some wrong direction for five years."


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