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Ukrainian president's bloc moving into opposition, plans to withdraw Cabinet ministers

Ukrainian president's bloc moving into opposition, plans to withdraw Cabinet ministers

President Viktor Yushchenko's political bloc announced Wednesday that it was moving into opposition in parliament and said it would ask Yushchenko to remove its three ministers from the 23-person Cabinet.
The decision comes amid worsening relations between the pro-Western Yushchenko and new Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who is considered more pro-Russian.
Analysts, however, said the withdrawal of the Our Ukraine bloc from Yanukovych's government was unlikely to completely end the two parties' cooperation.
Yushchenko and Yanukovych were bitter rivals in the 2004 presidential campaign when fraud triggered the Orange Revolution mass protests that helped usher Yushchenko into power. Yanukovych rebounded less than two years later to sweep the March parliamentary elections and form a governing coalition, staking his claim to the No. 2 spot.
Yushchenko and Yanukovych signed a unity pact in August that led to Yanukovych becoming premier; in return, some of Yushchenko's allies were given seats in Yanukovych's Cabinet.
Despite months of negotiations, however, Yushchenko's party failed to reach an agreement to join the governing coalition led by Yanukovych's Party of the Regions, and the two parties have bickered over the unity agreement.
"We decided definitely," Our Ukraine's top negotiator Roman Bezsmertny said at the end of Wednesday's talks. "There is a governing coalition, and there is Our Ukraine, which is in opposition to the governing coalition."
Our Ukraine controls two Cabinet ministers_ justice and youth and sports _ and the constitution allows Yushchenko to name the foreign and defense ministers. Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk is also a member of Our Ukraine.
Party spokeswoman Tetyana Mokridi said the party would ask Yushchenko to withdraw all three. If the ministers refuse, Bezsmertny said they would be expected to leave the bloc.
Political analyst Oles Doniy doubted whether Our Ukraine would actually follow through on this threat and predicted party leaders would find a compromise.
"Our Ukraine needs to have their ministers in government to take part in ruling the country. The Party of Regions needs the president's cooperation to gain complete control of the country's economy," he said.


Updated : 2021-05-12 18:44 GMT+08:00