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Ukrainian coalition, opposition to hold round table aimed to solve political crisis

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July 3, 2006, 4:13 p.m. |
Party of Regions demanding chairmanships of key parliamentary committees and the appointment of its members as governors in the eastern and southern regions it dominates rliament's work.

The pro-Russian opposition Party of Regions began blocking the parliamentary podium last week as the new coalition planned a vote on naming Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister.

The party, led by President Viktor Yushchenko's 2004 election rival Viktor Yanukovych, won the most votes in the March parliamentary election but has been shut out of power after the three parties that led the 2004 Orange Revolution formed a new coalition.

Under the agreement between the three "Orange" parties, Yushchenko's estranged ally Tymoshenko gets her premier's job back, while his top aide, Petro Poroshenko, is given the speaker's job.

The Party of Regions objects to a coalition proposal to hold the votes on the prime minister and the parliamentary speaker on a single ballot - in violation of parliamentary rules. Such a ballot would benefit the Orange allies because it increases the likelihood of Poroshenko - a controversial figure because of his big business background - winning approval.

The Party of Regions has also demanded the chairmanships of key parliamentary committees and the appointment of its members as governors in the eastern and southern regions it dominates, sparking Orange coalition accusations of blackmail. The coalition is considering giving the Party of Regions mostly deputy chairmanships.

Last week, Yushchenko called for the round table between all political forces to find a way out of the political crisis. The proposition was welcomed by the coalition and opposition.

Yushchenko fired Tymoshenko, his former ally, as prime minister last year after an acrimonious split among the one-time allies in the Orange Revolution.
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