Tymoshenko set to become PM

2007-10-16 07:42

Kiev - Parties linked to Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" initialled a post-election coalition agreement on Monday, putting pro-Western Yulia Tymoshenko on course to form the next government.

Tymoshenko was President Viktor Yushchenko's first prime minister after weeks of mass "orange" rallies in 2004 swept him to power, but she was sacked within eight months.

Monday's agreement followed the announcement of official results from a parliamentary election in which two "orange" parties won a wafer-thin majority. As head of the larger group, Tymoshenko is almost certain to be restored to her former job.

A self-assured Tymoshenko told reporters: "The election has led to a change in parliament. Power has changed hands in Ukraine and we have achieved the result we had hoped for.

Remove privileges from MPs

"The parliament is new, those in power are new. The democratic team has all grounds to reform all sectors of life so that people feel tangible changes in the country."

The coalition's first tasks after the election, aimed at ending a year of political deadlock, included carrying out a pledge to remove privileges from members of parliament and alter a law which substantially reduced the president's powers.

The two "orange" parties hold 228 seats - two more than needed to win most votes. Their accession to power would turf out of office the president's rival, Viktor Yanukovich - who lost the 2004 election to Yushchenko but bounced back last year to become prime minister.

Tymoshenko said an "orange" government would give wide powers to the opposition in parliament and would sponsor a law outlining its role. In the run-up to the accord, she agreed to a call from the president to give some top jobs to his rivals.

The elegant Tymoshenko stood alongside Yushchenko during weeks of rallies by people clad in orange who thronged central Kiev after the 2004 election.