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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Constitutional Court to rule and possible new PM

Yanukovych Asks Constitutional Court to Rule on Coalition Law
By Daryna Krasnolutska

March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych will ask the Constitutional Court to rule on a law allowing parliamentary coalitions to be formed based on individual lawmaker affiliations instead of party groups.

The law, initiated by Yanukovych’s party, was adopted yesterday by the Kiev-based legislature and needs the president’s signature to take effect. Opposition parties called the move “unconstitutional.”

Yanukovych told European Union and G-8 ambassadors that he “decided to ask the Constitutional Court to rule on whether a coalition and a government formed under the new law would be legitimate,” according to a statement posted on his Web site today.

Parliament voted last week to topple former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who lost the Feb. 7 presidential run-off to Yanukovych. Yanukovych has until April 3 to form a new coalition, failing which he must call early parliamentary elections.

Last Updated: March 10, 2010 08:14 EST

Yanukovych Offers Key Post to Tigipko
10 March 2010

Serhiy Tihipko is a former central bank governor.

KIEV — Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has offered the post of deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs to reformist former central bank chief Sergei Tigipko, Yanukovych's office said Wednesday.

It said in a statement that Tigipko, 50, had "agreed to work in the new government" but did not make clear whether he had accepted the post of deputy prime minister.

A spokeswoman for Tigipko could not confirm whether he had agreed to take the post.

Yanukovych's offer will fuel speculation that the job of prime minister will go to the president's Russian-born close ally, former Finance Minister Mykola Azarov, 62.

The nomination of a new prime minister is likely soon after the formation of a new ruling coalition in parliament, expected in the next two days.

Yanukovych's Party of the Regions is trying to stitch together a new alliance and a government to replace that of ousted Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who lost a presidential runoff election in February to Yanukovych.

On Tuesday, the Party of the Regions and its allies pushed through the parliament a rule change easing the creation of a ruling coalition by giving deputies the right to join as individuals, not necessarily as part of a parliamentary faction.

Yanukovych's lawmakers say they could announce a coalition on Thursday or Friday after the rule change is signed by the president and published in the official newspaper.

Lawmakers said Azarov was meeting leaders of the Our Ukraine faction of former President Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday, a crucial bloc if the Party of the Regions is to clinch a majority in the parliament.

Tigipko, who came in at a strong third in the first round of the presidential election in January, previously ruled out accepting any job other than that of prime minister and demanded "unpopular" reforms to tackle a serious economic crisis.

Political analysts have questioned whether he could push such reforms through a government beholden in large part to Yanukovych's wealthy industrial backers.

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