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17 Oct, 2007 17:04

`Gas princess` Timoshenko is set to return as Ukraine's PM

In Ukraine, the Orange parties say they will push for their country to join the EU and NATO, and co-operate with Russia and Central Asia over energy. The Yulia Timoshenko Bloc and ‘Our Ukraine – People's Self-Defence Bloc’ have agreed to form a

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko declared his support for the Orange Coalition. Leading their rivals by only six votes, the coalition is speeding to form a government.

After more than a year in opposition, Yulia Timoshenko is tipped to become the next Prime Minister and bring Ukraine closer to the European Union and NATO.

“Our coalition will be stable. There are rumours that some of our members will not vote for prime minister and speaker’s candidates. Believe me, we eliminated traitors,” Ms Timoshenko stated.

The current cabinet has opposed the idea of a one-colour government.

As the largest single winner in this election, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich says the Orange team will fail without his party’s votes.

“The make-up of power that they suggested is practically impossible. This coalition will not be stable, which means our life will be unstable. That’s why we’ll make everything possible to unite the country,” said Mr Yanukovich.

However, President Yushchenko wants the Orange team to act without delay. If earlier he was hinting that his long-time rivals should be consulted in forming government, this time he empowered Yulia Timoshenko and the Our Ukraine party to claim the majority.

“I support their intention. And I must emphasise that these forces took a responsibility to develop the situation and work productively in the parliament. I am expecting that as soon as the Rada convenes, the majority will form the coalition,” said the President.

Announcing the details of the Coalition, Yulia Timoshenko promised to appoint a speaker and speed through 12 reforms in the opening day of the parliament.

She is determined to rid the deputies of their immunity and benefits as soon as her coalition officially takes charge.

Then comes the reform of gas contracts with Russia and the re-writing of the constitution after a national referendum.