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16 Oct, 2007 16:37

Politics postponed as Ukraine mourns

As Ukraine mourns the victims of Saturday's gas explosion in the city of Dnepropetrovsk and flags all over the country fly half-mast, attempts to form the next government have temporarily been put on hold.

The gas blast in Dnepropetrovsk which killed 17 people caught the country off guard.

Often obsolete municipal networks and the lack of rescue equipment appear to be the primary concern facing the outgoing government and the one which will eventually take its place.

Orange parties, supported by President Viktor Yushchenko, signed a coalition agreement prior to entering the parliament, or the Rada, and assumed responsibility before it's officially theirs.

“We can’t wait a whole month to form a coalition. We have to form the parliament now, not to affirm some parties in their position but to deal with this problem. And we already suggested to the president that he calls the National Security Council on this issue,” Yulia Timoshenko said.

The current Prime Minister is not wasting time either. Controlling the rescue operations in Dnepropetrovsk, he’s holding on to power until the Rada convenes and the coalition is formed.

Leonid Kozhara, a member of the Party of Regions wants the president to re-consider the choice of a future government. According to him, the Orange forces will not have enough votes to secure constitutional changes.
“We still support the idea of a broad coalition, because we understand that this is the only way to re-unite Ukraine. But if the Orange Coalition is established, we are ready to accept the new rules and to be in the opposition,” he said.
While politicians are disputing parliament seats, no one has taken responsibility for the gas blast.

Within a month the parliament has to convene for a working session. Yet, current political brooding shows little sign that there will be a swift return to the lawmaking process.