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8 Oct, 2008 12:02

Ukraine’s political crisis goes into extra time

Ukraine’s President Viktor Yuschenko has given party leaders more time to find a way out of the ongoing political crisis. The country has been caught up in political deadlock since the ruling coalition between Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko's bloc and th

So far no new coalition has been formed, as the rival sides continue to accuse each other of causing the stalemate.

President Yuschenko announced consultations with political party leaders at 8am. The dissolution of the Rada was the one and only topic on the agenda.

Analysts thought the talks could’ve gone either way, but after just an hour of negotiations, the talking was over. And, according to the presidential administration, all agreed that another early election was inevitable.

But Nikolay Tomenko, a deputy from the Bloc of Yulia Timoshenko, wasn’t so sure

“Some say that we all happily agree with the president about early voting. I don’t know what the other parties think, but BYuT has been on the side of the majority of Ukraine’s population. We think that another early election is an absolutely anti-national step,” he said.

The reaction from the Prime Minister's corner is not surprising. While the Party of Regions and the Communists seem more or less calm about a possible bail out – probably because they're unlikely to lose their seats – the stakes are high for the Iron Lady of Ukrainian politics.

Ahead of the presidential campaign, which kicks off in less than a year, remaining at the helm is crucial for Timoshenko’s political future.

But experts believe this is something Yushchenko sees as a threat. And for some, this is what the crisis is really about.

Political analyst Mikhail Pogribinskiy said: “They’re fighting for the same electorate, but Timoshenko’s rating is 25 per cent and Yushchenko’s is barely 5 per cent. So he has to get rid of her and the only way to do so is through another snap ballot. It’s absolutely impossible that Timoshenko would again gain a majority with any other party and be re-elected as prime-minister.”

Observers say the only way Timoshenko can regain the initiative is to create an unlikely alliance with her political opponents – the Party of Regions. But both have already given clear indications that such a broad coalition would not happen.

So what appears to be another blame-game between the prime minister and the president could well be the only tactic left for Timoshenko.

Last year, political experts doubted until the very last minute that the Rada would be dispersed. But this time, nobody believes that any coalition will be formed. And the only question which remains for Ukrainian politics is: how long is left for the Rada.

The Ukrainian constitution says an early election must be held within two months following the decree to dissolve parliament. Some predict the dissolution of the Rada will happen this week. That’s because in order to ensure a higher turnout of voters, the fourth ballot in as many years must be held before Christmas and the New Year.