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Will 'Gas Princess' Timoshenko make deputies eat ballots?

Yulia Timoshenko could become Ukraine Prime Minister within hours, if the country’s parliament supports her in a vote. Recently some deputies have torn and even swallowed voting papers in protest. Tuesday’s process may prove even more controversial.

The ‘orange team’ made up of the Presidential Our Ukraine Party and Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc forged a fragile majority coalition last week, nominating Timoshenko for Prime Minister.

If they gain the support of all members, the ‘iron lady’ will form the government on the same day. So, the Orange Revolution leader is expected to get the necessary majority of votes needed.

Her rivals, the party loyal to the governing Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, have promised not to obstruct the voting. However, they insist that by law the parliamentary committees must be formed first and the Vice Speaker must be selected before the voting for the Prime Minister.

Analysts say that not everyone in the ‘orange camp’ is willing to give Timoshenko power almost equal to that of the President. She is considered one of the most serious rivals of the country’s leader Viktor Yushchenko in the presidential election due in two years’ time.

If she becomes Prime Minister on Tuesday, one of her first tasks would be to tackle inflation in Ukraine.

She has also promised to continue economic reform which was stopped when she was sacked from the government two years ago.

She is an advocate of Western integration and has vowed to take Ukraine to the EU and NATO.

Her party opposes making Russian the second official language in the country. Following the gas deal agreed between Ukraine and Russia last week, Timoshenko said she was willing to re-negotiate that agreement.

Last week's disturbance in parliament, which led some deputies to eat their ballots, occured during a vote on the head of parliament.