Ukraine leader embraces ex-PM, urges "orange" vote

Other News Materials 27 September 2007 23:49 (UTC +04:00)

(Reuters) - President Viktor Yushchenko , newly reconciled with "Orange Revolution" heroine Yulia Tymoshenko , embraced her on Thursday and urged liberals to set aside past quarrels and unite to win a weekend parliamentary election.

The early election on Sunday is intended to end months of political deadlock pitting Yushchenko against the rival he defeated in the 2004 upheaval, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich .

Yushchenko was shown on television embracing Tymoshenko , the prime minister he sacked from his first "orange" government, and making it plain she could return to office if voters returned an "orange" majority.

"We have only one option and that is forming a democratic coalition. Period. And I mean period," Yushchenko said.

The "orange" camp, he said, had to "agree on an effective and fast policy for people ... so that voters understand that victory would justify all their expectations".

Hoarse and sporting her trademark braid, Tymoshenko looked moved. She said the alliance was a logical step after the 2004 rallies when they stood together in Kiev's Independence Square.

"What we started together in the square was only the beginning," she said. "It is certain the democratic forces will win ... I support your thinking 300 percent."

Sunday's election is certain to produce a close finish and spawn long, difficult negotiations to form a stable majority in the 450-seat assembly able to form a government.