Ukraine's parliament to elect speaker November 29
( RIA Novosti ) - The Supreme Rada, Ukraine's parliament, will elect a speaker on November 29 even if a majority coalition has not been formed, the acting prime minister said on Wednesday.
Two Western-leaning parties, pro-presidential bloc Our Ukraine and Yulia Tymoshenko's eponymous party, which gained 72 and 156 seats respectively, were expected to form a majority coalition and government during its first session on November 23, but eight members from the Our Ukraine party refused to sign a coalition deal.
"If no coalition deal, signed at least by 226 members of parliament, is submitted [by November 29], then we will have to put the issue of electing a speaker for the 450-seat Supreme Rada on the agenda," Viktor Yanukovych said at a government session.
The Constitution stipulates that a government must be formed within 60 days following elections, but persisting differences within the parliamentary factions, including over Cabinet portfolios, threaten to spark further political wrangling.
Following early polls on September 30 the rival Party of Regions, led by the more Moscow-friendly Yanukovych, was the largest faction with 175 seats in the Supreme Rada. A union with its longtime allies, the Communists, who have 27 seats in parliament, would not be enough for a majority.
Both groups have sought an alliance with Volodymyr Lytvyn, whose faction comprises 20 lawmakers. However, the former parliamentary speaker has so far declined alliance proposals from both of them.