Ukraine assembly to vote on Tymoshenko return as PM

( Reuters ) - Ukraine's parliament was due to vote on Tuesday whether to restore Yulia Tymoshenko, an ardent advocate of Ukraine's "Orange Revolution," to the post of prime minister more than two years after she was sacked from the job.

Tymoshenko, 47, was formally put forward for the job by President Viktor Yushchenko after two "orange" parties won enough seats in a September election to form a wafer-thin coalition majority.

Yushchenko and Tymoshenko reconciled during the campaign -- aimed at ending three years of political turmoil in the ex-Soviet state.

But speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk twice declared a recess as factions in what is often a fractious assembly held last-minute talks. A member of Tymoshenko's bloc said she was meeting the president.

Another of the prime minister-designate's lieutenants said the "orange" team was impatient to get on with the job.

"If the opposition does not block the rostrum, then the vote will take place. And we will have enough votes to elect not just the prime minister but the entire cabinet," Oleksander Turchinov told reporters outside the chamber.

"The country needs a government because there is a power vacuum. It needs to restore order quickly, stop inflation, solve energy issues and other problems."

The two "orange" groups -- Tymoshenko's bloc and the pro-presidential Our Ukraine party -- hold 227 seats -- one more than needed to secure her election in the 450-seat assembly.

In the run-up to the vote, deputies seemed certain that party discipline in the coalition would hold for the vote.

That unity helped last week to elect speaker Yatsenyuk, a member of the president's party, with 227 votes.

On the eve of the vote, the president said little about how he foresaw the outcome. Quoted on his Internet site, he told Yatsenyuk he hoped the vote would "take place in the framework of constructive work of the coalition and opposition.

"Members must display loyalty and respect for each others' opinions and, naturally, respect for the rules of parliament."

Yatsenyuk last week said the line-up of a new government would also be approved on Tuesday, but there was no indication how procedures would work in what is often a fractious chamber.

Tymoshenko, with her trademark peasant braid and designer outfits, roused vast crowds during rallies that catapulted Yushchenko to power in 2004 and was named premier within days of his inauguration.

The two leaders quarreled and Tymoshenko frightened investors with attempts to intervene in markets and calls for a mass review of privatizations. Her government split into two camps, prompting Yushchenko to dismiss her within eight months.

Tymoshenko has been more reserved in the weeks since the election, but has promised to uphold the liberal, pro-Western ideals of the 2004 revolution.

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