Yushchenko: Planned Ukraine election "on hold"
A spokesman for Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Monday said a parliamentary election set for mid-December was "on hold," marking the govermnent's first official admission the vote would not be as scheduled, dpa reported.
"The order on the new elections has been placed on hold, but (the vote) has not been cancelled," said Iryna Bannikova, at a Kiev press conference.
Yushchenko dissolved a hung parliament in October, ordering new elections for December 15. Opponents within the administration and the legislature torpedoed the Ukrainian leader's initiative by refusing to authorize government financing for the polling, or prepare voter lists.
An ensuing constitutional crisis, the former Soviet republic's fourth since 2005, has prevented Ukraine's government from enacting almost any measures to deal with the world financial crisis, which has slammed Ukraine's economy.
Bannikova said the President no longer was pushing for elections to be held on time, and instead was calling on parliamentarians to lay aside their political differences, in order to pass legislation to prevent further damage to the country's economic health.
Independent observers Monday were predicting an eventual alliance between two traditionally warrning political parties, the populist Block of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) and the pro-Russia Party of the Regions of Ukraine (PRU).
An announcement of a formal coalition between BYuT and PRU could come as early as this week, said Vitaly Kulik, a Kiev-based political scientist, according to an Interfax report.
"I think the odds of a coalition being formed are about 80 per cent," Kulik said.
The most probable power-sharing agreement between the two parties would install the PRU's leader Viktor Yanukovich, a strong supporter of closer relations between Ukraine and Russia, in the Prime Minister's office, said Yury Yakimenko, director of one of Ukraine's top political survey companies.
But top members of BYuT on Monday questioned the possibility of an alliance with the PRU, saying no fomal agreement had been discussed nor was it likely to be, if BYuT's leader and Ukraine's serving Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko would be sacked from her job as a result.
"We would not consider this," said Gennady Zadirko, a top MP for BYuT in the legislature. "Many of us (in BYuT) are against such a coalition (with the PRU.)
Prime Minister Tymoshenko in recent weeks has repeatedly accused Ukrainian big business - and the pro-big business PRU - of heartlessness and irresponsibility, as factories have idled and sackings increased particularly in Ukraine's industrial east.
Yanukovich for his part has claimed Tymoshenko and her allies in government are more interested in hanging onto power, than attempting to deal with Ukraine's mounting economic difficulties.