Ukraine forms parliamentary coalition to end political chaos
The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday formed a majority parliamentary coalition loyal to new President Viktor Yanukovych and appointed a new prime minister, ending a political stand-off between the legislature and the head of state, RIA Novosti reported.
The new majority coalition, made up of Yanukovych's Party of Regions, the Communist Party, the political bloc of parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn and several independents, has 235 members, more than half of the deputies in the 450-strong legislature, Lytvyn announced in the chamber on Thursday.
The majority parliamentary coalition appointed Mykola Azarov, loyal to Yanukovych, as prime minister.
"We have to restore to Ukraine, each industry, each region and all the governmental system as a whole," Azarov told parliament after his nomination. "We should do our best for Ukraine to become a country regulated by the law and free of corruption."
In the past few years, a conflict between former president Viktor Yanukovych and recently dismissed premier Yulia Tymoshenko, former allies in the pro-Western 2004 Orange Revolution, has paralyzed Ukraine's political system, hampering efforts to fight an ongoing economic crisis.
Last month their political arch-foe Yanukovych narrowly won presidential elections after promising to give Ukraine the economic and foreign policies needed to overcome the turmoil. However, a lack of control over parliament put a question mark over Yanukovych's plans.
After his inauguration on February 25, Yanukovych's party managed to rally enough votes in parliament to oust Tymoshenko from her post in a vote of no-confidence.
But work on a formal majority coalition apparently lasted until the last minute. As of Wednesday, the coalition still lacked at least 7 votes to reach the necessary 226 members.
Yanukovych was greatly helped by a new law which allows individual deputies rather than political blocs to form coalitions.
"By electing a Ukrainian president, the Ukrainian people gave a clear answer and a signal to politicians - the current situation in the country has reached its critical stage and changes are needed," Azarov told parliament.
"The country has been looted, its state coffers are empty, economic decline continues, the state debt has grown three-fold, the 2010 budget is not there," he added. "Our task is to give back to people a responsible, effective and just power."