Ukraine "orange" parties to form coalition, govt

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KIEV, Oct 15 (Reuters) Parties linked to Ukraine's ''Orange Revolution'' that swept President Viktor Yushchenko to power initialled an agreement today to form a post-election coalition in parliament and a government.

The ''orange'' coalition is all but certain to propose former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, head of the largest ''orange'' group in the assembly, be restored to the job to which the president appointed her after taking office.

Endorsement of the coalition took place after officials announced the final results from a parliamentary election giving two ''orange'' parties a wafer-thin majority of 228 seats -- two more than needed for a majority in the 450-member chamber.

''Let me just say that the election has led to a change in parliament. Power has changed hands in Ukraine and we have achieved the result we had hoped for,'' Tymoshenko said after the brief ceremony.

''The democratic team has all grounds to reform all sectors of life so that people feel tangible changes in the country.'' Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, head of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine party, also initialled the agreement.

Yuri Lutsenko, head of the allied People's Self-Defence group which ran in tandem with Our Ukraine, was present, though he did not put his name to the document.

Yushchenko's office had earlier announced that the coalition agreement would be endorsed only tomorrow.

The Regions Party of the president's rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, remains the largest single group in parliament. But it and its Communist allies would be able to muster only 202 seats in the chamber if they joined forces.

Yushchenko appointed Tymoshenko prime minister of his first government after taking office in the aftermath of weeks of ''orange'' protests against election fraud in 2004. But she was fired within eight months and Yanukovich, beaten in the 2004 presidential poll, bounced back to become prime minister.

Yushchenko and Tymoshenko reconciled during the campaign for the election, intended to end a year of political deadlock in the ex-Soviet state.

Reuters RSA RN2328

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