Ukraine's Tymoshenko says president backs her for PM

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KIEV, Oct 17 (Reuters) Ukraine's former premier Yulia Tymoshenko appeared poised to form a new government today after she said President Viktor Yushchenko had agreed to back her for the post of prime minister.

The parties of the 2004 ''Orange Revolution'' that swept Yushchenko to power managed to gain a tiny majority at an election two weeks ago, ahead of the party of the president's rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

''Today (Yushchenko) said that the candidate proposed is acceptable. The (candidature) is directly indicated in the coalition by the surname,'' the Western-leaning Tymoshenko told Reuters after a news conference.

She said the new government's first tasks would include removing privileges for parliamentarians and altering legislation curbing the president's powers.

Earlier, Yushchenko said Tymoshenko's bloc and the pro-presidential Our Ukraine party had submitted an agreement to form a coalition and said he was ready to confirm their proposed prime minister.

The two ''orange'' parties hold 228 seats -- two more than are needed to win most votes -- after the Sept. 30 election.

Rivalry between Yanukovich, who bounced back from his 2004 reversal to become prime minister, and Yushchenko had brought on political paralysis which this election was meant to solve.

Yushchenko urged the orange camp to formulate a government quickly.

''Let me remind the political forces that this is a matter to be dealt with in timely fashion,'' he said.

''The public is expecting, at the first parliamentary sitting, the election of a speaker, the approval of key documents and the appointment of a government. This is the logical sequence of steps.'' COALITION GOVERNMENT The orange camp will have to wait for the first sitting of parliament -- as yet unscheduled -- before they can propose a coalition government and prime minister, which then needs to be accepted by the president and passed by parliament.

Parliament has to hold its first session within 30 days after the results of the election are officially published. The results have been announced but are not yet published.

Yanukovich, whose party remains the largest in the new parliament, said a ''one-colour'' government would be ineffective.

''The balance of political forces at the moment is such that this is practically impossible,'' he told a cabinet meeting.

''We will pursue efforts to unite Ukraine so that people can live in stable fashion and the government can work effectively.'' Yanukovich discounted suggestions a new election might prove necessary if parliament were unable to sit, if, for instance, opposition deputies refused to take their seats.

He has previously said he would go into opposition if he did not keep his job as premier.

He has advocated a ''broad coalition'' between his party and Our Ukraine, a notion touted by some commentators as a way to bridge traditional differences between nationalist western Ukraine and the Russian-speaking east.

Reuters RSA RN2259

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