Ukraine leader hopes for assembly session in weeks

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KIEV, Oct 18 (Reuters) President Viktor Yushchenko said today he hoped the first session of the Ukrainian parliament since an election two weeks ago would sit as soon as the end of this month, allowing for a new government to be created.

His ally from the 2004 ''Orange Revolution'' that swept him to power, Yulia Tymoshenko, is poised to form a government after her bloc and the pro-presidential Our Ukraine party won a tiny majority over Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich and his allies.

But until parliament sits a new government cannot be installed, giving time for any talks that may throw up an alternative coalition.

''President Victor Yushchenko hopes Ukraine's newly elected lawmakers will convene for their first session at the end of October or in the first ten days of November,'' his press service said in a statement.

''Ukraine's parliament has not been working for eight months.

We must immediately ... start formal talks and preparations to convene a session and form a group to prepare the first session,'' the statement cited him as saying in Portugal where he attended a meeting before a European Union summit.

Parliament has to sit within 30 days after the results of the election are officially published, which has not yet happened.

Ukraine suffered political paralysis as Yushchenko locked horns with Yanukovich, a presidential candidate in 2004 who bounced back from defeat to become prime minister after a parliamentary election a year later.

Ukraine watchers are looking out for the unexpected, mindful that Tymoshenko's bloc and Our Ukraine won a combined majority in 2005 also, yet after 4 months of talks were unable to agree on a government, paving the way for Yanukovich's return.

Yanukovich has said his Regions party would go into opposition if it could not retain the premiership. Tymoshenko said yesterday the president had agreed to back her for that job.

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

REUTERS RSA RAI2303

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