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Ukraine president's party backs Orange coalition

Written by: Staff
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KIEV, Apr 6 (Reuters) Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's party said today it would form a coalition with other ''Orange Revolution'' liberal parties, ruling out a deal with a pro-Moscow party that came first in March 26 polls.

A spokeswoman for Our Ukraine said its political council had agreed to team up with the Socialist party and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc, which came second in the parliamentary elections.

''The council approved the programme of forming a coalition of three: the bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, The Socialist Party and Our Ukraine,'' said spokeswoman Tatyana Mokridi.

But the announcement made no mention of the burning question of who would be Prime Minister in an 'orange' coalition government.

Tymoshenko is pressing to become Prime Minister again, reviving a row with Yushchenko who sacked her from this job last September.

The elections were the first to be held under new rules empowering parliament to name the premier, and such a coalition would hold a clear majority in the 450-seat Rada.

The agreement will leave the Regions Party of Viktor Yanukovich, who was defeated by Yushchenko in the December 2004 Orange Revolution, out of government despite its having come first in the elections with around 32 per cent.

The Regions Party said yesterday it would demand Yanukovich would head the government -- something unacceptable to the liberal parties' supporters who massed in giant street demonstrators in 2004 to stop him being president.

REUTERS SHB RN1204

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