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Ukraine's Parliament Approves New Prime Minister on Second Vote

  • Bill Gasperini

Ukraine's parliament confirmed President Viktor Yushchenko's nominee for prime minister, a major political boost for the leader of last year's "orange revolution". The vote follows weeks of political turmoil in the former Soviet republic.

President Viktor Yushchenko jumped to his feet along with his candidate for prime minister in front of lawmakers when the vote result came in.

Economist Yuriy Yekhanurov becomes Ukraine's prime minister. Earlier this week an initial vote failed to approve the candidate amid ongoing political turmoil in the country.

Mr. Yushchenko fired former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko two-weeks ago because of what he called intense political infighting and a deepening corruption scandal.

Ms. Tymoshenko was a major figure in the widespread street protests against electoral fraud that brought the Western-leaving president to power.

Ironically the vote Thursday succeeded after the losing candidate in that presidential battle, Viktor Yanukovich, agreed to support the nomination.

Valery Konovalyuk, the chairman of the Parliament's budgetary committee, says the vote will hopefully lead Ukraine out of its political crisis. He adds that many deputies realized the vote would help bring stability for parliamentary elections next March.

Despite the vote, Ms. Tymoshenko remains a formidable opponent who predicts she will return to power after those upcoming elections.

The former prime minister was also a key figure in the "orange revolution" and enjoys widespread support.

But critics say her government was ineffectual and caused a slump in economic output and other problems.

Mr. Yushchenko said he had to act when allegations of widespread corruption engulfed the government.

Prosecutors continue to investigate those allegations, which have cast a shadow over Mr. Yushchenko's promise to carry out economic reforms.