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Ukraine's Political Chaos Continues Over Speaker's Spat

  • Lisa McAdams

Ukraine's Orange coalition partners are at odds again, after the Socialist party scored a surprise win of the powerful speaker's spot in parliament. Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc and President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc accuse the socialists of breaking ranks and say they will hold discussions on the future of the pro-Western Orange coalition.

It was a surprise win for Socialist party leader Oleksandr Moroz, who had earlier agreed to support a deal in which a member of the Our Ukraine party would be speaker and the Socialists would take the first deputy prime minister's post.

Moroz will now replace outgoing speaker Vladimir Lytvyn. He told reporters it remains to be seen how Ukraine's next coalition government will be formed.

Moroz notes that more compromise may be coming, saying everyone must remember that parliament basically had to be divided in half just to get this far along in the voting of a new government.

He refers to a hard-fought deal mid-week, in which the Orange coalition partners agreed to hand control of over half of parliament's committees to the opposition Region's party of Viktor Yanukovych, whose supporters had been blocking all legislative work for ten days.

Moroz ultimately won the speaker's spot largely because of the support from the Region's party, whose leader, Yanukovych, was quick to try and reach out to form a coalition with Moroz.

Yanukovych says Region's main goal now is to unite Ukraine and create a broad coalition to help Ukraine overcome a political crisis and economic uncertainty.

Moroz has so far declined to rule out teaming up with Yanukovych, a stance that seems to have caught supporters of Ukraine's pro-Western Orange coalition off-guard.

The Orange coalition, named after the political revolution that swept President Yushchenko to power, supports his course of orienting Ukraine toward the West, including membership in NATO. Region's and its allies, the Communists, favor keeping traditional close ties with Russia.

Ukraine's government has been in a virtual state of deadlock since March when elections for parliament failed to deliver any one party enough votes to form the next government.

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