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Yushchenko Optimistic Over Chances for Coalition Agreement


Ukrainian officials say President Viktor Yushchenko is optimistic that representatives of three reformist parties will reach agreement on forming a coalition government by the end of the month.

A spokeswoman for the Ukrainian leader told reporters in Kiev that Mr. Yushchenko is ready to meet with all of the parties as soon as they finalize a coalition agreement.

Mr. Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party on Tuesday announced a suspension of talks with its coalition partners, but representatives of the three groups met again Wednesday.

Our Ukraine has objected to the insistence of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko that the post of prime minister should go to her supporters.

Senior officials of Mr. Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party have said in the past they will not accept Tymoshenko as prime minister. She was fired from that post last year following infighting in the cabinet.

No party won enough parliamentary seats in the March 26 general election to form a government, but Tymoshenko's backers garnered the most support of the three reformist parties.

The pro-Russian opposition Party of the Regions won the most seats in the new parliament, gaining 32 percent of the vote. Its leader, former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, is also claiming the right to form the country's new government.