Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko yesterday gained the right to dissolve parliament and call new elections after he let a midnight deadline to form a government pass without approving the majority coalition's nomination for prime minister.
But members of the parliamentary majority coalition turned up pressure on the president not to take such a step, warning that it could lead to civil unrest in the deeply divided nation. They called a special parliamentary session for later Tuesday to discuss the situation, and invited Yushchenko to attend.
The coalition nominated Viktor Yanukovych Yushchenko's opponent in the 2004 "Orange Revolution" to be prime minister, but Yushchenko has not yet acted on the nomination, as required before parliament can vote on forming a new government. The constitutional deadline for forming the government was midnight Monday.
"Parliament is ready to appoint the prime minister and form the government, but unfortunately we haven't received the nomination for prime minister," said lawmaker Raisa Bohatyryova, a member of Yanukovych's party. "Attempts to form the government are blocked."
Ukrainian politics have been deadlocked since March's parliamentary elections, when Yanukovych's pro-Russian Party of Regions won the most seats, but fell short of a majority. The Western-leaning party of Yushchenko and two other parties announced a coalition in June, but one partner, the Socialist Party, defected and joined forces with the Party of Regions and the Communists.
Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz was then elected parliament speaker.
Moroz late Monday warned Yushchenko against calling new elections.
"The president has a legal and civilized option forward to parliament its nomination for prime minister," he said. "Dissolving parliament could lead to civil conflict and nothing would justify such a tragedy, for which someone would have to answer."
Yushchenko has appeared reluctant to take such a drastic step as dissolving parliament. Opinion polls indicate the majority of Ukrainians oppose new elections, and that if a new vote was held, Yushchenko's party could fare even worse than its third-place finish in March.
The coalition sent Yanukovych's nomination to Yushchenko on July 18. The constitution apparently allows the president 15 days to consider such a nomination before forwarding it.
That would give Yushchenko until August 2 to decide; his office has said the president will be guided by this time frame, suggesting that no resolution is imminent.
(China Daily July 26, 2006)