Little in common apart from their names, Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovich are set to sit side by side to govern Ukraine. President Yushchenko nominated his pro-Russia rival to be prime minister after a “unity pact” was signed to guarantee the country’s pro-western policies. The deal ends more than four months of political instability in Ukraine after inconclusive elections in March.
President Yushchenko had threatened to dissolve parliament and call for new elections unless all factions could reach a compromise. Yanukovich does not share his nemesis’ enthusiasm to join NATO and the EU, but the agreement moves Ukraine one step closer to do doing just that. The nomination for prime minister marks a remarkable comeback for the opposition leader who was ousted as president in 2004.
But his party polled the most votes in elections earlier this year. He also has a parliamentary majority in his bid to be prime minister, a majority which links his party, the communists and the socialists.
Some “Orange Revolution” supporters are reportedly unhappy with Yanukovich’s candidature. Former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is yet to have her say.
But Ukraine will have to wait to see the outcome of Friday’s parliamentary vote on the nomination.