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Ukraine's Orange coalition in peril

Ukraine's Orange coalition in peril
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The future of Ukraine’s so-called Orange coalition is in doubt after parliament elected Socialist Oleksander Moroz as speaker, breaking an agreement between the three Western-leaning parties. After weeks of tense talks, they had agreed the speaker would come from President Viktor Yushchenko’s grouping. But Moroz was elected unexpectedly yesterday, provoking accusations of betrayal.

He won with the support of Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions. Yanukovich said that the aim of the appointment was to unite Ukraine, to create a grand coalition and to start to form an effective government. The deal between the parties that backed the 2004 “Orange Revolution” gave the prime minister’s position back to Yulia Tymoshenko, sacked by Yushchenko after eight months in office. The president’s party has declared the Orange coalition over, blaming the Socialists for joining up with the Communists and Party of Regions.

Analysts say Yushchenko’s position is greatly weakened and that the outcome of the debacle over the speaker’s job could be to push him into a coalition with Yanukovich, his political foe from two years ago.