KIEV, Nov. 12 – Clouds continued to gather over Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko Thursday as Ukraine’s largest opposition group indicated it would press hard to set stage for a no-confidence vote in the government.
Viktor Yanukovych, a former prime minister and the leader of the opposition Regions Party, the largest group in Parliament, promised “tough actions” next week to make sure his group forms a new coalition.
“We will be acting,” Yanukovych said Thursday at a meeting of senior members of his party. “And the more we act, the tougher our actions will become.”
The comments come a day after the Regions Party, with the help of smaller allies, managed to dismiss Arseniy Yatseniuk, an ally of President Viktor Yushchenko, from the post of the speaker of Parliament. The move opens the way for replacement of Tymoshenko, analysts said.
In development that sets the stage for the removal of Tymoshenko, the Regions Party has been seeking to schedule hearings over the government’s alleged poor performance while reforming the housing and utilities sector.
Oleksandr Popov, a senior member of the Regions Party, said Thursday that as part of the hearings Tymoshenko must officially address lawmakers on the issue next week, which automatically allows lawmakers to submit the no confidence vote.
Tymoshenko survived a similar motion in July after the Communist Party, a pro-Moscow force, had unexpectedly refused to back it, triggering angry reaction from the Regions Party.
Another senior member of the Regions Party, Mykola Azarov, a former finance minister, said Thursday that the action was needed to implement legislation that would provide urgent support for the economy, which is affected by a major crisis.
“The actions must not only stabilize the situation, but also to allow the economy to grow positively,” Azarov said.
Yatseniuk was successfully removed by an alliance of the Regions Party and smaller groups, such as the Communist Party and the group led by former Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn. Also, 10 lawmakers personally loyal to Viktor Baloha, the powerful chief of staff at the office of President Viktor Yushchenko, also joined the alliance.
The alliance produced 233 votes in favor of Yatseniuk’s dismissal, potentially enough to create the new coalition in the 450-seat Parliament.
Yushchenko the dismissal of Yatseniuk as a step that may undermine stability in Parliament, suggesting a rift has been growing between him and Baloha. Some sources said that Yushchenko may soon dismiss Baloha, but the presidential office did not comment on the rumor.
Yanukovych said that the Regions Party will have a major push next week to create the new coalition.
“We will make our last attempt in Parliament to approve a new speaker, and perhaps by doing so we will be able to unite the majority,” Yanykovych said. (tl/ez)