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Ukrainian Pro-Presidential Parties Unite For Elections


President Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) (epa) KYIV, July 5, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Ten parties backing Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko today agreed to join forces for the September parliamentary elections, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reported.


Yushchenko said his allies were "again united, strong and restoring the trust of voters."


The deal brings together the Our Ukraine party associated with Yushchenko, the recently-formed People's Self-Defense movement, and other smaller parties.


"Five months ago, half of the [parliamentary] chamber was empty. For almost the past four months, over 200 parliamentarians were not coming to work in the chamber of the Verkhovna Rada," Yushchenko said.


"What were they trying to say with this protest? We have to honestly and openly answer this question, and only after that, Ukraine can learn a lesson from this deep and complicated crisis for the Ukrainian nation."


The main pro-presidential force, led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is to run its candidates separately.


(with material from Reuters, Interfax-Ukraine)

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