Yushchenko, in a televised address earlier today, said he made the decision after Yanukovych, a former prime minister, agreed to back a national-unity declaration that safeguards the president's moves toward closer Ukrainian integration with Western Europe and free-market reforms.
"Following from what I have said, I have made the decision to put forward Viktor Yanukovych for the post of Ukraine's prime minister," Yushchenko said. "By this I want to once again stress that I understand the whole complexity in the east and the west of Ukraine, regarding this nomination for the post of prime minister. I call on the country to understand that today we have a unique chance to realize all that we talked about, and to bring the country together for a political understanding."
In making his decision to nominate Yanukovych, Yushchenko rejected his other option of dissolving parliament and calling new elections.
Yanukovych is now expected to lead a coalition government backed by a parliament majority of his Party of Regions, the Socialists, and the Communists.
Yushchenko's decision is aimed at ending four months of political uncertainty following elections in which no party won a majority of parliament seats.
Parliament is expected to vote on Yanukovych's nomination later today.
(RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, with agency reports)
Yushchenko supporters attend a rally in Kyiv on December 26-27, 2005
RETHINKING THE ORANGE: The March 26 elections are the first major national referendum on President Viktor Yushchenko and the ideals of the Orange Revolution that brought him to power in early 2005. Opinion polls in Ukraine indicate widespread dissatisfaction with developments in the country since Yushchenko took power. The results of the elections are expected to clarify whether Yushchenko will be able to step up the implementation of his reformist policies declared during the 2004 Orange Revolution or whether he will get mired even deeper in political wrangling with his opponents...(more)
Click on the image to view a photo gallery of some of the key players in the Ukrainian elections.