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Tymoshenko Says Parties On Track To Restore 'Orange' Coalition

Tymoshenko said her positions now coincide with Yushchenko's
KYIV (Reuters) -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has said that all conditions have been met to restore a fractured "Orange" governing coalition, and urged the president not to force the country into a new election.

The team linked to the 2004 Orange Revolution collapsed last month when the Our Ukraine party, loyal to President Viktor Yushchenko, walked out of its alliance with Tymoshenko's bloc.

Our Ukraine's demands to reinstate the coalition have focused on relations with Russia -- and its recent war with Georgia -- and the recurring issue since independence from Soviet rule of how to divide up power within Ukraine.

Should talks fail to reassemble the coalition or create a viable alternative, Yushchenko has the right to dissolve the chamber and call the third election in as many years.

Tymoshenko symbolically added her signature to a declaration made last month by Yushchenko and EU leaders upholding Georgia's existing borders and its right to choose its foreign policy.

"The president supported this declaration.... Let everyone see that Yushchenko's position, my position, and that of our political forces fully coincide," she told a news conference.

"With this ends the process of meeting all the demands…. If after this the president, instead of reforming the coalition, destroys parliament, it will be clear to all Ukrainians who did this and what the consequences are," Tymoshenko said.

Our Ukraine had accused Tymoshenko of being soft on Russia in order to curry favor in Moscow as politicians gear up for a presidential election due by early 2010.

It had demanded that all groups in parliament back a declaration denouncing Russian "aggression" against Georgia. Tymoshenko said the president's strident support for Tbilisi has hurt ties with the Kremlin.

Yushchenko had also demanded the repeal of laws passed last month limiting presidential powers. The chamber on October 2 struck down those laws.

The two Orange groups have been locked in talks to patch up their alliance, but with little sign of progress. Parliament Chairman Arseniy Yatsenyuk put the chances of success at 50-50.

Yushchenko has welcomed the talks but reserved the right to dissolve the chamber if no stable coalition emerged. Interfax quoted him as saying on October 3 that he would dissolve the assembly in "due time" if talks fail. Experts are divided on when the president could dissolve the chamber -- from early to mid-October.

The two partners have been joined in talks by the chamber's smallest faction under centrist Volodymyr Lytvyn. But Lytvyn has expressed doubt about a three-way coalition, and Tymoshenko said she had abandoned all hope of forming one.