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Ukraine PM Gives 'Final' Warning To Yushchenko

Yulia Tymoshenko
KYIV (Reuters) -- Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko issued a final warning to Ukraine's president on November 26 to end a row that has paralysed the country's institutions, threatening otherwise to team up with rival groups.

President Viktor Yushchenko, who stood alongside the premier in the 2004 pro-Western Orange Revolution but is now her rival, has blamed Tymoshenko for Ukraine's economic ills. He has rejected similar appeals in recent weeks.

Ukraine has been without a viable coalition in parliament since an alliance between the two partners linked to the 2004 mass rallies collapsed in September. Efforts to put the team back together again have since failed.

Yushchenko called a snap parliamentary election to break the deadlock. But that election has been put off as officials turned to tackling the effects of the world financial crisis.

"I hereby appeal to the president of Ukraine with a final proposal to restore the democratic coalition," Tymoshenko said at a briefing after a cabinet meeting.

"If by the end of this week the coalition is not restored and the scenario of a serious financial crisis unfolds throughout the world and in Ukraine, we will start looking for other options."

Tymoshenko last week called for restoration of the "Orange" team, which unravelled when the president's Our Ukraine party quit its alliance with her bloc. She even offered to step down.

But the latest appeal was her first suggestion she might choose an alternative partner, a reference to the Party of Regions of ex-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, the main target of the 2004 protests against election fraud.

The Party of Regions is parliament's largest, with 175 of 450 seats. Tymoshenko, whose bloc has 156 seats, has denied her bloc could join forces with the Regions, but there have long been suggestions that the two sides have considered that very aim.

There is, however, little indication a "grand coalition" of supporters and opponents of the 2004 Revolution could still be workable after four years of nearly constant political upheaval.

Parliament managed, after several days of complicated debate, to approve a package of laws late last month to secure an International Monetary Fund loan of $16.4 billion.

But matters were compounded by the dismissal this month of chairman Arseniy Yatsenyuk, an ally of the president. His departure further weakened any remaining influence from pro-Western politicians and left parliament paralysed.