Ukrainian PM pleads for pro-EU coalition cabinet

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov expressed concern today (9 November) about the ongoing disputes over the vote count in last month's parliamentary election, calling for the establishment of a “broad coalition based on European values”.

As bickering over vote counts continued for a second week, Azarov called upon political parties and candidates to end their disagreements and start a dialogue.

“The government is ready to be instrumental in adjusting and conducting such a dialogue,” Azarov said in a statement, adding that he urged the Central Election Commission to “ensure the completion” of the vote count.

Azarov acknowledged the shortfalls of the electoral system that were put in place by his own government. He said he found it necessary “to return to the development of the Electoral Code, which will make it possible to improve the electoral legislation”.

Azarov said he had instructed the Justice Ministry to organise a roundtable with political parties, civil society organisations and experts to examine the shortcomings exposed during the campaign and suggest improvements to the electoral laws.

Call for pro-EU unity

Azarov also called for establishing a broad coalition, united under a pro-EU agenda.

“I call upon all political parties that are concerned about the fate of our country, to begin negotiations in order to build a broad coalition based on European values – for the consolidation of all healthy forces of society in order to further development and implementation of Ukraine's European integration policy,” he said.

With most of the votes counted, the ruling Party of Regions won 30.01% of the vote; the United Opposition, 25.52%; the UDAR movement of boxer Vitali Klitschko, 13.95%; the Communist Party, 13.18%; and the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party 10.44%.

The Party of Regions is expected to forge a majority in the new Parliament, thanks in part to the support of the Communists.

This is why the call for a broad coalition, based on a pro-EU agenda, may appear surprising. At first sight, it looks as if the Party of Regions is making a risky gamble, as it could alienate the Communists from any future governing coalition.

The reactions of the pro-EU United Opposition and UDAR were not immediately known.

Roman Rukomeda, political analyst at the Ukrainian Foundation for Democracy "People First" commented:

"The proposal from Ukrainian Prime Minister Azarov to form a “broad coalition based on European values” addressed in front of all political parties that got into new Parliament is the correct step, but without political future. Ruling Party of Regions perfectly understands that none of the three oppositional parties in the parliament (“United Opposition”, “UDAR” and “Svoboda”) will become members of such coalition with the current authorities. They announced it before the election. If they will perform such alliance with Party of Regions they will severely lose the support from the population (their core voters) and their chances of political manoeuvres during the presidential elections in 2015. Even the Communist Party is being very cautious in forming a coalition with Party of Regions."

The December 2011 EU-Ukraine Summit failed to initial the country's Association Agreement with the Union, largely due to the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko that Brussels sees as politically motivated.

The five-year long negotiations over the Association Agreement were concluded, but EU leaders made it clear that the deal would not be signed until improvements are made to the "quality of democracy and rule of law" in Ukraine.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy also made it clear that the country's association agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, would not be signed until the parliamentary elections in Ukraine due in October 2012.

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