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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yekhanurov Approved by Big Margin

APYekhanurov receiving applause and a bunch of roses after 289 out of 450 deputies backed his appointment Thursday.
KIEV -- President Viktor Yushchenko forged an awkward alliance Thursday with his archrival and Orange Revolution enemy to get his choice for Ukraine's new prime minister through parliament.

Parliament gave Yuriy Yekhanurov 289 votes, well above the 226 he needed. The extra backing came after Yushchenko signed a formal truce with losing presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych's Party of the Regions, help that Yushchenko needed to offset the defection of some of his Orange Revolution allies after the ouster of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

"It's time to bury the war hatchet and to forget where it lies," Yushchenko said before the vote. Later, he said that a "unique understanding" had been reached.

The parliamentary hall erupted into applause, and Yushchenko, who had come to the session to make one final plea, immediately stood up and warmly hugged Yekhanurov.

"We have passed through a difficult path of reconciliation of the political elite," Yekhanurov said after the vote. The former governor from eastern Ukraine said he would unveil his plans for his new team next week in Dnipropetrovsk.

"We have no time to warm up," he said, adding that at least one-third of his new appointments would be technocrats with no relation to politics.

Yanukovych also had reason to celebrate. The agreement, signed by Yushchenko, Yanukovych and Yekhanurov, pledges not to allow any political persecution. It also gives the opposition leadership of a special parliamentary committee on privatization and on the fight against corruption. The memorandum calls for introducing changes to the law on amnesties, which will reportedly offer amnesties to all former members of election commissions.

Yushchenko dismissed Tymoshenko on Sept. 8, but he failed Tuesday to win approval for Yekhanurov. Tymoshenko had pleaded to return as prime minister, but Yushchenko stuck by Yekhanurov, an economist and moderate whom lawmakers called a neutral choice.

"This is the beginning of the aggravation of the political crisis because Tymoshenko's proposal about cooperation and mutual understanding ... was ignored," said lawmaker Andriy Shkil, a member of Tymoshenko's bloc.

The new vote came after a series of talks between Yushchenko and parliamentary faction leaders. The Party of the Regions gave Yekhanurov 50 votes, enough to push him over the required limit. In Tuesday's vote, Yanukovych's party had abstained.

Yushchenko failed to convince Tymoshenko's bloc of 40 deputies and parliament's 56 Communists to support Yekhanurov, and he did not win significant results from two smaller parties, the Reform and Order party and United Ukraine, which are loosely linked to Tymoshenko and whose members split.

Until this week, Yushchenko and Yanukovych had not met publicly since last year's election.