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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yushchenko Eyes Orange Coalition

KIEV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday declared his support for a pro-Western coalition in the parliament, giving his strongest indication yet that his charismatic Orange Revolution ally Yulia Tymoshenko would return as prime minister.

While the two parties were now a significant step closer to restoring their alliance and forming a government, Tymoshenko's victory was still not a done deal, given the Orange team's past disagreements, the paper-thin majority they have in the parliament and the unclear position of their main opponent, Prime Minster Viktor Yanukovych.

In the Sept. 30 vote, their two parties won 228 seats in the 450-member Verkhovna Rada -- two seats clear of a majority. The rival Party of the Regions, led by the more Moscow-friendly Yanukovych, won more votes than any other party, but only 175 seats.

In a statement posted on the presidential web site, Yushchenko said his and Tymoshenko's forces had told him that they were ready to forge a governing coalition. "I support that intention," he said, adding that he would back the alliance's choice for prime minister.

An informal agreement concluded by the two parties earlier this week stipulates that Tymoshenko's party would name the prime minister while Yushchenko's bloc would pick the parliament speaker. A majority coalition can be officially formed once the parliament convenes. The legislature has 30 days to start its first session after the announcement of final results Monday.