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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine's 2 Main Parties Mum on Coalition Reports

KIEV -- Ukraine's two main parties declined direct comment on reports Monday that they were close to reaching a deal to form a broad coalition government, but analysts said their talks were well advanced.

Media reports said Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, longstanding rivals, were on the brink of clinching agreement on a coalition in the parliament.

According to the reports, the deal under discussion would involve changes to the constitution leading to Yanukovych being elected president by the parliament. Tymoshenko would be left in place as prime minister to run day-to-day affairs.

The groups led by the two politicians have met periodically for months amid speculation of a breakthrough, although senior officials have denied that formal negotiations were taking place.

Talks of some sort, however, were clearly still under way.

"We are holding consultations with all political forces in the parliament, and these include formation of an effective political structure that would be able to run the country," said Oleksander Yefremov of Yanukovych's Party of Regions. "As for decisions on specific issues, none has so far been made. ... It is therefore too early to speak of such things."

Ivan Kyrylenko of Tymoshenko's bloc said no agreement had been reached. He told journalists to "stop beguiling the country with horror stories. There is nothing of the kind at this time."