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Ukraine's Tymoshenko calls on her coalition for unity

RIA Novosti


KIEV, February 22 (RIA Novosti) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who lost the presidential vote earlier this month, called on her coalition in parliament on Monday to stand united.

"The consolidation of democratic forces in parliament. I am publicly proposing this effective plan," Tymoshenko said in a televised address to the nation.

Tymoshenko lost the February 7 presidential runoff vote securing by 3.5% less than Viktor Yanukovych. She says the vote was fraudulent, but withdrew her legal appeal against the results last week citing the court's bias in favor of Yanukovych. Foreign monitors said the election was largely democratic.

"Yanukovych is not our president. I do not recognize him as president of Ukraine," she said, adding he would not stay in office long.

Yanukovych's Party of Regions, the largest in parliament, is in talks with parliamentary groups to create a coalition to be able to appoint a new prime minister. Tymoshenko is trying to preserve an uneasy coalition of her bloc with outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko, which has a thin majority in parliament.

Tymoshenko and Yushchenko led the "orange revolution" protests that overturned Yanukovych's tainted election victory in 2004, but have since fallen apart. Their political battles have exacerbated the country's economic crisis.