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Ukraine: 'Orange Revolution' Is Over -- Time To Form A Cabinet

By Valentinas Mite

The winner of the Ukrainian presidential election, Viktor Yushchenko, must now form a new cabinet to push forward his promised agenda of economic and political reforms. But he faces some difficult decisions, and he has promised his Our Ukraine bloc's two main allies a quarter of the cabinet posts.

Prague, 3 January 2005 -- The time for rallies and "revolutions" is over.

The winner of last month's presidential runoff -- Viktor Yushchenko -- must now find a way to implement his vision of Ukraine as a democratic country with a prosperous market economy.

It will not be easy. And Yushchenko's most difficult first task is to choose a prime minister.

Igor Losev, a professor of history and philosophy at Kyiv's Mohilev Academy, told RFE/RL that Yushchenko has created a flamboyant coalition, which includes right-wing political groups as well as Socialists. Losev said they have conflicting visions for the country's future and have only been united by their common rejection of the past.

"They [the opposition] were mainly united by rejection, by rejection of the status quo," Losev said. "But you cannot unite only on the basis of rejection. You need a positive program. So far, this positive program is so broad that it allows all these forces to find their place in this bloc."

Losev said that the coalition rejects corruption and cronyism and supports pro-European policies and market reforms. However, the partners see very different ways of arriving at this future.

The two leading candidates for prime minister -- Yuliya Tymoshenko and Oleksander Moroz -- differ on fundamental issues, such as the buying and selling of private property. Tymoshenko strongly advocates the idea; Moroz strongly opposes it.

Moroz also supports revising past privatizations, an idea that both Tymoshenko and Yushchenko strongly oppose.

Losev said that the partners also disagree on the country's future political system. Morozov's Socialists favor a parliamentary republic while Yushchenko and Tymoshenko would prefer to have more powers in the hands of a president.

Losev said that the choice of prime minister will be a clear signal of Ukraine's future course.

"A choice between Moroz and Tymoshenko [will indicate a lot]," Losev said. "If [Yushchenko] chooses Moroz, he [Moroz] will become a serious brake for social and economic reforms."

In Tymoshenko's favor is vast experience in government and business, which Moroz lacks. Tymoshenko was a former deputy prime minister and former chief executive of the national power monopoly Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine.

However, that past also works against Tymoshenko. Many in Ukraine dislike the politician, who has been accused of economic fraud.

But Losev said that may not prove to be a major problem:

"You see, not everyone in society accepts the president [Yushchenko], either," Losev said. "Now, it is difficult to find a figure who will accepted by all of society."

Serhiy Harmash, publisher of the independent Donetsk Internet magazine "Ostrov," said he believes Tymoshenko is likely to become prime minister and that Moroz has little chance. Harmash said Tymoshenko is also doing everything to get the post.

"It is difficult to say how the situation [inside the Yushchenko camp] will evolve, but I think that Yuliya Vladimirovna [Tymoshenko] wants the post of the prime minister very much," Harmash said. "Differently from other candidates, such as Moroz or [Petro] Poroshenko [an "Our Ukraine" deputy], she is already meeting with local elites and political forces seeking support for her candidacy."

At the end of December, Tymoshenko addressed voters in the eastern town of Donetsk. She promised reconciliation to people who overwhelmingly supported Yushchenko's presidential rival, former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

"When we come to power, opposition members will not be jailed or exiled as they were under Kuchma. And their heads will not be cut off as it happened to [slain journalist Heorhiy] Gongadze, and journalists will not be beaten in their own homes -- because we are coming to power with a completely different heart and a different mind," Tymoshenko said. "And I think you will be able to see and understand that."

Harmash said he is disgusted that Kuchma's rule united Yushchenko's bloc, adding that the unity that was forged is not a sufficient basis for a comprehensive economic policy that is acceptable to a broad section of the population.

However, Losev said that a common bond continues to unite many Ukrainians -- one that is likely to help drive policy in the coming months.

He said people expect Yushchenko to carry out the reforms he promised -- regardless of who becomes prime minister.

Copyright (c) 2004. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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