Viktor Yanukovych, leader of the pro-Russian Party of Regions that won the largest share of votes in the March elections, said Thursday that if the president failed to nominate a candidate for prime minister to parliament in the next two weeks, parliamentarians would elect a head of government themselves.
Mykola Poludeniy, adviser to President Viktor Yushchenko, said such a move could be considered illegal seizure of power.
"Submitting a prime minister's candidacy is a right of the president, it is part of his authority," he said. "If somebody wants to violate the procedure, this will be tantamount to taking power by force."
On Wednesday, Yushchenko declined to answer whether he would submit Viktor Yanukovych's candidacy as prime minister.
"I will proceed from the assumption that the prime minister is supposed to consolidate the nation. That's all I will say," Yushchenko said.
Ukraine has been in a crisis with fighting in the Supreme Rada and protestors on the streets following the collapse of a Western-leaning parliamentary coalition and the emergence of a new "anti-crisis" coalition led by the Party of Regions.