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Ukraine's Yushchenko backs "orange" parliamentary coalition

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KIEV, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's president said Thursday he remained a supporter of coalition in the country's parliament made up of the three main parties that swept him to power in the 2004 "orange revolution."

Western-leaning parties in Ukraine have been in talks on forming an "orange" coalition since the elections March 26 failed to produce a clear winner. But they failed to agree on who would receive which posts, which prompted pro-presidential Our Ukraine to pull out and announce it would talk to the pro-Russia Party of Regions, earlier frozen out of the negotiations.

But Viktor Yushchenko stepped into the fray Thursday, saying, "I have always been a supporter of an 'orange' democratic coalition without threats and blackmailing and with common sense."

Our Ukraine, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialist Party stumbled over who would become prime minister and parliamentary speaker, but Yushchenko said the political forces that which were successful in the March 26 elections to the Supreme Rada should reach an understanding and form a parliamentary majority.

The president said he would make every effort to ensure that Ukraine had a democratic coalition.

Under the Ukrainian Constitution, parliament is to forge a coalition within 30 days after its first session, which took place on May 25. If parliamentarians fail to reach an agreement, Yushchenko is entitled to disband the legislature and call new elections.

Official results from the March poll saw the Party of Regions take first place with 186 seats in the 450-seat legislature. The bloc of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko won 129 seats, Our Ukraine 81, the Socialist Party 33 and the Communist Party 21.

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