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Yanukovych becomes Ukraine's prime minister

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Viktor Yanukovych was approved Friday by the Ukrainian parliament for the post of prime minister, which secures a surprise comeback for the pro-Russian politician.

KIEV, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - Viktor Yanukovych was approved Friday by the Ukrainian parliament for the post of prime minister, which secures a surprise comeback for the pro-Russian politician.

Two hundred and seventy-one deputies voted in favor of the Party of Regions leader. Yanukovych needed 226 votes from the 450-seat legislature to secure his appointment. The president then signed a decree appointing him to the post.

Yanukovych, who had previously served as prime minister under former president Leonid Kuchma, suffered a humiliating defeat to Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko in the re-run of the presidential elections two years ago following street protests against election fraud dubbed the "orange revolution."

The pro-Kremlin leader's nomination finally received Yushchenko's backing Thursday after four months of political turmoil.

After signing a national unity agreement on key policy areas, the Party of Regions, along with the Socialist and Communist parties, joined forces with the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc on Thursday, to form a new "grand coalition" in the legislature.

At today's Supreme Rada session, Yanukovych received 184 votes from the Party of Regions, 30 votes from the pro-presidential Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party each, and 21 votes from the Communist Party.

Six members of Yulia Tymoshenko's eponymous bloc voted for Yanukovych.

The Tymoshenko bloc earlier said it would boycott the Rada session in protest against Yushchenko's nomination of Yanukovych as prime minister. It was the only faction that refused to sign the national unity agreement proposed by the president as a means of ending the protracted political crisis.

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