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Ukraine’s president chief of staff holds talks with Timoshenko on majority coalition

February 11, 2014, 12:22 UTC+3 KIEV

Nomination of a candidate for premiership is expected this week

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Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff Andrei Klyuyev

Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff Andrei Klyuyev

© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, February 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff Andrei Klyuyev held talks with leader of the opposition Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party, jailed Yulia Timoshenko on the creation of a majority coalition by the Party of Regions and her party in the parliament, the Kommersant Ukraine daily reported on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, the meeting took place last week (February 3-9) in Kharkov, where Timoshenko had been undergoing treatment in hospital. The former prime minister has been serving a seven-year prison term since May 2012 for abuse of power during the gas talks with Russia in 2009.

“Batkivshchina has not officially commented on this information, while a source close to the presidential administration calls it ‘strange,” the daily reported. “At the same time there is information available saying the talks have focused on the search for a joint way out of the crisis and unification of efforts by the Party of Regions and Batkivshchina in the parliament.”

The first deputy chair of the Party of Regions’ parliamentary faction, Mikhail Chechetov, said he obtained no information on possible creation of a broad coalition by the ruling and opposition parties and appointment of Batkivshchina faction chair Arseny Yatsenyuk as prime minister.

“A proposal voiced by the president is timely for Yatsenyuk only in the event of his disassociation from the opposition and his program and his agreement to fulfil the president’s program,” Chechetov told the daily. “For other representatives of the opposition to get seats in the cabinet, their factions should officially move to the parliamentary majority. Then this issue can be discussed in some way.”

Yatsenyuk says he will agree to form the government with opposition members only if Ukraine returns to the 2004 Constitution.

Nomination of a candidate for premiership is expected this week. At present, after resignation of Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov, who stepped down to create “social and political compromise,” was approved on January 28, Sergei Arbuzov had been serving as acting prime minister.

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