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Yushchenko Urges Politicians to Stop Arguing

KIEV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko complained Saturday that political leaders were more interested in arguing over jobs in the new government than their plans for Ukraine's future.

"Regrettably, today I'm getting the impression ... that priority No. 1 remains the distribution of portfolios," Yushchenko said in his weekly radio address.

No party won a majority the March 26 parliamentary elections, leaving political factions jockeying for position in whatever coalition is formed to govern the country. The humiliating third-place finish for Yushchenko's party left him with two choices for partners: his former Orange Revolution ally, Yulia Tymoshenko, whom he fired as prime minister six months ago, or his Orange Revolution foe Viktor Yanukovych, whose fraud-tarnished attempt to win the 2004 presidency triggered the mass protests.

Yanukovych's pro-Russian party won the most votes in the election, taking 32 percent. Yushchenko's party received 14 percent, far behind his estranged ally, Tymoshenko, whose bloc won 22 percent.

Also Saturday, Yushchenko ordered Ukraine's election chief to consider a request from four parties for a total recount of the vote, which international observers have declared the country's most democratic ever. The parties have complained that a four-day delay in releasing results raised fraud concerns.

(The Moscow Times 03.iv.06)

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