Tymoshenko Plans Comeback

Ukraine's sacked Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said she plans to win back her post after parliamentary elections next year and then stand for president in 2009.

In an interview with Russian newspaper Kommersant published on Tuesday, Tymoshenko -- fired along with her government by President Viktor Yushchenko last Thursday -- said she and her supporters would win the March 2006 elections.

"Of course, I will fight for the post of prime minister in the parliamentary elections," Tymoshenko told the paper.

"There is not merely a chance, but a full certainty that we will win the parliamentary elections."

Yushchenko installed long-time ally Yuri Yekhanurov as prime minister to stem a political crisis that centred on accusations of corruption and divisions among leaders of last year's "Orange Revolution."

Tymoshenko has stopped short of saying she will go into opposition against Yushchenko, but says she and her backers will form a parallel team to compete in next year's election.

Under constitutional changes approved to allow for the re-run of last year's rigged presidential poll, eventually won by Yushchenko, the powers of the prime minister are to be expanded and those of the president reduced.

The changes, to go into effect next January, give the prime minister broader control over the choice of ministers and offers protection against dismissal by the head of state.

Tymoshenko said she and her supporters would also take part in the 2009 presidential elections, a move she said she had been forced into because of her dismissal.

"Of course we will take part in the presidential elections -- there is no doubt about this now. But I did not make this choice, Viktor Andreyevich Yushchenko did under full pressure from his entourage," Tymoshenko said.

One of the public faces of the revolution, Tymoshenko leads a parliamentary bloc which bears her name. A number of other small parties in Ukraine's fragmented political scene have expressed their support since her dismissal.

The former premier has portrayed herself as a victim of political intrigue. But she said she did not bear any grudges against Yushchenko.

"The president made his choice. And I cannot resent him, he is the president of the country. But I think that now we will take totally different paths. I think that I will never work against the president," she said.


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