Parliament Rejects Choice Of PM

Ukraine's parliament has rejected the candidacy of acting Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov.

Yekhanurov won only 223 votes, three less than he needed to be named to the job. President Viktor Yushchenko had tapped Yekhanurov to replace his Orange Revolution ally, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whom he fired on Sept. 8.

The defeat was a major blow for Yushchenko, who came to the parliament session hall to plead with lawmakers to accept his choice, warning that to say no would be to support those trying to destabilize this ex-Soviet republic.

But Yushchenko failed to win the support of Ukraine's opposition parties and those factions now loyal to Tymoshenko, whom many Ukrainians see as the heroine of last year's mass protests.

Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn frowned as the vote count was read out. Officials have said that, if Yekhanurov failed to win enough votes, they would persist with negotiations.

Earlier Tuesday, the Russian-born Yekhanurov had pledged to the parliament that his government would ensure stability in the nation and aim at improving the sluggish economic climate. He pledged to change at least two-thirds of the members of government.

Analysts had said that Yekhanurov, an economist by training, would likely be a boon for Ukraine's suffering economy and would reassure investors spooked by Tymoshenko's re-privatization program. He was considered a neutral candidate following the fiery Tymoshenko.


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