Ukraine President asked parliament to support new PM

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko urged parliament to back his new prime minister on Friday, but analysts said his political future hinges on whether dynamic ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko turns on him.

As reported earlier, Yushchenko fired Tymoshenko and her cabinet on Thursday to stem government infighting and allegations of mass graft in a risky move that commentators said had shaken confidence in the leaders of December's pro-Western "Orange Revolution."

As Yushchenko pressed parliamentary faction leaders to work with an incoming government headed by regional governor Yury Yekhanurov, analysts said much hinged on which way Tymoshenko would now go, according to the AP.

The charismatic Tymoshenko, who has a huge following because of the important role she played in the revolution with her fiery pro-Yushchenko speeches, was due to set out her position late on Friday.

The worst-case scenario for Yushchenko would be Tymoshenko going into opposition when Ukraine votes in a parliamentary election in March 2006.

"The main political risk associated with the reshuffle is that of a breakdown in cooperation between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko ahead of the elections and possibly beyond," said Sergei Voloboev, an analyst for Credit Suisse First Boston.

Voloboev said that if Tymoshenko chose to launch her own political campaign outside a coalition with pro-Yushchenko groups, targeting him personally, parliament would fragment.

This in turn could undermine the reform prospects for the country, he said.

Yushchenko said on Thursday that those in the outgoing government remained his friends but its infighting was hurting the policy and direction of the country.

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