Ukrainian President's Party Lures Lawmakers Amid Coalition Talks

  • Independent deputy joined Poroshenko's party Wednesday
  • Parties of president, premier need 7 more seats for majority

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s party has begun luring independent lawmakers to form a new ruling coalition and end the nation’s worst political crisis in two years.

Iryna Suslova, formerly of the Samopomich party, joined Poroshenko’s party Wednesday, parliament’s first deputy speaker, Andriy Parubiy, said in the capital, Kiev. Talks are being conducted with “at least seven more lawmakers,” Mustafa Nayem, a member of the president’s party, said on Twitter. Poroshenko has 138 deputies in the 450-seat legislature, while Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has 81. They’ve so far been unable to ally with a third party to form a majority.

“The scenario is being implemented: to add independent lawmakers to Bloc Petro Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk’s party so the two have 226 seats,” Serhiy Leshchenko, a lawmaker from the president’s parliamentary group, said on Facebook.

Two years on from a street uprising that ousted its Kremlin-backed leader, Ukraine has become gridlocked by infighting over stalled reforms and anti-corruption plans. The stalemate is holding up billions of dollars of financial aid and eroding support for the post-revolution officials. Poroshenko has said a government revamp is the solution, proposing ally Volodymyr Hroisman, currently parliament speaker, as prime minister.

Tymoshenko’s Demands

Hroisman is struggling to assemble a majority as parties bicker over his candidacy, posts and policies. While he’s said a new coalition may be formed from the parties of Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk and ex-Premier Yulia Tymoshenko, the latter is making demands that go against measures contained in Ukraine’s $17.5 billion bailout.

Yatsenyuk told a government meeting in Kiev Wednesday that he’s “ready for any political decision in order to form a coalition, a new cabinet and appoint a new prime minister.” A resolution is needed for the sake of stability, investment and cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, he said.

The political tumult, set to drag on with Poroshenko away on an official visit to Washington, has dented Ukrainian assets. The hryvnia has lost 8.3 percent against the dollar this year, while the yield on government debt due 2019 jumped to as high as 12.149 percent in January, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

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