Freshly elected parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz formally announced the creation of a new coalition during a chaotic session of the Verkhovna Rada on 11 July. The new coalition unites the Party of the Regions (186 seats), the Socialist Party (33 seats) and the Communist Party (21 seats). Together, with 240 seats, this coalition will just have a majority in the 450 seat legislature.
The announcement of a new coalition follows the unexpected election of Socialist leader Oleksander Moroz as parliament speaker on 6 July. The Socialist Party had previously been a co-signer of an agreement for an ‘Orange’ coalition, with the Yuliya Tymoshenko bloc and Our Ukraine. In this document the three parties had agreed to sign over the post of parliamentary speaker to Our Ukraine candidate Petro Poroshenko. Following this agreement Yulia Tymoshenko was designated Prime Minister, the Socialist Party would have gotten the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
Things however did not work out according to these plans. The choice to make Petro Poroshenko speaker of parliament was controversial. Poroshenko - a textile and media magnate, and the most important sponsor of Yushchenko in his campaign for the 2004 presidential elections – was one of Yuliya Tymoshenko’s biggest critics after the Orange revolution. To some in the new ‘Orange’ coalition, the combination of a Prime Minister Tymoshenko and a Speaker Poroshenko was destined to lead to internal crisis.
On 6 July, after the Party of the Regions had lifted its weeks long blockade of the parliament, Moroz nominated himself for the position of parliament Speaker. With the support of the Party of the Regions and the Communist Party, and the ‘Orange’coalition parties shunning the vote, he was elected. The Yuliya Tymoshenko bloc and Our Ukraine felt the Socialist Party betrayed the coalition agreement.
With the announcement of a new coalition of the Socialist Party and the pro-Russian Party of the Regions and the Communist Party, Ukraine seems to be taking a political u-turn. It is expected that leader of the Party of the Regions and former candidate in the 2004 presidential elections, Viktor Yanukvych, will be announced as nominee for the post of Prime Minister.