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Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Ukrainian MPs form pro-Kuchma majority
President Leonid Kuchma (left) and former prime minister Viktor Yushchenko
Leonid Kuchma may yet do a deal with Viktor Yushchenko
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has managed to gain a fragile parliamentary majority more than six months after the country's general election.

Ukraine majority
Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs / Working Ukraine
Ukrainian Regions
United Social Democratic Party
European Choice
Democratic Initiatives
People's Democratic Party
People's Power
Agrarians of Ukraine
People's Choice
A pact was signed by 231 of the parliament's 449 members, after four members of the opposition broke ranks with their colleagues.

The deal follows months of political turmoil marked by opposition-led protests in September.

Since then, opposition groups have been boycotting the parliament's work.

The newly formed majority failed to adopt the Rada's daily agenda, which included the appointment of a parliamentary committee to investigate Washington's claims that Ukraine sold radar systems to Iraq, in violation of UN sanctions.

Possible deal

Political tensions have been rising steadily since parliamentary elections, in which the party of former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, the country's most popular politician, emerged as the single largest party.

Demonstration in Kiev
Protesters have called on Mr Kuchma to resign
A united front of opposition leaders called demonstrators on to the streets last month, to mark the second anniversary of the disappearance of opposition journalist Georgiy Gongadze.

They hold Mr Kuchma responsible for his subsequent death.

On Tuesday, however, three members of the Yulia Tymoshenko Block, and one member of the Communist Party agreed to join the parliamentary majority.

One member of Mr Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party agreed at first to join the majority, then withdrew his name.

Mr Yushchenko had held negotiations with pro-presidential parties, in the hope of forming a majority with them, and creating a coalition government.

He said on Tuesday that the authorities had not been brave enough to recognise the results of the election.

Correspondents say Mr Kuchma may still strike a deal with Mr Yushchenko so that the former prime minister becomes his successor in 2004.

See also:

04 Apr 02 | Europe
25 Sep 02 | Europe
02 Oct 02 | Europe
29 Sep 02 | Europe
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