Viktor Yanukovych - losing Ukrainian presidential candidate on Thursday praised the dismissal of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's government but said the country will be rudderless until after the March parliamentary elections.
"Whatever the government will be now, it will be temporary and ineffective," said Yanukovych, calling on President Viktor Yushchenko to call early elections and to ensure that the political reforms take effect.
Yushchenko dismissed Tymoshenko's government last week, and tapped a Russian-born technocrat, Yuriy Yekhanurov, to be acting prime minister.
Yanukovych, who drew his support from Ukraine's Russian-speaking east in last year's bitter presidential race, said his criticism wasn't directed at Yekhanurov personally.
"We understand this government will work only until the parliamentary election, and we believe that only a new government formed under the new constitution and on a coalition basis will be effective," Yanukovych said in an interview with The Associated Press.
The Ukrainian parliament is expected to vote next week on Yekhanurov's candidacy, and Yushchenko personally appealed to all party faction leaders for their support.
Yanukovych's 52-person parliamentary faction, which is the second largest single group in parliament after the Communists, will abstain, his spokeswoman Anna German said.
The March parliamentary elections are shaping up to be a battle which could determine the future direction of Ukraine. With the dismissal of Tymoshenko and her move into the opposition, it is turning into a fight between the two former Orange Revolution allies, reports the AP.