Ukraine: president, parliamentary leaders trying to sort out political crisis

The pro-Russian Party of Regions began blocking the parliamentary podium last week as the new coalition was planning to call a vote on naming Yulia Tymoshenko prime minister.

The party, led by Yushchenko's 2004 election rival Viktor Yanukovych, won the most votes in March parliamentary elections, but fell short of a majority.

Three parties agreed last month to form a majority coalition. Yanukovych's Party of the Regions has demanded chairmanships of key parliamentary committees and the first deputy speaker post, sparking coalition accusations of blackmail.

The majority coalition brings together the key political players in the Orange Revolution, the massive protests that erupted in 2004 after Yanukovych was declared to have received the most votes in presidential elections; the election eventually was declared invalid and Yushchenko won a rerun.

The parties later fell into disputes and Tymoshenko was dismissed as prime minister last September. Her return to the post was a key element in the new coalition formation. Petro Poroshenko, who resigned as security chief amid the infighting last year, is to be nominated as parliament speaker.