Ukraine President asks PM to fire interior minister

Ukrainian President Yushchenko urged PM Tymoshenko, to sack her interior minister.

Ukraine President asks PM to fire interior minister

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Thursday urged his political rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, to sack her interior minister, blaming him for a rise in crime and a failure to fight corruption.

The minister, Yuri Lutsenko, was a leading light in the 2004 pro-Western "Orange" revolution that brought both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko -- who are now bitter rivals -- to power. He later defected from the Yushchenko camp to Tymoshenko's.

Yushchenko, who is running for a second term in a Jan. 17 election in which Tymoshenko is also standing, said Lutsenko's work as interior minister had been "unprofessional" and the prime minister should get parliament to sack him.

"I propose (that you) ask parliament urgently to dismiss Lutsenko from his post of Interior Minister," Yushchenko said in a letter to Tymoshenko, published on the presidential website www.president.gov.ua.

According to the constitution, parliament has the last word in firing or appointing government members.

Yushchenko's call forms part of a barrage of criticism he has directed at Tymoshenko and her government in the run-up to an election which he has only the slimmest chance of winning, according to opinion polls.

Tymoshenko and the pro-business former prime minister Viktor Yanukovich are seen as front-runners in the contest, which is likely to go to a second round run-off vote on Feb. 7.

Yushchenko has blamed her government for everything from using fears of a swine flu epidemic to secure more money for the budget, to striking what he sees as a ruinous deal with Russia over natural gas supplies.

Commentators said that Tymoshenko seemed certain to ignore Yushchenko's plea to sack Lutsenko.



Reuters

Last Mod: 10 Aralık 2009, 15:12
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