Ukraine president to begin coalition talks

Petro Poroshenko says he will begin negotiations as polls show his party and allies were biggest winners in election.

    Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko says he will start talks on forging a coalition in parliament next week following an election that exit polls showed was dominated by his own political bloc and other pro-Western forces.

    Poroshenko said the final result of Sunday's election was expected in 10 days and this was long enough to complete the talks.

    He said he would nominate a prime minister proposed by the coalition that took shape.

    The snap election, coming eight months after a street revolt overthrew Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich, is meant to complete a historic shift from Russia's sphere of influence.

    Exit polls showed Poroshenko's bloc won 23 percent of the vote. In second place with 21.3 percent was the People's Front, the party of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and a Poroshenko ally.

    Ukraine fails to win over Slovyansk residents

    Yanukovich  was deposed in February after months of violent protests prompted by his decision to put ties with the European Union on hold.

    The Ukrainian president said in a televised address on Saturday that he wanted a majority to emerge that would see through laws to support a pro-Europe agenda and break with the Russian past.

    "Without such a majority in parliament, the President's programme ... will simply remain on paper," he said.

    The emergence of a strong force committed to a united Ukraine could place new strains on ties with Russia which the Kiev leadership blames for backing rebels in a conflict that has killed more than 3,700 people and destroyed the economy.

    There were no immediate reports of heavy clashes during the night in the east, where a fragile ceasefire has been in force since September 5.

    A gas pricing row with Russia which has the potential to disrupt supplies to European Union countries via Ukraine also rumbles on unresolved despite a meeting between Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Poroshenko called the snap election with the aim of clearing out Yanukovich  loyalists and securing further legitimacy for Kiev's pro-western direction after the "Euromaidan" protests.

    The protests were broadly supported by the West but denounced by Russia as a coup after Yanukovich's fall.

    A month later, Russia annexed Crimea and separatist rebellions, supported by Russia, erupted in the industrialised east.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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