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UKRAINE'S ORANGE REVOLUTION ALLIES CONTINUE COALITION TALKS. Former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of the eponymous political bloc, met with Roman Bezsmertnyy, head of the Our Ukraine People's Union, and Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz on April 10 to discuss the formation of a democratic coalition in the newly elected Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian media reported. "Our decision is firm. All three sides have declared that a coalition will consist of three political forces -- the Our Ukraine bloc, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, and the Socialist Party. Any other political forces will not be allowed to join it," Tymoshenko told journalists after the meeting. The three allies from the 2004 Orange Revolution reportedly decided to draft a coalition agreement within the following two days. "We believe the road we have taken is the right one. We see no threats so far," Bezsmertnyy commented on the coalition talks. JM
OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE FINAL RESULTS OF UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. The Central Election Commission on April 10 made public the final results of the March 26 parliamentary poll, Ukrainian media reported. The Party of Regions won 32.14 percent of the vote, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 22.29 percent, Our Ukraine 13.95 percent, the Socialist Party 5.69 percent, and the Communist Party 3.66 percent. In the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada, the Party of Regions will have 186 seats, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc 129, Our Ukraine 81, the Socialists 33, and the Communists 21. Of the remaining 40 parties and blocs, the closest to overcoming the 3 percent voting hurdle were the Natalya Vitrenko Bloc (2.93 percent) and the Lytvyn People's Bloc (2.44 percent). Election turnout was 67.7 percent. JM
...DUE TO ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS? An unnamed "source within the Russian authorities" told Interfax in Moscow on April 10 that unspecified "Western negotiators are putting forward ever new demands to Russia as a condition for admission to the WTO, and often these demands go beyond the usual set applied to other countries. In these circumstances, Russia might well [reconsider] its plans to join that organization. or at least postpone the process for a while." Also on April 10, the daily "Izvestia" cited an unnamed "high-ranking government official" as saying that "several countries, including the United States, are deliberately pursuing a policy meant to block our admission" to the WTO. That official added that the range of issues and "claims that they [bring up] time and again has been discussed more than once, and everything has [long] been settled." He added that such practices have made Russian decision-makers more receptive to the arguments of those opposed to WTO membership. President Putin said on March 29 that the United States is stalling on Russia's WTO bid. Washington denies the charges. Some Russian commentators suggested recently that the United States wants to "punish" Russia for working against U.S. interests in the Middle East, Central Asia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, and elsewhere. Georgia for its part refused during talks in Geneva last month to amend its conditions for Russia's accession to the WTO (see "RFE/RL Newsline," November 28, 2005, and February 22 and March 24, 2006). PM