Ukraine has a pro-West female Prime Minister now.
President Viktor Yushchenko on Jan. 24 tapped top ally Yulia Tymoshenko to be Ukraine’s prime minister in an appointment that pays tribute to her key role in Yushchenko’s torturous election victory but also will likely vex his opponents at home and in Russia.
Yushchenko’s office announced the decision while the president was in Moscow on his first foreign trip following his inauguration a day earlier. The visit was intended to smooth relations with Russia, Ukraine’s powerful neighbor that had staunchly backed Yushchenko’s rival for the presidency.
“Tymoshenko, of all the candidates that were proposed, was the most acceptable,” Yushchenko said after a meeting at the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin, “I hope that Yulia and her cabinet will be successful.”
However, Tymoshenko’s nomination is likely to vex many in Russia, where prosecutors have issued an international arrest warrant for her on corruption charges dating back to her days as head of Ukraine’s gas monopoly – a company which has since been reorganized.
Tymoshenko, a firebrand opposition leader, was a driving force behind the opposition protests dubbed the “Orange Revolution” that paved the way for Yushchenko’s Dec. 26 victory in a court-ordered rerun of the presidential election.
Hat tip to Tulip Girl.