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BBC Monitoring research in English 11 Dec 07
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, December 11, 2007

Yuliya Tymoshenko, the charismatic Ukrainian politician who has been
appointed prime minister for the second time, has long been an uneasy ally
of President Viktor Yushchenko.

A driving force in the Orange Revolution that brought Yushchenko to power on a pro-Western platform in 2004, Tymoshenko rapidly eclipsed Yushchenko in popularity among the country's "orange" electorate and is widely seen as a likely future challenger for the presidency.

Tymoshenko was nominated for the post by the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and the propresidential Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defence, which together won a narrow majority in an early parliamentary election on 30 September.

It took Tymoshenko two votes in parliament to be appointed prime minister.
She fell one vote short of the 226-vote majority on 11 December, so
Yushchenko had to nominate her for the post again. She was eventually
appointed on 18 December, with exactly 226 MPs voting in her favour.

Yushchenko appointed Tymoshenko as prime minister for the first time in
January 2005, but relations between the two were strained from the start.
Eight months later, Yushchenko dismissed Tymoshenko as well as a number of
officials from his inner circle amid mutual accusations of corruption.

As prime minister, Tymoshenko was regularly accused of populism and
employing "administrative" methods in contrast to Yushchenko's more
free-market approach.

Ahead of the 2006 election, Tymoshenko advocated a "third way" ideology
between capitalism and socialism, which she called "solidarism". More
recently, Tymoshenko's Fatherland party has built ties with the
transnational centre-right European People's Party.

After the 2006 parliamentary election, Tymoshenko looked set to regain the
prime minister's post at the head of a renewed Orange coalition. However,
the rival Party of Regions set up a coalition with left-wing parties.
Tymoshenko immediately called on Yushchenko to dissolve parliament. She
eventually achieved this goal on 2 April, when Yushchenko called the early
Yuliya Tymoshenko (maiden name Hryhyan) was born in Dnipropetrovsk in 1960.
After graduating from the economics faculty of Dnipropetrovsk university,
Tymoshenko initially worked as an engineer-economist at the city's Lenin
machine-building plant. While still a teenager, she married Oleksandr
Tymoshenko. Their daughter, Yevheniya, is married to a British rock

In the late 1980s, the Tymoshenkos launched a video-distribution business in
Dnipropetrovsk. From 1991, Yuliya Tymoshenko headed the Ukrayinskyy
Benzyn (Ukrainian Petrol) Corporation, which sold fuel and lubricants in
Dnipropetrovsk Region.

Tymoshenko emerged as a major force in the country's energy sector in the
mid-1990s, when she headed United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU), a
company that imported Russian gas and sold Ukrainian goods in Russia.

Due to the huge revenues the company generated, Tymoshenko became known

as the "gas princess". In 1997, UESU ran into problems with Ukrainian tax
authorities. A number of the company's officials, including Oleksandr
Tymoshenko, subsequently faced prosecution for financial irregularities.
In 1996, Tymoshenko entered parliament at a by-election in a Kirovohrad
Region constituency. She was initially associated with the opposition
Hromada party led by former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who later fled
to the USA where he was found guilty of money laundering. In 1999,
Tymoshenko set up her own party called Fatherland (Batkivshchyna).

In December 1999, Tymoshenko was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for Fuel
and Energy in the reformist government of Viktor Yushchenko. Tymoshenko was
credited with doing much to clean up the country's corruption-ridden
electricity distribution market. She was sacked in January 2001 by President
Leonid Kuchma. Soon after, she was accused of fraud and spent several months
in jail, before a Kiev court ordered her release.

Tymoshenko's bloc made it into parliament in 2002. Tymoshenko often accused
Viktor Yushchenko, whose Our Ukraine bloc was also in opposition, of not
being radical enough and willing to strike a deal with the authorities. But
ahead of the November 2004 presidential election, she threw her support
behind Yushchenko.

After the Moscow-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was declared the
election winner, Tymoshenko played a key role in the Orange Revolution
protests to reverse the official result, appearing regularly alongside
Yushchenko on Kiev's Independence Square.
Viktor Yushchenko's victory in a repeat election was followed by rivalry
between Tymoshenko and businessman Petro Poroshenko - another key Orange
figure - for the post of prime minister. It was eventually secured by
Tymoshenko, who said this had been the precondition of her support for
Yushchenko in the run-up to the election.

Tymoshenko's premiership failed to usher in a revival of Ukraine's economic
fortunes. On the contrary, economic growth slowed down and investment went
into a decline. As head of government, Tymoshenko was often accused of
exercising overly strict and "anti-market" regulation. Another
characteristic was her drive to review questionable privatizations of the
1990s, which made investors uneasy.

With in-fighting in the Orange team becoming ever more apparent, Yushchenko
sacked Tymoshenko's cabinet in September 2005 amid a bitter row over
allegations of corruption in the president's inner circle.
In the run-up to the 2006 parliamentary election, Tymoshenko was highly
critical of both the government of her successor, Yushchenko-loyalist Yuriy
Yekhanurov, and the Yanukovych-led opposition.

Contrary to most predictions, Tymoshenko's bloc came second after the Party
of Regions with 22.29 per cent of the vote, well ahead of the
propresidential Our Ukraine bloc.

With Tymoshenko demanding the post of prime minister for herself and some
elements in Our Ukraine more or less openly seeking a grand coalition with
the Party of Regions, negotiations to reform an Orange coalition dragged on
for months and eventually collapsed as the Socialists crossed the floor to
join the Yanukovych's coalition.

After the formation of the coalition, Tymoshenko pushed for Yushchenko to
dissolve parliament. In a move possibly calculated to compel the president
to do so, her bloc in January 2007 voted with the coalition to overcome a
presidential veto on a new law on the Cabinet of Ministers that further
limited presidential powers.

Tymoshenko welcomed Yushchenko's dissolution decree and backed him
throughout the ensuing crisis despite evidence of continuing personal
differences. She and the majority of MPs from her faction gave up their
seats to provide the formal grounds for the dissolution of parliament.

In the 30 September election, Tymoshenko's bloc again did much better than
expected, coming a close second to the Party of Regions with 30.14 per cent
of the vote, while Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defence gained only 14.15 per