Ukraine's parliament will consider President Viktor Yushchenko's controversial decision to nominate his radical ally, Yulia Tymoshenko, as prime minister on Thursday, lawmakers said Jan. 31.
Tymoshenko needs approval from a simple majority of 226 of Ukraine's 450 lawmakers - a proportion lawmakers said she should easily win.
Tymoshenko's nomination for Ukraine's second most powerful job reflects her pivotal role in the wave of opposition protests, dubbed the "Orange Revolution," that paved the way for Yushchenko's Dec. 26 victory in a court-ordered rerun vote.
Tymoshenko became a heroine for millions of Ukrainians who besieged their capital to protest their stolen votes. But her hardline rhetoric and radicalism made her a hated figure in Ukraine's Russian-dominated east, which supported Yushchenko's rival, former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.
Tymoshenko, one of Ukraine's wealthiest women, also has been dogged by corruption charges that she claims were politically motivated. Ukraine's prosecutors closed the case against her last week, but Russian prosecutors still have a warrant out for her arrest for alleged bribery from when she headed Ukraine's main gas dealer.
Yushchenko, who spent last week on a working tour of Russia and western Europe, has acknowledged that her nomination generated some controversy, even among his own supporters.
"It is normal that some people have another opinion," Borys Bespaliy, a member of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine faction, told The Associated Press. However, he said that he expects Tymoshenko to receive unanimous backing from the bloc's 100 lawmakers.
Bohdan Gubskiy, head of the parliamentary faction United Ukraine, said that lawmakers on Thursday will not only be voting on Tymoshenko's nomination, but will also be considering the program for her government. Yushchenko has also said that he plans to make public his other nominations for top government jobs by Feb. 3.
"We must understand what program this government hopes to realize," Gubskiy said.
Heorhiy Kryuchkov said the 59-member Communist faction will decide whether to support Tymoshenko at its meeting Feb. 1.
Yushchenko has promised to fight corruption, drag Ukraine's economy out of the shadows, reform the judicial system and raise living standards - all while nudging this nation of 48 million closer to the West.