Ukraine's PM scores victory as budget passed
By Olena Horodetska
KIEV, March 25 (Reuters) - Ukraine's government scored a big victory on Friday in its drive to impose reforms when parliament approved, with no dissenters, a revised 2005 budget praised by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as a "breakthrough for every citizen."
Tymoshenko, 44, clearly had her eye on a March 2006 parliamentary election, pointing to provisions for higher wages and pensions and substantial benefits for orphans, mothers and the handicapped.
"This will be a breakthrough for every Ukrainian. By boosting purchasing power, we will support every sector of the economy," she told the chamber in an emotional address minutes before the vote.
Later, a beaming Tymoshenko told reporters: "I am overwhelmed by emotions. This is not only a victory for the government. We can now see how a new presidential and parliamentary team was born. It can produce results for every citizen."
A total of 376 deputies in the 450-seat chamber -- the others abstained -- backed the draft, which cuts the deficit to about 1.56 percent of gross domestic product from 2.2 percent previously.
Revenues were set at 108.5 billion hryvnias ($20.5 billion), with spending at 115.3 billion.
Terry also has an entry on Tymoshenko's looks (it's brief so I'll quote it in full here - thank you, Terry!)
On questions of Yulia Timoshenko's hair.
The Timoshenko look is nothing, if not calculated. Her hair was naturally brunette and worn down until 2002. A "honey tint like Julia" can now cost up to USD 200 at a top Kiev beauty salon. The Timoshenko braid, modelled on Ukrainian peasant tradition and made famous during the Orange Revolution, is quite real. The braid scored her a typical coup in 2003, after parliament detractors accused her of wearing a hairpiece.
MP Timoshenko was ready for them, letting her hair down during rebuttal. The move proved her opponents liars and what's more placed her image atop evening newscasts and on front pages of newspapers the next morning. "Like any woman, I try to look attractive in my own way," Timoshenko told Ukrainska Pravda magazine, adding, "I think people sometimes make too much of my outfits."