In addition, Tymoshenko's husband, Oleksandr, spent two years in hiding in order to avoid incarceration on charges the couple said were unfounded and politically motivated by the former Kuchma administration.
Campaigns against Kuchma and 2002 election
Once the charges were dropped, she became one of the leaders of street-level campaigns against President Kuchma for his alleged role in the murder of the journalist Georgiy R. Gongadze. In this campaign, Tymoshenko first became known as a passionate revolutionary-like leader, an example of this being a TVbroadcast of her smashing prison windows during one of the rallies.
The following year Tymoshenko was involved in a mysterious car accident that she survived with minor injuries-an episode some believe may have been a government assassination attempt. During this time, she founded Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (Блок Юлії Тимошенко), a political bloc that received 7.2 percent of the vote in the 2002 parliamentary election. She is the head of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) political party.
Tymoshenko's critics have suggested that, as an oligarch, she gained her fortune improperly. Some have speculated that her familiarity with the illegal conduct of business common in Ukraine uniquely qualifies her to combat corruption-if she is willing to do so. Her former business partner, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, was convicted in the United States on charges of billions-worth money laundering, corruption and fraud.
Despite this questionable past, her transition from oligarch to reformer was believed by many to be both genuine and effective. As energy Deputy Prime Minister, she virtually ended many corrupt arrangements in the energy sector. Under her stewardship, Ukraine's revenue collections from the electricity industry grew by several thousand per cent. She scrapped the practice of barter in the electricity market, requiring industrial customers to pay for their electricity in cash. She also terminated exemptions for many organizations which excluded them from having their power disconnected. Her reforms meant that the government had sufficient funds to pay civil servants and increase salaries.
After the Orange Revolution
Yulia Tymoshenko, Parliament, February 4, 2005.
On January 24, 2005 she was appointed as acting Prime Minister of Ukraine under Yushchenko's presidency. On February 4, 2005, at 2:54 p.m. (Kiev), Yulia Tymoshenko was ratified by the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) by an overwhelming majority of 373 votes (226 were required for approval).
On January 28, 2005, following the Orange Revolution, Ukrainian prosecutors agreed, and closed the cases against then Prime Minister Tymoshenko and her family members due to lack of evidence. These cases included Tymoshenko's husband and her father-in-law, Henadiy Tymoshenko. Oleksandr Tymoshenko returned to Ukraine soon after that.
On July 28, 2005, Forbes magazine named her third most powerful woman in the world, behind only Condoleezza Rice and Wu Yi. However, in the magazine's new list published on September 1, 2006, Tymoshenko did not even make the top 100.
Several months into her government, numerous inner conflicts inside the post?Revolution coalition began to damage Tymoshenko's administration. On September 8, 2005, after the resignation of several senior officials including the Head of the Security and Defence Council Petro Poroshenko and Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Tomenko, Yulia Tymoshenko's government was dismissed by President Viktor Yushchenko during a live TV address to the nation. She was succeeded by Yuriy Yehanurov. Later, the President criticized her work as head of the Cabinet, suggesting it had led to an economic slowdown and political conflicts within the ruling coalition.
2006 parliamentary election
After her dismissal Tymoshenko started to tour the country in a bid to win the 2006 Ukrainian parliamentary election as the leader of her Bloc. She soon announced that she wanted to return to the post of Prime Minister.
With the Bloc coming second in the election, and winning 129 seats, many speculated that she might form a coalition with Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party and the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) to prevent the Party of Regions from gaining power. Tymoshenko again reiterated her stance in regard to becoming Prime Minister. However, negotiations with Our Ukraine and SPU faced many difficulties as the various blocs scrapped over posts and engaged in counter-negotiations with other groupings.
On Wednesday June 21, 2006, the Ukrainian media reported that the parties had finally reached a coalition agreement, which appeared to have ended nearly three months of political uncertainty.
Tymoshenko's nomination and confirmation as new Prime Minister was expected to be straightforward. However, the nomination was preconditioned on an election of her long-term rival Petro Poroshenko from Our Ukraine as the speaker of the parliament. Within a few days after the coalition agreement had been signed, it became clear that the coalition members mistrusted each other, since they considered it to be a deviation from parliamentary procedures in order to hold a simultaneous vote on Poroshenko as the speaker and Tymoshenko as Prime Minister.
To aggravate matters, opposition members from the Party of Regions blocked the parliament from Thursday, June 29 through Thursday, July 6.
The Party of Regions announced an ultimatum to the coalition, demanding that the parliamentary procedures be observed, asking membership in parliamentary committees to be allocated in proportion to seats held by each fraction, chairmanship in certain Parliamentary committees as well as Governorships in the administrative subdivisions won by the Party of Regions. The coalition agreement deprived the Party of Regions and the communists of any representation in the executive and leadership in parliamentary committees while in the local regional councils won by the Party of Regions, the coalition parties were locked out of all committees as well.
Following a surprise