Addressing students and faculty of the Ternopil State Medical University Dec. 21, Premier Yulia Tymoshenko invited Viktor Yanukovych to debates on television, our correspondent reports Dec. 21.
Tymoshenko said she was disappointed when Viktor Yanukovych and Pres Yushchenko didn’t show up at the live talk show arranged for the three candidates by Ukrayina TV channel on Friday, Dec. 18.
“I hope to face Victor Yanukovych in public. The debates must be held as Ukrainians want to be informed by the three major candidates about what is going on in the country,” she said.
The premier said Donbas must feel ashamed for its leader who “had cold feet” and didn’t show up at the debates. “I guess, Donbas [Yanukovych’s main electoral base] was disappointed by its leader. Being scared that way to appear in public debates doesn’t give Yanukovych much credit. Unfortunately, Yanukovych didn’t have the courage. If he needs any medication to beef up his courage, we can provide it,” she added.
Viktor Yanukovych is a notoriously bad speaker.
In a related development, the Ukrayina TV channel [owned by tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, one of the Party of Regions major donors] requested the host of the talk show, Savik Shuster, to offer live air to Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko.
“Three leading presidential candidates, Yanukovych, Tymoshenko and Yushchenko were invited to appear in the Dec. 18 talk show. However, only Yulia Tymoshenko turned up,” the channel statement runs.
The channel appealed to the anchor of “Shuster Live” to give the two politicians time in the next talk show. The channel stands for equal access to airtime for major political leaders. If need be, the channel is prepared to give additional time to “Shuster Live,” the Ukrayina channel statement runs.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Telekritika [a media watchdog], Savik Shuster said, ”We fully understand the Ukrayina channel’s attitude, but we would like to stress that the Dec. 18 talk show failed because two of the three candidates didn’t show up.”
“In our invitations to the candidates, we divided the time equally among the three participants, 40 min. to each,” Savik Shuster added.
“But we understand Ukrayina’s position and are ready to give the other two candidates 40 min. each,” Shuster confirmed.
“Simultaneously, we hope the talk show will be attended by the 3 politicians as we are convinced that their debates are crucial for the public in the run-up to the presidential election,” the anchor stressed.