Community News

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fresh talks likely as Kiev alliance fails

By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev

Published: March 3 2010 02:00 | Last updated: March 3 2010 02:00

Ukraine's governing coalition formally collapsed yesterday, setting the stage for fresh alliance talks that could help the country's new president, Viktor Yanukovich, consolidate his grip on power by forming a government loyal to him.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the prime minister who was narrowly beaten in last month's presidential election, is expected to remain in office until a new government is formed.

Volodymyr Lytvyn, parliamentary speaker and a former Tymoshenko ally, announced: "In line with the constitution of Ukraine . . . I announce that the coalition in parliament has ceased its activity."

Ms Tymoshenko alleged that Mr Lytvyn had "illegally" exploited a loophole to declare an end to her fragile coalition.

The announcement came after three factions in parliament that had backed Ms Tymoshenko's coalition failed to submit enough signatures to show they still held a 226-strong majority in the 450-seat legislature.

They include the factions of Ms Tymoshenko, Mr Lytvyn and the Our Ukraine grouping that had backed Viktor Yushchenko, former president.

Ms Tymoshenko warned that the coalition's collapse could concentrate power in Mr Yanukovich's hands and allow him to pursue what she called "anti-Ukrainian" policies.

She could yet challenge the move in the constitutional court, and some commentators forecast that she may cling on as premier for weeks or months.

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