Ukrainian coalition loses majority in parliament

Prior to the announcement the ruling coalition held 227 seats, just one more than required for a majority.

Ukrainian coalition loses majority in parliament

The coalition underpinning Ukraine's government lost its majority in parliament on Friday, plunging the country into fresh uncertainty 3 1/2 years after pro-Western liberals swept to power in an "Orange Revolution".

But most politicians saw little reason for alarm after the defection of two coalition deputies, even after repeated government crises and three country-wide elections since 2004.

And under the constitution there was no immediate danger of collapse for the government of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a key figure in the mass "orange" rallies but now at odds with President Viktor Yushchenko.

The coalition, made up of Tymoshenko's bloc and the pro-Presidential Our Ukraine party, had clung to a majority of a single vote in the 450-seat chamber since its creation in November. With the defections, it holds only 225 seats.

The coalition's two groups have two weeks to regroup after which parliament has a further 30 days to form a new coalition.

"When a coalition formally disappears, a month is given to form a new coalition," said Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Penta think tank. "If no coalition is created, then the president is empowered to dissolve parliament."

Yushchenko, holding talks in Russia with Kremlin leader Dmitry Medvedev, said the defections in no way implied an end to the coalition's existence.

"There are no legal grounds to say the coalition has collapsed," he said in remarks on the presidential Web site. "The parliamentary majority is fighting fit and carrying on with its work."

Tymoshenko was first named prime minister after the president won the re-run of a rigged 2004 election, but the two quarrelled and she was dismissed seven months later.

Returned to office last year after "orange" forces scored a narrow victory in a snap parliamentary election, Tymoshenko and the president have since quarrelled constantly over the economy.

Both are seen as likely runners in the next presidential election -- likely to take place in early 2010.

Rumours have abounded for months that the coalition would be shortlived and that some of the president's allies would seek an alternative grouping with ex-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich -- who was initially declared the winner in the 2004 presidential poll but lost the re-run to Yushchenko.

Yanukovich told reporters he was unsurprised by the defections, but had nothing to do with them. He and his Regions Party were ready for talks on forming a new coalition.

Fesenko discounted the chances of forming a "grand coalition" of followers of the two Orange Revolution rivals.

"There will be an attempt to find a new format for the coalition, but it will be no more than an attempt," he said. "Most people from (the pro-presidential) Our Ukraine party will not go for a union with the Regions Party."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Haziran 2008, 16:56