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3 Sep, 2008 08:05

Crisis in Ukraine: Coalition on the rocks again

Ukraine is in the grip of a fresh crisis, with another face-off between former Orange Bloc allies President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko underway.

The ruling coalition government collapsed after the 'Our Ukraine Self-Defence Block' party led by President Viktor Yushchenko pulled out of the coalition on Wednesday.

The president is now threatening to dissolve parliament and call a snap election. The president's party and the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc have been in an uncomfortable union since the coalition was formed in 2007, and the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict became the latest bone of contention.

Opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich has backed Russia's actions in South Ossetia. The president has accused Yulia Tymoshenko of also supporting Russia as she has not spoken out against South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence.

The president called the latest developments a “political and constitutional coup d'etat”. He announced on Wednesday that once the split comes into effect he will allow lawmakers 30 days to form a new coalition. If a coalition is not formed, he will use his decree powers to dissolve the parliament and call elections.