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'Gas Princess' lacks just one vote to become Ukraine's PM

Orange revolution first lady Yulia Timoshenko has failed by one vote to become Ukraine’s Prime Minister. Ukraine's parliament has failed to approve her at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Timoshenko’s supporters claim the vote was technically flawed.

The deputies voted on the nominee twice. But both times the result was the same. Yulia Timoshenko failed one vote short of the majority needed. Twice.

Her supporters laid the blame on their main opponents – the Party of Regions saying they interfered with the Rada voting programme.

The Party of Regions denies the claims insisting that the voting on Tuesday was proof of the Orange Coalition's failure and inefficiency.

The party did not let the speaker go to his seat and demanded his resignation – which he promised to do if Timoshenko did not get approval.

Last week the Orange Coalition nominated Arseny Yatsenyuk from Our Ukraine Party as a speaker of the Parliament. His approval was believed to enhance Timoshenko's chances to become a new Prime Minister.

Orange Coalition failure

Timoshenko was nominated for the post by the Orange Coalition last week.

The Orange Coalition, which is comprised of the bloc of Yulia Timoshenko and Our Ukraine Party, was formed after the early election in autumn. It has the majority in the parliament over the Party of Regions which won the autumn election, the Communists and the Vladimir Litvin Bloc.

Timoshenko favours western integration to closer economic and cultural ties with Russia. But there are doubts over whether she would be competent as Prime minister. She held the post in 2005, but was sacked by President Yushchenko for what he said was poor performance.

Now seen as Viktor Yushchenko's first ally, she is also his first rival in power. Some fear the coalition could disintegrate soon, others promise a smooth ride for the next 5 years.

Whatever the outcome, the coalition has failed one of the most important tests.

After Tuesday's session, some coalition members doubted the efficiency of the Rada voting system and insisted on an alternative vote.

Economic crisis feared

Oleg Voloshin, a political analyst from Kiev, believes that the lack of one vote appears to be a technical mistake rather than the result of a serious plot, according to Voloshin.

“We have developed a pluralistic system that left us with no authorities, no government at all. Everybody was sure that Yulia Timoshenko will be approved a Prime Minister, but it didn't happen. We all see that the tradition of chaos in Ukrainian politics continues,” Voloshin said.

He also warned that an approval by a thin margin will create a very difficult situation for Timoshenko during her future work as Prime Minister. He says that she can always use this and the resistance of her political opponents from the Party of Regions as an excuse for possible flaws.

Rada deputy Andrey Shkil insisted Ukraine should concentrate more on decreasing the inflation, then changing the government.

“When it’s raining and the house is leaking, some parties promise to change the floors to make people happy. It’s wrong because the problem is with the water. We’ll stop the rain, the inflation, that chaos left by the previous government,” Shkil said.

Yaroslav Sukhoy, secretary of the Verkhovna Rada committee for social policy, expressed fear of an economic crisis caused by reprivatization and price setting by the administration, with Timoshenko in power.

“Foreign investors are already scared of her. Her bright promises remind me of those financial pyramid schemes which sooner or later collapse,” Sukhoy said.