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2 Mar, 2010 14:51

Ukraine’s parliamentary coalition breaks up leaving Timoshenko vulnerable

Ukraine’s parliamentary coalition breaks up leaving Timoshenko vulnerable

Viktor Yanukovich’s victory in the presidential race has led to the disintegration of a Timoshenko-led coalition of three parties. What’s next for Ukrainian politics?

The parliament’s majority coalition comprised of Yulia Timoshenko’s party, Our Ukraine, People’s Self Defense and The Litvin Block has been disbanded, according to parliamentary speaker Vladimir Litvin, who made this official on Tuesday when he announced:

“The parliament has not gathered up to date the 226 signatures of the lawmakers confirming the existing coalition. This gives me the reason to make such a statement.”

Blame game begins

The coalition, formed in 2008, was led by Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko and enjoyed a formal majority in the parliament. But following the announcement of a breakup, Timoshenko’s party leader Ivan Kirilenko immediately blamed The Litvin Block for the collapse of the coalition.

“The Litvin Block has deserted the coalition and essentially killed it,” Kirilenko told his fellow delegates.
In turn, the People’s Defense Party (NU-NS) announced that they reserve the right to hold talks with other factions to form a new coalition – and without Yulia Timoshenko’s block.

Possible partnership with the Party of Regions

Former Timoshenko’s allies, The Litvin Block and Nikolai Martynenko’s NU-NS faction, said they were ready consider forming a coalition with the Party of Regions, which just happens to be the party of newly elected President Viktor Yanukovich. The NU-NS leader also noted that they had come up with their own nominee for the post of prime minister. He hasn’t named the person, however, according to Itar-Tass, NU-NS’s nominee is lawmaker Arseny Yatsenyuk. The Party of Regions earlier named the acting party leader Nikolai Azarov as a potential candidate.

Possible scenarios

In case the new parliamentary coalition is not formed within a month, President Viktor Yanukovich has the right to dissolve the parliament and appoint new parliamentary elections. However, Yanukovich’s Party of Regions said that they hope the new coalition will be formed soon.

“I think that the new parliamentary majority will be formed during next week and a new government will be formed. If not, then the most likely scenario would be the reelection of the parliament”, said Party of Regions deputy Alexander Efremov.

Earlier on Monday, lawmakers decided to consider the question of dismissing the government, headed by Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. If a decision to dismiss the government is taken, then Timoshenko will have to leave the post of Prime Minister and one of the vice presidents will temporarily act as the country’s PM.

However, given Timoshenko’s well known fighting instincts, many doubt that she will be willing to give up her post so easily. “I really doubt she will leave the cabinet,” Efremov added, possibly sensing a yet another showdown in the always colorful world of Ukrainian politics.

However, even if she doesn’t, it’s already clear that Yanukovich is gradually clinching more power in the country and is now ready to revise past decisions enforced by his former “orange” opponents.

For example, the president’s administration said on Tuesday it’s considering withdrawing the title of Hero of Ukraine to Stepan Bandera,which was awarded posthumously to the controversial WWII figure and nationalist leader by former president Viktor Yushchenko.
The decree to honor the right-wing nationalist militant such an award was widely criticized both in Ukraine and abroad.

Now only time will tell how many more surprises are in store for Yulia Timoshenko at the hands of President Yanukovich; will Yulia find a place in a new coalition government, or will she disappear in political oblivion?

Olga Masalkova, Robert Bridge, RT