Kiev's western-leaning coalition collapses

Ukraine's 'Orange' coalition has fallen apart according to the parliament chairman, after factions failed to reconcile their differences. Parties now have 30 days to form a new government.


Ukraine's governing coalition collapsed on Tuesday, the parliamentary speaker said, throwing into doubt the country's pro-Western course.

"I officially announce the collapse of the coalition of democratic forces," said parliamentary speaker Arseny Yatsenyuk.

Parties in parliament now have 30 days to form a new government, after which President Viktor Yushchenko (pictured left) can call new elections.

"From now on responsibility lies with the Ukrainian parliament," Yatsenyuk said.

"I would not call this an apocalypse. It is a challenge for democracy, but I hope we will overcome this challenge together," he said.

Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party announced on September 3 it was pulling out of the pro-West coalition with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (pictured right) after she sided with the pro-Moscow opposition to pass new laws to reduce Yushchenko's powers.

Yatsenyuk announced the collapse after a 10-day reconciliation period failed to achieve a breakthrough.

Tymoshenko must now tender her resignation but should continue functioning as prime minister until the formation of a new cabinet.

It is expected that her party, the Tymoshenko Bloc, will either form an alliance with the pro-Russian opposition Regions Party or new elections will be held -- experts have mooted December 21 as a possible date.

Tymoshenko and Yushchenko were the icons of the 2004 pro-Western Orange Revolution and have each been considered Western-leaning politicians despite persistent and sharp disagreements on domestic political issues.

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