September 16, 2008
A deputy of Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc reads a newspaper as he sits alone in the Ukrainian Parliament on Sept 16 2008. Sergei Suplinsky / AFP
Ukraine’s governing coalition collapsed today, 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 the country’s parliamentary speaker, Arseny Yatsenyuk.
Parties in parliament now have 30 days to form a new government, after which Ukrainian president, Viktor Yushchenko, can call new elections.
“From now on responsibility lies with the Ukrainian parliament,” Mr 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.
Mr Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party announced on Sept 3 it was pulling out of the pro-West coalition with prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, after she sided with the pro-Moscow opposition to pass new laws to reduce Mr Yushchenko’s powers.
Mr Yatsenyuk announced the collapse after a 10-day reconciliation period failed to achieve a breakthrough.
Ms 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 Dec 21 as a possible date.