Ukraine Ruling Coalition Collapses, Speaker Says

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's ruling coalition collapsed on Tuesday when it failed to show it still had a majority, the speaker of parliament said.

Speaker of Parliament Volodymyr Lytvyn.

Tymoshenko remains in office, however, while her arch rival Viktor Yanukovich, who defeated her in last month's bitter presidential vote, goes through the steps of consolidating his grip on power.

Announcing the coalition's collapse, Assembly speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said leaders of parliamentary factions had met and coalition parties did not submit enough signatures to show they maintained a majority.

"In line with the constitution of Ukraine ... I announce that the coalition in parliament has ceased its activity," Lytvyn told the assembly.

Parliament is due to hold a vote of no confidence in Tymoshenko's government on Wednesday.

Both a formal announcement of the collapse of the coalition and a passed motion of no confidence in the government have to occur to allow Yanukovich's supporters to begin the long process of creating a new government.

The collapse of the coalition indicates that the no-confidence vote will pass if coalition members who refused to submit their signatures vote with Yanukovich's supporters.

Weeks of horse trading are expected as Yanukovich's Regions Party works to form its own coalition and, later, a new government.

The various parliamentary factions have 30 days to form the new coalition and 60 days to form a new government.

If this proves impossible, Yanukovich has the right to call a new parliamentary election -- a scenario feared by investors because it would prolong uncertainty for months as crisis-hit Ukraine continues to struggle without foreign lending.

Source: Kyiv Post