KIEV, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's parliamentary speaker announced on Tuesday the collapse of the country's ruling pro-Western coalition, paving the way for possible early parliamentary elections. (VIDEO)
The coalition comprised blocs led by President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The two were allies in the 2004 "Orange Revolution," but have since drifted apart on a host of issues, including the recent armed conflict between Russia and Georgia.
"I am officially announcing the collapse of the coalition of democratic forces," Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the Supreme Rada.
The legislature now has 30 days to form a new coalition or face an early poll, the third since Yushchenko came to power.
The pro-presidential Our Ukraine withdrew from the coalition after Tymoshenko's bloc joined with the opposition Party of Regions, led by Russia-friendly Viktor Yanukovych, to approve legislation substantially cutting presidential powers. Yushchenko called the move a "constitutional coup."
Tymoshenko earlier blocked a parliamentary vote to condemn Russia's "aggression" in Georgia and resisted the president's attempts to impose restrictions on Russia's Black Sea Fleet, currently stationed in Ukraine's Sevastopol port, as "populist."
Yushchenko subsequently accused her of being a Kremlin agent.
Analysts have not ruled out that the current situation could be resolved by force. However,
Ukraine's Unian news agency quoted Tymoshenko as saying on Tuesday that she would never support an armed solution to the conflict.
"I will never take part in any armed escalation," she said.
A Ukrainian newspaper also quoted a source in the Tymoshenko bloc as saying the premier had ordered preparations for early elections. The source also said a new alliance with Yushchenko was highly unlikely.
Ukrainskaya Pravda also said, referring to the source, that the possibility of a coalition with Yanukovych had not been discussed.
Both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko are expected to run in presidential elections due for 2010.