Ukraine's pro-Western government on brink of collapse

Anya Tsukanova
AFP
Tuesday, Sept 3, 2008

The party of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko decided to quit the pro-Western governing coalition on Wednesday, plunging Ukraine into a new political crisis as relations with Russia worsened.

Leaders of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party were due to announce their decision officially to parliament at around 0700 GMT and were expected to hold talks with the president starting from 0900 GMT.

The decision would come into force in 10 days if maintained. It was approved by a narrow majority of 39 out of the party's 72 deputies in the parliament, Ukrainian media reported, citing officials.

The move came in response to the adoption on Tuesday of a series of laws that would weaken the powers of the president, laws initiated by the pro-Russian opposition in league with the Tymoshenko Bloc.

The Tymoshenko Bloc is headed by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is sharply at odds with the president, despite broadly sharing his pro-Western political goals.

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