Ukraine parliament speaker: Old ruling coalition "practically dead"
The speaker of Ukraine's parliament said Tuesday the pro-Europe coalition that had controlled the country's legislature since 2006 had fallen apart, setting the stage for formation of a new government aligned with newly-elected President Viktor Yanukovych.
"I don't want to get into the legalities...but it is now an effective fact that the ruling coalition, such as it was, no longer exists," said Volodymyr Litvin, Ukraine's parliament speaker, during Tuesday morning debate aired by UT-1 television, dpa reported.
Litvin said the coalition is "dead for all practical purposes."
Litvin's comments came five days after Yanukovych, a pro-Russia politician, was inaugurated Ukraine's fourth president.
Yanukovych has called for the formation of a new ruling majority in parliament by mid-March, with its first task to sack the present government - run by his political opponent Yulia Tymoshenko - in a vote of no confidence.
The current ruling coalition, led by Tymoshenko's BYuT political party, was no longer functional, and its members had admitted that, Litvin said.
"We held inter-faction talks this morning, and the heads of all the leaders (of the four political parties in Tymoshenko's ruling coalition), admitted they no longer could form a majority (in parliament)," Litvin said.
Yanukovych's Regions Ukraine party is likely to ally with Communists and MPs loyal to Litvin, to form a new ruling majority in Ukraine's legislature, according to a Unian news agency web report.
Despite the practical failure of the present ruling majority, Regions and its allies had not yet formally declared themselves the new ruling coalition, Litvin said.
"One cannot yet say when this will happen," Litvin said.
In his election campaign, Yanukovych cited passage of a national budget and economic stimulation measures as top priorities for his administration once a Regions-led majority appoints a new government.