Ukraine's pro-Western coalition set to dissolve

Ukrainian parliament Speaker Arseny Yatsenyuk said Monday he expected the coalition to break up on Tuesday as a deadline to resolve differences expired. "Come with flowers, come with wreathes to the funeral of the democratic coalition," Yatsenyuk told journalists in Kiev, Interfax news agency reported.

The fallout between the West and Russia over last month's war in Georgia has imploded, leaving Ukraine's fragile ruling coalition deeply divided over its identity.

President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party pulled out of the ruling, pro-Western coalition with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc at the beginning of September.

The two pro-western reformers who swept to power in the 2004 Orange revolution have had many stops and starts, but the latest disagreement is pinned on formulating Kiev's approach to Moscow.

Tymoshenko has been dubbed a traitor by the president's administration after she refused to support his moves to punish Russia for its actions in Georgia by imposing restrictions on its Black Sea fleet, based in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol.

Tymoshenko said Yushchenko's angry sallies against Russia and headlong push toward NATO dangerously set Ukraine on a collision course with its giant neighbour.

The feud has been accentuated by the run-up to presidential elections in 2010 in which both politicians are prime candidates.

The party's 10-day deadline to save the coalition ran out Saturday, and a formal break-up is expected to be announced in parliament Tuesday.

Tymoshenko once again called for the coalition to endure on Monday, but in the event of a break-up, her bloc is expected to unite with the pro-Russian Regions Party.

Alternatively, if a new coalition is not formed within 30 days, new elections may be held.

[Source: Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Kiev and Moscow, 15Sep08]

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