Ukraine's parliament dismissed the government of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Mar. 3, handing arch rival President Victor Yanukovych the difficult task of stitching together a new ruling coalition.
Deputies passed a motion of no confidence in Tymoshenko's administration, with 243 voting in favour out of the 450 in the chamber.
The fall of the government came almost a month after Yanukovych defeated Tymoshenko in a bitter presidential run-off, a narrow victory that has yet to restore much-needed stability.
Yanukovych's Regions Party will now seek to form its own coalition within 30 days and a government within 60, or face a snap parliamentary election.
The president's party is currently the biggest bloc in the chamber with 171 seats but is well short of the required 226 majority.
Even if Yanukovych succeeds in stitching together a coalition, the fractious nature of Ukraine's parliament and the limited powers of the presidency mean that the country -- split between a Russia-leaning east and south and a Western-friendly west and centre -- could yet face more political instability.
The nation of 46 million people desperately needs strong government to tackle a debilitating economic crisis that saw GDP contract by 15 percent in 2009, and to restart talks with the International Monetary Fund on a $16.4 billion bailout package.
Senior Yanukovych lawmaker Oleksander Yefremov said there was "no need to rush" with forming a coalition.
"From my point of view, either this week or next we will complete the process of forming (a coalition)," he told reporters.
Wednesday's vote marked the death knell for the fractious coalition that emerged from the 2004 pro-Western Orange Revolution, when street protests overturned results of a rigged election that gave Yanukovych victory.
Though promising to work with the West, Yanukovych is expected to tilt the former Soviet republic back towards Russia, source of the gas sent through Ukraine to supply central and western Europe.
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