Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister, said she saw this as the only possible response from her 19-member faction to the failure to dismiss the government of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk – a one-time political ally who split from Tymoshenko’s party to form his own one.

Ukraine’s parliament failed on Feb. 16 to get enough votes to dismiss Yatsenyuk and his Cabinet of Ministers.

A petition calling for a vote of no-confidence in the government attracted 159 signatures from lawmakers, and a total of 194 deputies voted to dismiss Yatsenyuk. But 226 votes are needed for a vote to pass in parliament.

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Announcing her faction’s withdrawal from the coalition, Tymoshenko slammed the current grouping and made an oblique call for early elections.

“We have to admit that a pro-European democratic coalition has never existed in parliament,” she said after making her announcement to journalists in the lobby of parliament. “There always was a backstage, shady coalition.”

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She said it was up to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to find the way out of the crisis, and early elections would be “the most effective weapon” in battling the “oligarchist agreement” inside the parliament.

Tymoshenko’s faction decided not to attend the parliament session on Feb. 17, as did the 26-member Samopomich Party, the other junior member of the four-party coalition.

Samopomich issued an official statement on its Facebook page condemning the president, government, and fellow members of the coalition.

“A cynical coup has occurred in Ukraine, with the help of the president, the prime minister, the kleptocratic part of the coalition, and the oligarch bloc,” the statement reads. “All the rules were ignored. The president, prime minister and kleptocrats have lost their sense of reality.”

As a result, Samopomich said, Ukraine now has an “illegitimate government,” whose work was branded “unsatisfactory” in a vote taken after Yatsenyuk presented the government’s annual report, but who would stay in power. The chance to obtain proper public administration has been missed, and parliament has totally lost control of the government, Samopomich party leaders said in their statement.

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Igor Lutsenko, a member of Batkivshchyna faction, told reporters in parliament on Feb. 17 that the Samopomich Party “will think about leaving governing coalition at least until 1 p.m.”

If Samopomich were to leave the coalition, the two remaining members, the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko and the People’s Front, would together have at most 221 votes – five short of the number needed to pass most legislation.

With the collapse of the majority coalition, parliament would have 30 days to form a new one, according to Ukraine’s Constitution. If a new coalition were not to be formed during this time frame, snap parliamentary elections would be announced.

Taras Berezovets, a political analyst and a head of the Berta Communications consulting company, commenting on Facebook just after Tymoshenko’s announcement, said the Batkivshchyna leader wants “a remake of the year 2007” when the country was plunged into deep political crisis after then-President Viktor Yushchenko, together with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Moroz, decided to hold early parliamentary elections.

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“Snap parliamentary elections… and Tymoshenko is prime minister again. She will have a chance of that,” Berezovets wrote.

Meanwhile, two lawmakers from the 136-member Bloc of Petro Poroshenko – Serhiy Kaplin and Oleksandr Suhonyako – announced during the Feb. 17 parliament session that they were leaving the governing coalition.

Kyiv Post staff writer Olena Goncharova can be reached at [email protected]

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