Ukraine parliament ousts Tymoshenko

KIEV: Ukraine’s parliament today passed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, forcing her and the cabinet to resign in a victory for new President Viktor Yanukovych.

A majority of 243 deputies voted for the no-confidence motion brought by the Regions Party, led by Yanukovich, who defeated Tymoshenko in presidential elections last month. A majority of at least 226 out of the 450 deputies in the Verkhovna Rada had been needed to back the no-confidence motion. Despite her election defeat, Tymoshenko had until now clung onto power.

Under Ukraine’s constitution, the government is now automatically required to resign although it can stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new government is appointed. The charismatic Tymoshenko, prime minister since December 2007, had vowed in front of parliament that she and her government would quit immediately if the motion were passed.

The speaker of parliament announced yesterday that Tymoshenko had lost her majority owing to post-election defections.

“The years of the Tymoshenko government will go down in history as those of a unique failure in all the areas of our lives,” top Regions Party official Mykola Azarov told the parliament during today’s debate.

Tymoshenko — who had alleged that Yanukovich’s election victory was marred by falsifications — warned in her address to parliament that the new president was a menace for Ukraine.