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Tymoshenko yet to take the helm

Yulia Tymoshenko, failed to win backing from the Ukrainian parliament to restore her as prime minister yesterday, plunging the ex-Soviet state into new political uncertainty.

Tymoshenko was backed by 225 votes, one short of a majority in the 450-seat assembly. Her allies complained of technical problems and speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk called a new vote on returning the motion on her nomination.

That, however, also failed to carry and parliament went into recess in disarray.

Tymoshenko, sporting her trademark peasant braid, and President Viktor Yushchenko, who had proposed her, both appeared distraught at the outcome.

Tymoshenko, 47, was formally put forward for the job after two orange parties won enough seats in a September election to form a wafer-thin coalition majority. That election was called to end three years up political upheaval unleashed by the "Orange Revolution" which sharply divided the country of 47 million.

The two "orange" parties in the coalition - the Tymoshenko bloc and the president's Our Ukraine party - can normally command 227 votes. Tymoshenko's allies immediately sought redress and a new vote.

"The conciliation council (of parliament) will meet and find a way out of this situation," said Andriy Shevchenko, one of her lieutenants. "We have 227 votes and everyone knows that."

But the Regions Party of the president's arch rival, Viktor Yanukovich, said the vote showed the "orange" team was unstable. It renewed calls for a "broad coalition" in which its members would join forces with the president's allies.

"A coalition built on an advantage of two votes is no coalition," said Anna Herman, senior member of the largest group in parliament, the Regions Party.

"Shame and mockery will be brought upon them every day if they fail to understand that we need a broad coalition in parliament."

Katya Malofeeva of Renaissance Capital, said the outcome could leave Ukraine without a government for some time.

"I actually expected this to happen, full support was very doubtful," she said.

"It's definitely a strong sign that she needs to negotiate further. She would have to give up her ambitions for all the economic positions in government ... We may not see a new government by the end of this year, beginning of next." (China Daily)