Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Coalition rules eased in Ukraine

Viktory Yanukovych during the inauguration ceremony in Kiev
Viktor Yanukovych has been trying to form a coalition in recent days

Ukraine's parliament has approved a measure to ease coalition building, as President Viktor Yanukovych tries to form a governing alliance.

Coalitions will now be able to recruit individual deputies, where before they could only recruit parliamentary blocs.

The move could enable Mr Yanukovych's party to align with defectors from his rivals, including PM Yulia Tymoshenko.

Mr Yanukovych has been attempting to pull together a coalition since winning presidential elections last month.

Meanwhile, Mrs Tymoshenko, whose governing coalition collapsed last week, called on supporters to unite against Mr Yanukovych.

"I ask you, from now on, to give a commitment to one another to strongly oppose everything anti-Ukrainian," she told a rally in Kiev.

Mrs Tymoshenko is a former leader of the pro-Western Orange Revolution, while Mr Yanukovych is seen as closer to Russia.

Mrs Tymoshenko has repeatedly accused the new president of anti-Ukrainian policies.

Ukraine's parliament passed a motion of no-confidence in Mrs Tymoshenko's government last week, after the prime minister had resisted pressure to quit.

The vote means her government must resign.

If Mr Yanukovych fails to form a coalition, the country will face snap parliamentary elections.

A three-way rivalry between Mrs Tymoshenko, Mr Yanukovych and former President Viktor Yushchenko has left Ukraine in political deadlock for several years, undermining its ability to deal with a severe economic crisis.

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