Lawmaker Anatoliy Kinakh announced the move and declared that the party accepted the legitimacy of the new, pro-Moscow parliamentary coalition.
"We welcome the announcement of an anti-crisis coalition [led by the Party of Regions] today in strict accordance with the constitution and [parliamentary] regulations," Kinakh said. "Proceeding from this fact, as of today the faction of the Our Ukraine political bloc is officially in a minority, that is in opposition."
Last week, the Party of Regions, led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, formed a new parliamentary coalition with the Socialist Party and the Communists.
Today, hundreds of rival protesters -- supporters and opponents of the new coalition -- gathered outside the parliament building. They are blocking off the street and shouting "shame" at each other as two lines of riot police separate them.
(AP, Reuters, ITAR-TASS)
Yushchenko supporters attend a rally in Kyiv on December 26-27, 2005
RETHINKING THE ORANGE: The March 26 elections are the first major national referendum on President Viktor Yushchenko and the ideals of the Orange Revolution that brought him to power in early 2005. Opinion polls in Ukraine indicate widespread dissatisfaction with developments in the country since Yushchenko took power. The results of the elections are expected to clarify whether Yushchenko will be able to step up the implementation of his reformist policies declared during the 2004 Orange Revolution or whether he will get mired even deeper in political wrangling with his opponents...(more)
Click on the image to view a photo gallery of some of the key players in the Ukrainian elections.