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Ukraine Ruling Coalition Seen As Nearing Collapse

Yushchenko and Tymoshenko are at odds on all aspects of policy
KYIV -- Some members of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine have said the party would quit the governing coalition, raising the prospect of snap elections barely nine months after the government was formed.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose bloc is the other party in the coalition, has been at odds with Yushchenko over practically all policies from the moment she took office.

Speculation has abounded that either Tymoshenko's or Yushchenko's party could join forces with the Party of Regions of former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

All three are almost certain to run in the presidential election in about 16 months, and analysts have seen the arguments between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko as political maneuvering ahead of the poll.

Several Our Ukraine members told radio stations they had agreed that the party would leave the coalition, but the party itself has made no official announcement.

The two parties have 10 days to sort out their differences and revive the coalition. If they do not, the constitution gives parliament 30 days to create a new coalition.

If that does not happen, the president has the right to call a new election.

Analysts have said, and polls have shown, that in the event of an election now, Our Ukraine would lose seats, while both the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and the Party of Regions would gain.

Some Our Ukraine members accused the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc of wanting to join the Party of Regions, but the bloc said on its website that it saw "no other coalition but the democratic coalition," referring to the alliance of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine.

"I am 98 percent certain there will be no [new] formal coalition," said Vladimir Fesenko, political analyst and director of the Penta think tank. "This would be comfortable for neither Tymoshenko nor Yanukovich. For Tymoshenko's Bloc, whose leader is going for the presidential election, a union with Yanukovich would be a huge electoral risk," he said.