9 Oct 2008

Snap election called in Ukraine

4:47 pm on 9 October 2008

President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine has dissolved parliament weeks after the collapse of the ruling pro-Western coalition.

It is Ukraine's third general election in less than three years.

The coalition collapsed after Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko backed a move to reduce the president's powers.

In a pre-recorded speech, Mr Yushchenko blamed the collapse on her "thirst for power".

Many analysts believe Ms Tymoshenko will stand for president in 2010.

Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Yushchenko were allies during the 2004 "Orange Revolution" which swept pro-Western forces to power after a discredited presidential election.

The president did not set a date for the new election.

Mr Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party pulled out of the coalition on 3 September after the Tymoshenko bloc sided with the pro-Moscow opposition Party of Regions to pass several laws Mr Yushchenko saw as a threat to his presidential powers.

The coalition was officially dissolved on 16 September when the parties had 30 days to form a new government.