Former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s party Wednesday quit Ukraine’s ruling pro-Western coalition after the government survived a no-confidence vote, accusing it of being a stooge of shadowy tycoons.
The fiery former 2004 pro-EU Orange Revolution co-leader’s Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party is the smallest of the four groups that comprised the ruling majority in Ukraine’s increasingly splintered chamber.
Fifteen of her party’s 19 lawmakers voted in favour of Prime Minister Viktor Yatsenyuk’s dismissal on Tuesday.
But deputies only mustered 194 of the 226 votes needed in the 450-seat parliament to force the government out.
“This morning, the Batkivshchyna party has made the only decision possible — to leave the coalition”, Tymoshenko wrote on Facebook.
She also called on other deputies “who care about the country” to follow suit.
“We must clearly state that the pro-European coalition in parliament never existed,” she added in a statement released by her party.
Tymoshenko further accused lawmakers comprising the ruling majority of following the orders of shady businessmen “who formed the government and ruled the country.”
Her decision may complicate the government’s ability to push through reforms sought by Ukraine’s Western allies and the International Monetary Fund before they release new disbursements of vital financial aid.
But deputies have previously often broken party ranks when it was time to enact important laws.
Tymoshenko served as prime minister in 2005 and then again between 2007 and 2010 under former pro-Western president Viktor Yushchenko.
She lost a bruising presidential election to her Russian-backed rival Viktor Yanukovych in 2010 and was subsequently jailed for nearly three years on disputed corruption charges.
Tymoshenko won her freedom during Ukraine’s historic February 2014 pro-Western revolution that toppled Yanukovych and forced him into self-imposed exile in Russia.
But she came in a distant second behind Petro Poroshenko in presidential polls held in May 2014.