January 10, 2006

Ukraine’s MPs fire government

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament voted on Tuesday to
sack Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov's government over a
controversial gas deal with Russia.

A no-confidence motion was backed by 250 deputies in the
450-seat parliament, angry over the deal with Moscow which will
force Ukraine to pay nearly twice as much for its gas imports
this year.

Yekhanurov will remain as acting prime minister until
President Viktor Yushchenko names a new premier. Ukraine is due
to hold a parliamentary election in March.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, sacked by
Yushchenko last September after the partnership that swept them
to power in Ukraine's Orange Revolution turned sour, was the
driving force behind the no-confidence vote.

Tymoshenko is competing against Yushchenko's allies in the
March 26 parliamentary polls, and has seized every opportunity
to criticize the government of technocrat Yekhanurov which
replaced her.

She has vowed to fight the five-year gas deal signed by
Moscow and Kiev last Thursday after a dispute which peaked over
the New Year when Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom cut supplies to
its ex-Soviet neighbor for two days.

Tymoshenko joined forces with opposition parties
representing the pro-Moscow administration ousted at the end of
2004 in the binding no-confidence vote, which required a simple