Ukrainian Coalition Loses Majority

KIEV -- The coalition underpinning Ukraine's government lost its majority in the parliament on Friday, plunging the country into fresh uncertainty.

But under the constitution there was no immediate danger of collapse for the government of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is increasingly at odds with President Viktor Yushchenko.

The coalition, made up of Tymoshenko's bloc and the pro-presidential Our Ukraine party, had clung to a majority of a single vote in the 450-seat chamber since its creation in November. With the defections, it holds only 225 seats.

The coalition's two groups have two weeks to regroup, after which the parliament has a further 30 days to form a new coalition.

Yushchenko, holding talks in Russia with President Dmitry Medvedev, said the defections in no way implied an end to the coalition's existence.