Ukraine Radical Party Quits Ruling Coalition After Deadly Clash

Ukraine’s Radical Party quit the ruling coalition following a vote on constitutional changes aimed at giving more autonomy to areas held by pro-Russian seperatists triggered deadly clashes outside parliament.

The Radical Party’s departure reduced the government’s majority in parliament by 21 seats to 281, leaving the remaining four factions short of the 300 two-thirds majority needed to approve constitutional amendments. Radical Party member Valeriy Voshchevskyi also resigned from his post as deputy prime minister.

The rupture follows the preliminary approval on Monday of the amendments on devolving power to Ukraine’s easternmost regions. While the legislation was agreed by Ukraine as part of a February truce brokered by Russia, Germany and France, the vote prompted clashes between protesters and police that killed three officers dead and 122 people injured.

“This decision is very difficult and unpleasant for us,” Radical leader Oleh Lyashko said in a statement on the party’s website. The Radical Party “can’t stay in the coalition after anti-Ukrainian changes to the constitution, initiated by the president, were approved against the will of three parties of the coalition.”

The final vote on the changes is planned for December and will need 300 votes to pass. The government can push the amendments through with the help of the opposition. But any further fracturing can hurt those chances and endanger the shaky cease-fire, said Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Kiev-based research institute Penta.

“The coalition still has more than 226 votes” needed for a simple majority, Fesenko said by phone. “But if other members, including Samopomich and Yulia Tymoshenko’s Block, follow them, there will be a serious problem.”

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