Attempts to form a new governing coalition in Ukraine were derailed at the last minute on Wednesday by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Her Fatherland party raised new demands, including canceling a pension tax and rolling back energy price increases, after the two other parties in the prospective coalition thought they already had a deal.
President Petro Poroshenko’s Solidarity bloc and outgoing prime minister Arseniy Yatseniuk’s conservative People’s Front currently rule without partners. Under a restored coalition with Fatherland, Volodimir Groisman, the current speaker of parliament and an ally of Poroshenko’s, would have succeeded Yatseniuk as premier.
All three favor closer relations with Europe and the United States at the expense of Ukraine’s long-standing ties to Russia.
But Tymoshenko’s demand to restore energy subsidies would go back on a key reform Ukraine has enacted to qualify for financial support from the International Monetary Fund.
Her Fatherland is the smallest party in parliament, but its 19 lawmakers are needed to give Poroshenko’s and Yatseniuk’s factions a majority.
Without a deal, snap elections may be needed — something Poroshenko is keen to avoid as it may inflate support for populist parties while Ukraine is in the middle of making difficult economic and political reforms.