Ukraine Prime Minister Yatsenyuk resigns over coalition break-up

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (left) and Defence Minister Mykhaylo Koval arrive for a National Security and Defence Council sitting in Kiev on June 16, 2014. Mr Yatsenyuk on Thursday resigned in protest at the disbanding of the ruli
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (left) and Defence Minister Mykhaylo Koval arrive for a National Security and Defence Council sitting in Kiev on June 16, 2014. Mr Yatsenyuk on Thursday resigned in protest at the disbanding of the ruling parliamentary coalition. -- PHOTO: AFP 

KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Thursday resigned in a shock move in protest at the disbanding of the ruling parliamentary coalition, plunging the strife-torn nation into political uncertainty.

"I announce my resignation in connection with the dissolution of the parliamentary coalition and the blocking of government initiatives," a furious Mr Yatsenyuk told parliament.

Mr Yatsenyuk said the "government and the prime minister must resign" after the withdrawal of several parties triggered the break up of the European Choice parliamentary majority in a move that paved the way for long-awaited early legislative elections.

Parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov called on deputies to put forward immediately a candidate for a temporary premier "until parliamentary elections are held."

Early parliamentary elections in Ukraine have been expected since the February ouster of Kremlin-backed leader Viktor Yanukovych following months of deadly protests.

The formal dissolution of the majority coalition in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada gives President Petro Poroshenko the right over the next month to announce a fresh parliamentary poll.

Mr Poroshenko had pledged though that the possibility of upcoming elections would not paralyse the work of parliament at a time when Kiev is struggling to end a bloody separatist insurrection tearing apart the east of the country.