Tymoshenko Officially Steps Down Following Parliament Vote

The Ukrainian parliament ousted the government of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in a no-confidence vote on Wednesday, dealing a final blow to the leadership of the pro-Western Orange Revolution and leaving her to lead the opposition in parliament.

The vote followed weeks of shifting alliances in the parliament after the pro-Western Tymoshenko lost her bid for the presidency to Kremlin-friendly Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych has moved quickly to consolidate power, and secured a major victory as the no-confidence resolution passed with 243 votes in the 450-seat chamber, The Associated Press reports.

Tymoshenko lost the February 7 presidential runoff vote, securing 3.5% less than her bitter rival Yanukovych, who was sworn in as president on February 25.

Tymoshenko, a flamboyant and colorful politician, was born in Dnepropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine in 1960, and became a fearless, but not pragmatic political fighter.

Tymoshenko was a businesswoman in the 1980s, engaged in video clubs in the dying years of the Soviet Union.

In the early 1990s, she became the head of a gasoline company and in 1995 president of Ukraine's Unified Energy System corporation, a key importer of Russian natural gas to Ukraine in 1996, and was immediately dubbed "a gas princess," RIA Novosti informs.

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