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Tymoshenko elected as Ukraine's PM

  • Story Highlights
  • The Ukraine's parliament elects Yulia Tymoshenko as nation's prime minister
  • She won 226 votes, the bare majority needed in the 450-member parliament
  • The 47-year-old Tymoshenko won support from President Viktor Yushchenko
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KIEV, Ukraine (CNN) -- Ukraine's parliament elected pro-Western former premier Yulia Tymoshenko as its new prime minister on Tuesday, the Ukrinform national news agency reported.

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Yulia Tymoshenko celebrates after becoming elected as the prime minister of the Ukraine.

Tymoshenko won the vote with the minimum number of 226 votes, Ukrinform said.

She had failed to win the election a week earlier after receiving only 225 votes, but the 450-member parliament then decided to change the voting procedure by rejecting the electronic system in favor of a show of hands.

However, the close result leaves her opposition -- led by pro-Russia former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych -- in a strong position to fight initiatives by the reformist coalition.

With her trademark blond braid crowning her head, Tymoshenko has been a recognizable figure in Ukrainian politics.

She appeared alongside then-candidate Victor Yushchenko during Ukraine's Orange Revolution in late 2004, protesting rigged elections which were later overturned.

When Yushchenko then became president, Tymoshenko was his ally in parliament and served as prime minister until September 2005, when Yushchenko fired her amid allegations of corruption.

The 47-year-old Tymoshenko then started an eponymous bloc in the Verkhovna Rada, or Ukrainian parliament, and patched up her differences with Yushchenko earlier this year.

On a visit to Washington in February, Tymoshenko spoke to congressional leaders and Vice President Dick Cheney about Ukraine's need for independence from Russia.

"It's an ongoing fight for Ukraine's strategic choice: either to become a European country on the path to democracy or to fall back into the post-Soviet sphere and step by step lose its political and energy independence," Tymoshenko told CNN at the time.

She said Russia was putting pressure on Ukraine over energy supplies, including a complete shut-off of gas supplies to Ukraine which affected the rest of Europe. She vowed not to let Russia treat Ukraine as its own territory, "like a little brother."

"The revolution was just the beginning," Tymoshenko told CNN. "It's still a fight and a very difficult job to give birth to real democracy in our country." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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