Parliament has elected the fiery Yulia Tymoshenko prime minister by the narrowest possible margin, in a striking political comeback likely to strengthen Ukraine's ties to the West and aggravate tensions with Russia.
Now the big question is whether the 47-year-old heroine of the 2004 Orange Revolution, which split the country between those who favor close ties to Moscow and those who seek greater integration with Europe, can hang onto her job.
Tuesday marked the second time Tymoshenko has won the prime minister's post: Her first stint ended after just seven months in office, when her Orange Revolution partner Viktor Yushchenko fired her amid bitter recriminations.
"Today's vote is a moment of truth for the democratic coalition," she told parliament before the vote.
Moscow openly endorsed the Orange Revolution's major foe, Viktor Yanukovych, in the 2004 presidential contest -- and the Kremlin has bitterly denounced the results as part of an effort by the West to weaken and surround Russia.
But Moscow reacted with soft words on Tuesday, welcoming the prospect of a Cabinet taking shape in Ukraine.
Tymoshenko outraged the Kremlin in April, when the US magazine Foreign Affairs published an article in which she urged Western nations to oppose Moscow's effort to restore control of its "lost empire."
More recently, she vowed to get rid of a company, half owned by Russia's state-owned Gazprom, that acts as a middleman in Russian natural gas sales to Ukraine.
She has called the sales arrangement "corrupt."
"There cannot be any mediators on the gas market," she said on Tuesday.
Tymoshenko received 226 votes -- the minimum required for confirmation by the 450-member parliament -- from deputies in her bloc and Yushchenko's party.
Tymoshenko took the oath of office clad in white and wearing her signature coif -- her blond hair braided and curled in a halo.
"I congratulate everybody who voted for the democratic forces, and those who did not -- we will make sure that we are their team too," Tymoshenko said, with a triumphant smile. "What we have to do now is show society high-quality results."
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