Yuriy Yekhanurov faced an uphill battle Tuesday to collect the votes he needs in parliament, which is to take up his candidacy to head the Ukrainian government.
Acting Prime Minister Yekhanurov needs 226 votes in the 450-member parliament. As of early Tuesday, he still had only 199 promised.
President Viktor Yushchenko, who picked Yekhanurov to replace his dismissed Orange Revolution ally, Yulia Tymoshenko, met with a series of faction leaders late Monday in a last-ditch bid to win their support.
Tymoshenko, who has moved into opposition since her government was sacked on Sept. 8 and whose party is a key driver of the campaign to defeat Yekhanurov, held competing rounds of talks.
Failure to approve Yekhanurov's candidacy would prolong the political crisis gripping this ex-Soviet republic and represent a major defeat for the president's efforts to show that he has the political situation under control.
Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, who backs Yushchenko, has said he will hold the vote by roll-call and he has urged the lawmakers to approve Yekhanurov.
The Russian-born Yekhanurov is generally considered a neutral candidate, but many believe he will lead only a temporary government that will be in place until the March parliamentary elections.
Many opposition parties have said they will refuse to vote for him on principle. Viktor Yanukovych's Party of the Regions, the second biggest faction in parliament with 52 lawmakers, rejected Yushchenko's appeals and declared again that it would abstain. Yushchenko met with Yanukovych on Monday for the first time since last year's bitter presidential election; Yanukovych also held talks with Tymoshenko.
The Communists, which have 56 lawmakers, also said they won't support Yekhanurov, reports the AP.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18