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Prez seeks to prevent pro-Russian govt
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, July 8 – President Viktor Yushchenko on Saturday stepped up pressure on Parliament apparently seeking to prevent creation of a hostile pro-Russian coalition that had been emerging in the legislature.

Yushchenko said he wouldn’t submit a prime minister candidacy for approval by Parliament, a formal move required by law, unless lawmakers unblock the work of the Constitutional Court.

The demand, coupled with Yushchenko’s warning on Friday that lawmakers now have only three weeks to form the government or face dismissal, puts mounting pressure on parties to work closely with the president.

The developments come after the Regions Party, the Socialist Party and the Communist Party have declared the creation of the pro-Russian coalition that has pledged to challenge Yushchenko’s pro-Western policy.

The coalition, after electing Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz as the speaker of Parliament, on Friday pledged to nominate Regions Party leader Viktor Yanukovych as the prime minister.

Yushchenko’s pressure on lawmakers to unblock the work of the Constitutional Court, which has been out of operation for about nine months, focuses on a very sensitive issue.

Regions Party and Socialists have been persistently refusing to restart the court amid concerns that Yushchenko may seek to cancel amendments to the constitution that had dramatically reduced his powers on Jan. 1.

The controversial amendments were pushed through by then-President Leonid Kuchma in December 2004 as a compromise to allow the fair re-run of the vote that had eventually allowed Yushchenko to win the presidency.

Yushchenko’s pressure on lawmakers to allow judges assume their duties at the Constitutional Court suggests the president will probably do seek to cancel the amendments, analysts said.

Should the amendments be cancelled, Yushchenko would automatically obtain the right to dismiss the prime minister and to appoint ministers without Parliament’s approval, a scenario that the Regions Party and the Socialists would seek to avoid.

The likely standoff between the parties and the president over the Constitutional Court (and the resulting refusal by Yushchenko to formally nominate Yanukovych as the prime minister) would still put pressure on lawmakers.

The standoff may lead to a situation when the parties miss the July 26 deadline while forming the government thus giving the president the right to dismiss Parliament and to call an early election.

Although Regions Party may still perform well at the election, the vote may badly hurt the Socialist Party, which has stunned its voters last week by switching sides to join the pro-Russian camp.

But even the Regions Party would probably not be happy about the early election as the move would hurt the party’s financial sponsors thus increasing the sense of discontent within the group.

“Only three weeks are left to form the government,” Yushchenko said in a radio address to the nation on Saturday. “The coalition must submit to the president a prime minister candidacy for review. But, I will submit it to Parliament only when the operation of the Constitutional Court is resumed.”

“Today, my position remains unchanged,” Yushchenko said. “There will be no revenge by Kuchmism. The country will continue to move towards the European Union and domestic and foreign policy course will remain unchanged.” (tl/ez)




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