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Prez takes one week to decide on crisis
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, July 25 – President Viktor Yushchenko will take time until Aug. 2 to decide on ways of resolving Ukraine’s sharp political crisis, including a possible action to dismiss Parliament, officials said Tuesday.

The development suggests the president has given the pro-Russian coalition in Parliament one week to decide on whether to accept a compromise over the future government or face the dismissal.

“Yushchenko has been considering” the solution, Mykola Poludionniy, the president’s top legal adviser, said at a press conference. “He’s got time until Aug. 2.”

The comment allays fears within the pro-Russian coalition that Yushchenko would dismiss Parliament as soon as this week following months of unsuccessful talks among parties to form the government.

Yushchenko on Tuesday obtained the power to dismiss Parliament as political parties had failed to form the new government 60 days since the government of Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov had resigned.

Oleksandr Moroz, the speaker of Parliament and the leader of the Socialist Party, a junior partner in the pro-Russian coalition, warned Yushchenko on Monday against the plans for the dismissal. He said lawmakers would not obey the decree, a move that would challenge the constitution.

But Yushchenko is apparently determined to enforce a decree. “Yushchenko will sign the decree once he feels that talks between the coalition and opposition are in a deadlock,” Poludionniy said. “Once the decree is printed, [current] Parliament will disappear from the political map.”

The pro-Russian coalition, which includes the Regions Party, the Socialist Party and the Communist Party, controls 239 seats in the 450-seat Parliament. The coalition was created two weeks ago and recently nominated Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Regions party, as the prime minister.

But Yushchenko, who has to formally sign the nomination before Parliament votes to approve it, has been refusing to accept the candidature amid concerns the figure would split Ukraine.

“The figure of the prime minister must consolidate the nation,” Poludionniy said. “Yanukovych is supported by roughly 40% of people, while 50% reject the candidature. Do you think this figure would unite or split the nation?”

Yanukovych has been seeking to meet Yushchenko Tuesday, but the president had apparently refused to receive the candidate, according to people familiar with the situation.

The development suggests that the pro-Russian coalition has been refusing to replace Yanukovych with any other figure, indicating that Parliament has been drifting towards the dissolution.

By the constitution, the president has 15 days to sign the nomination and submit it to Parliament for approval. The 15-day term expires on Aug. 2.

Besides replacing Yanukovych, Yushchenko has been apparently also insisting on expelling the Communist Party from the coalition. The Communists have been vehemently opposing Ukraine’s steps to join NATO in 2008 and to have closer ties with the European Union, while both are Yushchenko’s top priorities in his pro-Western foreign policy. (tl/ez)




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