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Moroz says law may be published Friday
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, Jan. 25 – The controversial law reducing powers of President Viktor Yushchenko may be officially published on Friday, Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Moroz said Thursday.

The law, whose legality is questioned by Yushchenko, must be published by Parliament’s and the government’s official newspapers in order to take effect.

Its implementation may trigger the constitutional crisis in Ukraine when the president and the government may claim the same powers.

“I think [it will be published] no later than tomorrow,” Moroz said in an interview with Radio Liberty late Thursday.

Moroz’s comment shows that the pro-government coalition has failed to find a compromise with the president over the law, suggesting that things begin to develop in a confrontation scenario.

The law, among other things, allows the coalition to nominate foreign and defense ministers, a controversial clause that challenges constitutional rights of the president.

This may lead to a situation when the pro-Russian coalition moves to replace pro-Western Foreign Minister Boris Tarasiuk, a development that may change Ukraine’s foreign policy towards a closer cooperation with Russia.

Yushchenko vetoed the law earlier this month citing a slight difference in the text compared with the previous law that had been vetoed by the president in December 2006. The difference means that lawmakers have technically failed to override Yushchenko’s veto.

The law essentially changes the constitution by making Ukraine a parliamentary republic in which all key appointments are made by the pro-government coalition.

Ukraine’s current constitution defines the country as a parliamentary-presidential republic in which the president nominates foreign and defense ministers and is responsible for security and defense policies.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who is set to gain most from the law taking effect, on Thursday insisted that it must be published if the president fails to sign it.

“The speaker of Parliament has the right and obligation to sign the law if it is not signed by the president,” Yanukovych said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Arseniy Yasteniuk, the first deputy chief of staff at the presidential administration, said Wednesday the president would appeal to the Constitutional Court if the coalition tries to put the into effect. (tl/ez)

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