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Tensions build up amid dismissal rumors
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, March 28 – Tensions between political groups have been building up on Wednesday amid speculations that President Viktor Yushchenko has been preparing to sign a decree to dismiss Parliament.

The pro-government coalition will hold an emergency meeting in Parliament on Thursday, while opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has cut short her visit to France returning to Ukraine one day earlier than planned.

The developments come as three opposition groups, Our Ukraine, the bloc led by Tymoshenko and the group led by former Internal Affairs Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, scheduled a massive anti-government rally in Kiev Saturday.

The tensions have been building up amid speculations that Yushchenko may soon sign the decree to dismiss Parliament and to call early election.

Viktor Baloha, Yushchenko’s chief of staff, said Wednesday the president has been considering all options on the resolution of the political crisis, including the dismissal of Parliament.

“The head of state is seeking a decision that would stop destructive impact of political crisis on functioning of power in Ukraine,” Viktor Baloha, Yushchenko’s chief of staff, said. “Should the president, as the guarantor of the constitution, take the decision [on the dismissal], the chief of staff will immediately prepare such a decree.”

The comments were issued shortly after a meeting between Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych suggesting that both had failed to find a solution to the political crisis, analysts said.

Yushchenko warned the government on Tuesday that he may dismiss Parliament should the coalition continue to put pressure on opposition lawmakers seeking to encourage them to join the coalition.

Yanukovych has been persistently trying to create the constitutional majority of 300 lawmakers in the 450-seat Parliament by May 1. Such majority would be able to override vetoes from the president and to approve any changes to the constitution, even to cancel the post of the president.

Yanukovych, after the meeting with Yushchenko, indicated the practice will probably continue. “This issue is debatable,” Yanukovych said.

Meanwhile, the opposition groups have scheduled the massive rally on Saturday to put pressure on the government, a development that would probably deepen the crisis.

“We have information that political groups have been preparing to extremely adventurous political actions in the near future, on Saturday and Sunday,” Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk said Wednesday.

“No matter how many people will Our Ukraine recruit, this will not change the position of the government,” Tabachnyk said. “The intimidation will not yield any results.” (tl/ez)

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