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Political deal in jeopardy as talks stumble
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, May 7 – A deal between Ukrainian political groups was on the verge of collapse on Monday after two small members of the pro-Russian government coalition had suddenly opposed a plan for early parliamentary election.

The Communist Party and the Socialist Party, whose support ratings have been hovering in a risk area, have suddenly voiced opposition to the plan despite an earlier agreement from the Regions Party.

“It’s clear that a conscious slowdown of the talks has been talking place,” Our Ukraine, President Viktor Yushchenko’s party, said in a statement. “It mainly comes from two political groups, the Communist and the Socialist parties.”

The development comes as a setback three days after Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych has indicated that his Regions Party had agreed to accept the early election plan suggested by Yushchenko.

Yushchenko and Yanukovych created a joint team that was supposed to agree on a set of bills that must be approved by Parliament before the election, but the talks show the process may again be delayed.

Yushchenko has agreed to suspend his decree dissolving legislature and thus letting Parliament approve the bills on Tuesday, but the failure suggest the talks will continue.

Yushchenko, who set the date for the early election on June 24, said on Monday that he would agree to postpone the vote until the middle of July as the latest.

“The best date for the vote would be within 60 days after the decision is approved,” Yushchenko said after meeting Yanukovych on Monday. “The most optimum term is the end of June or the middle of July.”

However, the Regions Party has been seeking to postpone the election at least until the middle of October, according to people familiar with the situation.

But Communist and Socialist parties on Monday insisted on approving amendments to the constitution as a condition for the election that would take up to two years. This would effectively derail Yushchenko’s plan for the early election this year, analysts said.

Oleksandr Turchynov, a senior member of the group led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the biggest opposition group, warned Monday that unless a major progress is reached at the talks, the early election will take on June 24.

“This has been set by the presidential decree,” Turchynov said. (tl/ez)




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