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President may take steps to ensure vote
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, May 10 – President Viktor Yushchenko warned government coalition parties on Thursday that their newly emerged opposition to early election plan would force him to take emergency steps to ensure proper financing for the poll.

Yushchenko said he will call an emergency meeting of the National Security and Defense Council soon to approve crucial decisions that would overcome the government’s opposition to the election.

“I will have to call the emergency meeting [of the council] and to approve the decisions that would finally give answers to questions,” Yushchenko told coalition and opposition parties at a meeting.

Senior members of coalition and opposition parties have been holding daily meetings for the past six days to try to agree on a compromise for ending two-month political crisis in Ukraine.

Yushchenko’s comments show the parties have failed to make significant progress at the talks despite earlier assurances from Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who had last week publicly accepted the plan for early election.

Yanukovych was in Spain for the past six days for a knee surgery, according to a report by his Regions Party. He is expected to return back to Kiev on Friday.

At the talks, Communists and Socialists, two small pro-Russian coalition parties, insisted on amendments to the constitution that would effectively postpone the election for more than a year. The Regions Party has been seeking to postpone the election until the end of October.

These positions contrast with Yushchenko’s decree that had set the date for the election on June 24. Yushchenko indicated he was ready to postpone the election until July 8 as the latest to give parties more time for campaigning.

But the lack of progress at the talks suggests the parties may miss a deadline of May 14 for holding meetings in order to approve lists of candidates for the election.

Such failure would automatically exclude the party from the election; if all parties fail to do so, this would effectively undermine the presidential decree that had set the date for the election on June 24.

“If the May 14 deadline is missed, the decree will be undermined,” Yushchenko said. “The election is being undermined.”

The comments suggest that the developments may take extremely confrontational course in Ukraine unless political parties strike an agreement within days.

Yushchenko indicated that on Wednesday that he may accept the election even if the Regions Party and its allies, Socialists and Communists, refuse to participate.

“Speaking about the participation by political groups… I want to stress that the election will take place,” Yushchenko told reporters on Wednesday. “No one should have any doubts about that. Each day of the delay in the talks leads to compromise opportunities being lost.” (tl/ez)




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