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PM angry at Yushchenko’s judge criticism
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, May 15 – Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s Regions Party on Tuesday reacted angrily to a criticism from the office of President Viktor Yushchenko of a local court judge that had recently suspended key presidential decrees.

The judge in one of Donetsk’s districts issued a controversial ruling suspending Yushchenko’s decrees that had two weeks ago dismissed two judges of the Constitutional Court.

The ruling de-facto allows Susanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenychniy, two Constitutional Court judges known for their anti-Yushchenko stance, to join deliberations over Yushchenko’s decree that had dismissed Parliament on April 26.

The developments show the Yanukovych camp has been accelerating a hidden legal war against the presidential office just as talks aimed at ending severe political crisis had been deadlocked.

The judge in the Kirov district of Donetsk, Yanukovych’s stronghold, ruled to suspend Yushchenko’s decrees that had been appealed by Oleksandr Zats, a lawmaker from the Regions Party.

“This is a gross violation,” Ihor Pukshyn, a legal advisor to the president, told Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday in comments over the ruling. “Zats is a lawmaker and his rights haven’t been breached.”

The ruling was kept in secret until Stanik and Psenychniy had apparently used it to join the deliberations. After the ruling has been verified and confirmed, Pukshyn has been apparently making phone calls for the judge warning that he will be fired, according to the Regions Party.

“Today we have learned that the Kirov district court in Donetsk has been put under psychological pressure from the presidential office for almost the entire day,” the Regions Party said in a statement late Tuesday. “By phone, Pukshyn threatened the judge with the dismissal,” the Regions Party said.

“The behavior like that can be defined as abuse of power,” the Regions Party said.

The attempts to re-instate Stanik and Pshenychniy suggest the Regions Party has been trying to win a favorable ruling at the Constitutional Court that may declare Yushchenko’s decree dismissing Parliament unconstitutional.

Such attempts question previous declarations by the Regions Party that they would accept early election, and may aggravate political crisis, analysts said. (tl/ez)




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