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Moroz comes out against Sept. 30 election
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, June 18 - Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Moroz, a key member of the pro-government coalition, on Monday vowed to "take all political and legal steps" to derail the early Sept. 30 election that had been agreed between President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Moroz, whose Socialist Party has been dramatically losing voter support, has previously used cautious wording about the prospects for holding the election. But his latest statement shows he has been now openly working to undermine the political deal.

The Socialist Party's top policy body met Saturday to approve a resolution that calls for "taking all political and legal measures for preventing the unnecessary election," Moroz, a signator to the election deal, said Monday.

"I am saying quite frankly that I am categorically against holding the election. I am not hiding this from anybody," Moroz said. "This is an adventure that will cost the country dearly."

In the deal two weeks ago, Yushchenko and Yanukovych agreed that Parliament would be dismissed after 151 opposition lawmakers quit the 450-seat body.

The election that would follow on Sept. 30 was intended by Yushchenko to solve a crisis that at one point last month led to a clash between forces loyal to him and to Yanukovych, the prime minister, seen as more pro-Russian in his foreign policy orientation.

Yanukovych has been making often contradictory statements over the possibility of the election: from approving the date of the vote to questioning the entire idea.

But on Monday there were signs of an emerging split between coalition members over the election with Raisa Bohatyriova, a senior member of Yanukovych's Regions Party, strongly suggesting the election must take place.

"We are all doomed to accept" Yushchenko's decree scheduling the election on Sept. 30, she told Profil magazine. "The decree will continue to be in effect. The government has been already disbursing money to finance the campaign."

Bohatyriova is thought to be an ally of Rinat Akhmetov, the wealthiest Ukrainian, who controls a major group in the Regions Party.

Analysts said that the political instability in Ukraine has been affecting Akhmetov's plans to launch an IPO for its steel and mining company Metinvest.

Metinvest, which was estimated to be worth up to $15 billion, has been borrowing major funds internationally this year to finance modernization; the instability may have been preventing the company from getting cheaper funding, analysts said. (tl/ez)




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