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MPs challenge Sept. 30 election in court
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, July 23 A new appeal from 46 lawmakers seeking to nullify President Viktor Yushchenkos decree scheduling the Sept. 30 snap election was submitted to the Constitutional Court on Monday, the court reported.

This is the third appeal filed by members of the pro-government coalition over the past five weeks seeking to cancel Yushchenkos decree. The first two were rejected by the court as not having been properly submitted.

The 18-member court is currently on a summer recess and is officially due to resume operation in early September.

This makes it increasingly unlikely that the court would convene for an emergency session any time soon to hear the appeal. Also, any such emergency session would have to be called by recently elected chairman of the court, Andriy Strizhak, who is thought to be loyal to Yushchenko.

I believe the Constitutional Court does not have any chance to deliberate on this appeal, Stepan Havrysh, a judge of the court appointed by Yushchenko, said. Havrysh will officially assume the post after being sworn in by Parliament, which is not expected until after the Sept. 30 election.

Havrysh also argued that should the court start deliberations on the appeal, it may undermine political stability in Ukraine that was attained following the deal between Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on the early election.

This would mean that the Constitutional Court is challenging the Ukrainian political stability, Havrysh said.

Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Moroz, the leader of the Socialist Party, has been openly challenging Yushchenko on the election.

Moroz, a signatory to the political agreement on the election, has been seeking to cancel the vote amid fears that his party would be eliminating from Parliament, analysts said.

The election of Strizhak, Yushchenkos loyalist, as the chairman of the court earlier this month suggested that Yushchenko has been recently winning the ground in the court.

Yushchenko, whose presidential powers were eroded from early 2006 by amendments to the constitution, had earlier losing ground at the Court, which appeared to be dominated by loyalists of the coalition.

However, the balance apparently tilted in favor of Yushchenko two months ago after he had sacked three controversial judges, including one that apparently received millions of US dollars worth of real estate in what may appear to be a showcase of corruption.

Maryna Stavniychuk, Yushchenkos representative to the Constitutional Court, said recent developments in the court suggest that it has been getting back on track for effective work.

The recent developments at the Constitutional Court show that this respectful institution has been leaving its problems behind, Stavniychuk said. (nr/ez)




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