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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT GATHERS POLITICAL LEADERS FOR ROUNDTABLE... President Viktor Yushchenko will meet parliamentary leaders at roundtable talks in the Presidential Secretariat office in Kyiv at 4 p.m., local time, on July 27, Ukrainian media reported the same day. "The goal of the roundtable is to consolidate state institutions, leading political forces, and civic activists around national priorities," the presidential press service announced, adding that the talks will aim to resolve the current parliamentary crisis over the formation of a new government in a "non-confrontational way." The talks are to be attended by parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz, caretaker Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, the leaders of all parliamentary caucuses (Roman Bezsmertnyy, Petro Symonenko, Yuliya Tymoshenko, Viktor Yanukovych, and Vasyl Tsushko), and "civic leaders." The talks will be televised live by two channels. JM
...BUT KEEPS COUNTRY IN SUSPENSE OVER POSSIBLE DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT. Speaking to journalists in Kyiv on July 26, President Yushchenko reiterated his earlier stance that he will decide whether to endorse Viktor Yanukovych as prime minister and forward his name to parliament within the 15 days of receipt of his candidacy, Ukrainian media reported. The coalition of the Party of Regions, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party submitted Yanukovych as its candidate for the post on July 18, meaning a decision is expected by August 2. Yushchenko said that there are essentially two options for overcoming the current political impasse in Ukraine: to form a "different" parliamentary coalition or to disband the Verkhovna Rada. "I do not rule out this option [of dissolving parliament]. I don't. I just want to say that I'm certain that it may cause additional confrontation in society and among political forces. However, as an answer, [this option] can exist," Yushchenko added. Yushchenko has the right to dissolve the current parliament over its inability to form a new government within the constitutionally prescribed term of 60 days following its inaugural session, which took place on May 25. JM