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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, PREMIER AGREE ON EARLY PARLIAMENTARY POLLS... President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych told journalists in Kyiv on May 4 that they have agreed to hold early parliamentary elections, Ukrainian media reported. "In order to hold [elections] in a democratic and fair way, we have to go through all pre-election procedures," Yushchenko said. "The whole technological process has to be considered, which includes holding party conventions, registering party lists, setting up district commissions, printing campaign materials, and taking other steps necessary for the preparation of democratic elections. This may take up to 60 days," Yushchenko noted. Yanukovych said, "The main goal of our joint decision is to hold fair and democratic elections. What should be done for that? We will now give instructions to the working group, which will work out an algorithm of actions for members of parliament, actions that will help stabilize the situation in the country." An anticrisis working group established to prepare a "political compromise package" between the president, the prime minister, and parliament is expected to deliver the results of its work on May 7. Yushchenko suggested he may suspend his April 26 decree dissolving the Verkhovna Rada for a short time in order to give lawmakers the opportunity to pass legislation needed to start the election campaign. JM

...AND PREMIER CALLS ON PARLIAMENT TO SANCTION EARLY ELECTIONS... Prime Minister Yanukovych said in Kyiv on May 7 that the decision to hold early elections should be approved by the Verkhovna Rada, Interfax-Ukraine reported. "It is a political issue, it should be subject to a vote in parliament... It should be approved by all participants in the political process, primarily by political parties," Yanukovych noted. Yanukovych reiterated his earlier stance that President Yushchenko was not justified in dissolving the Verkhovna Rada. The prime minister emphasized that parliament should work "continuously" if early elections are to be held "within the legal framework." Yanukovych said the "algorithm" he proposed to Yushchenko on May 4 to solve the institutional crisis included the preparation of "all necessary laws" for holding new elections and a vote in parliament on the expediency of early polls. JM

...WHILE UKRAINIAN SPEAKER PROPOSES NEW COALITION INSTEAD OF SNAP VOTE. Parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz said in Kyiv on May 7 that instead of organizing new elections, Prime Minister Yanukovych's Party of Regions and the Our Ukraine party of President Yushchenko could create a new coalition government, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website,, reported. According to Moroz, fresh elections will produce "almost the same" Verkhovna Rada as those in March 2006. Moroz said his Socialist Party could quit the current ruling coalition with the Party of Regions and the Communist Party to make such a solution to the political standoff possible. In an apparently sarcastic comment, Moroz asserted that a "blue-orange" coalition could be "cheaper" as well as "more honest and comprehensible to voters" than early polls. "If [the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine] fail to agree straight away, one month after the termination of the [current] coalition the president will obtain the [legal] foundation for holding early elections in accordance with the constitution, without cheating. The head of state will have no say things that are inconsistent with the constitution and rights," Moroz added. JM