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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PREMIER WANTS TO WAIT FOR COURT RULING ON EARLY POLLS. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said at a cabinet meeting in Kyiv on May 16 that later the same day he is scheduled to meet with President Viktor Yushchenko to discuss "issues related to overcoming the political crisis," Ukrainian media reported. Yanukovych and Yushchenko are expected to view documents prepared by the anticrisis working group they created to prepare for early parliamentary elections. First Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov suggested last week that Yanukovych and Yushchenko could even agree on the date of early polls at the May 16 meeting (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 14, 2007). However, Yanukovych signaled at the cabinet meeting that his decision on early elections will depend on the Constitutional Court's ruling regarding Yushchenko's decrees of April 2 and April 26, in which the president dissolved the Verkhovna Rada and called for early elections. "We will wait for the decision of the Constitutional Court, but we have preliminarily agreed that, regardless of whether the elections will take place or not, we need to adopt all necessary documents to hold them, thus preparing the legislative groundwork for pre-term polls," Yanukovych said. He also confirmed media reports from May 15 saying that a district court in Donetsk ruled to suspend Yushchenko's decrees dismissing two Constitutional Court judges, Syuzanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenichnyy (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 2, 2007). Yanukovych said Stanik and Pshenichnyy have resumed their work in the Constitutional Court. JM

UKRAINE'S ANTICRISIS GROUP FAILS TO OVERCOME 'SERIOUS DIVERGENCE OF POSITIONS.' Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko told journalists on May 15 that the working group created by President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yanukovych to prepare proposals for early elections has completed its mission, Ukrainian media reported. According to Symonenko, the group failed to reach a compromise on some issues, and he noted a "serious divergence of positions" on several of them. In particular, Symonenko mentioned the lack of agreement on introducing amendments to the law on the rights and responsibilities of parliamentary deputies, and compiling a nationwide register of voters. Presidential Secretariat deputy head Ivan Vasyunyk on May 15 blamed the failure to reach agreement on early polls on the "destructive position" of the Communist Party, which, he said, intended "to disrupt the electoral process from the very beginning." Vasyunyk added that the draft bills proposed by the working group, "in the form of a coordinated resolution and a list of divergent positions," will be forwarded to Yushchenko and Yanukovych for examination. Vasyunyk did not rule out the possibility that the Party of Regions, Our Ukraine, and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc could endorse the prepared legislation without approval from the Communists and the Socialists. JM