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UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO MEET ELECTION LAW DEADLINE AGAIN... The Verkhovna Rada on May 31 failed to pass a package of bills needed to hold early parliamentary polls on September 30, Ukrainian media reported. Lawmakers therefore missed the second deadline set for them by President Viktor Yushchenko, who suspended his April 27 decree on the dissolution of parliament for May 29-30 and subsequently prolonged the suspension for one more day (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 31, 2007). Instead, the Verkhovna Rada resolved to consider the election-related bills again on June 1. However, lawmakers on May 31 managed to pass 11 bills that were needed to meet the World Trade Organization's admission requirements. The adoption of this legislation was also covered by the deal on early elections that President Yushchenko struck with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz on May 27. JM
...AS PRESIDENT THREATENS TO HOLD EARLY POLLS IN 60 DAYS. President Yushchenko said during his official visit to Croatia on May 31 that if the Verkhovna Rada fails to adopt all the bills necessary for early polls before the midnight deadline, he will call for early elections 60 days after deputies from Our Ukraine and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) give up their parliamentary mandates, international and Ukrainian news agencies reported. The same day, 168 legislators from these two pro-presidential groups submitted their resignations to the Verkhovna Rada. To legalize this move, which will make the functioning of the Verkhovna Rada illegitimate, Our Ukraine and BYuT will need to hold conventions in order to formally approve the withdrawal of their lawmakers from parliament. Lawmakers of the ruling coalition gathered for a morning sitting on June 1, but did not start a debate since the opposition was absent. The presidential website (http://www.president.gov.ua) on June 1 published Yushchenko's decree prolonging the suspension of his dissolution decree for June 1. JM