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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

THREE UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES FORM ELECTORAL BLOC. The Our Ukraine People's Union, the People's Self-Defense movement led by former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, and the Ukrainian Right Wing (Ukrayinska Pravytsya) have formed an electoral bloc for early parliamentary elections scheduled for September 30, Interfax reported on June 7. "The union, whose preliminary name is the Union of Democratic Forces, is a new, ambitious project of the united democrats seeking at least second place in the elections," Lutsenko said. He said the agreement between bloc members forbids creating a coalition with representatives of the current parliamentary majority. "The people want the democratic forces to work together and the decision to form the bloc meets their justified expectations," Our Ukraine leader Vyacheslav Kyrylenko said. AM

UKRAINIAN SOCIALISTS, COMMUNISTS BLAME PRESIDENT FOR DEEPENING CRISIS. The Socialist Party and the Communist Party on June 7 released a statement accusing Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko of blocking a peaceful solution to the ongoing political crisis, the "Ukrayinska pravda" website ( reported. According to the authors of the statement, Yushchenko's presidential decree scheduling early parliamentary elections for September 30 is based on the "statements of several pro-presidential parties," rather than on legal grounds. The joint statement questions in particular the legality of the resignations submitted by lawmakers of the Our Ukraine party. Yushchenko argues that those resignations render the Verkhovna Rada illegitimate. The statement argues that Our Ukraine comprises representatives of many political parties, and that all those parties must adopt a joint decision on members' resignations. The statement also accused Yushchenko of "exerting pressure on the Constitutional Court" and "usurping power," and stressed the need for international mediators to help resolve the political crisis. AM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT CONTINUES WORK, CLAIMS LEGITIMACY. The Verkhovna Rada on June 7 issued a statement to foreign diplomatic missions accredited in Ukraine, informing them that the current parliament is legitimate and continues to function, Interfax reported. President Yushchenko earlier argued that the Verkhovna Rada no longer has the authority to operate and maintain foreign relations (see "RFE/RL Newsline," June 7, 2007). "Parliament is working. Some [lawmakers] are not taking part in the session, but it does not mean that parliament cannot function in accordance with the constitution," Verkhovna Rada speaker Oleksandr Moroz said when opening the session. Moroz referred to the Constitutional Court requirement that at least 226 deputies must be registered at any parliamentary session in order to hold debates on legislation. A total of 264 lawmakers were present at the latest session, Moroz said. AM