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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT CALLS ON PARLIAMENT TO END WORK... Viktor Yushchenko on June 12 called on parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz and ruling-coalition deputies in the Verkhovna Rada to stop performing their duties, Ukrainian media reported. Yushchenko stressed that, according to his deal with Moroz and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on May 27, the withdrawal of more than 150 opposition lawmakers from parliament earlier this month has made the Verkhovna Rada illegitimate (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 7, 2007). "I guess that at present parliament reminds many of the anecdote about demobilized soldiers who got so drunk that they missed their station," Yushchenko said at a news conference in Kyiv. "We agreed that parliament would end its work. Colleagues, end this work! Give peace to the country!" Yushchenko said. JM

...AS SPEAKER QUESTIONS LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DISSOLVING PARLIAMENT. Parliament speaker Moroz told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service on June 12 that the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada has no legal grounds to dissolve itself, since it still has more than 300 deputies, the minimum needed for it to legitimately function. According to Moroz, just 79 opposition lawmakers filed formally correct resignation statements, meaning that Our Ukraine and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc still need to supply at least 72 resignations in order to terminate the current legislature. Moroz also asserted that Yushchenko's June 5 decree calling for new elections on September 30 is unlawful. In Moroz's opinion, Yushchenko has the right to issue such a decree no sooner than 60 days before the election date, that is, on August 1. "I can say straightforwardly: The coalition and the government work within the framework of the law, while the president and the opposition work outside this framework," Moroz added. JM