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Ukraine election date is uncertain, says president

22.10.2008 | 17:19

He said the election was vital to end the confrontation

President Viktor Yushchenko said on Wednesday a date for an early election could not be set until parliament, blocked by protests, approved finance for the poll, and measures to help Ukraine through the world financial crisis, Forbes reported.

The president dissolved parliament this month and called a Dec. 7 election to the assembly after accusing his chief rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, of torpedoing a government team linked to the 2004 `Orange Revolution`.

On Monday, he lifted the dissolution order `for a few days` -- while an International Monetary Fund holds talks on granting Ukraine credit -- and said he was putting the election back by a week to Dec. 14. But Tymoshenko`s allies have blocked the chamber`s activity by swarming around the speaker`s chair.

`If the prime minister`s blockade delays examination of a stabilisation fund and amendments to the 2008 budget, including funding for the election, there could be a postponement,` Yushchenko told reporters, referring to the election date.

He said the election was vital to end the confrontation which has dogged Ukrainian politics practically since he was swept to power on the back of the 2004 mass `orange` protests.

`An early election will rid us of the impossible feeling that Ukrainian politicians are constantly up against one another,` he was quoted as saying. If parliament acted quickly, he said, the election could still take place on December 7.

Parliament failed to sit for the second straight day. The chairman closed the session amid scenes of deputies charging through the chamber, some carrying chairs to block entrances.

Tymoshenko says the poll is `reckless` amid the financial crisis and vowed to oppose any move to finance the poll.

She told reporters her cabinet had drafted measures, some critical for the IMF credit, that she hoped would be examined by parliament on Wednesday. These include caps on social spending and the civil service and measures to stabilise banks, the sector most likely to be affected by the world crisis.

`Let there be criticism of the prime minister, the finance minister or the government,` she said after a cabinet meeting.

`But please let no one engage in polemics over this anti-crisis package on the pretext that if things get worse that improves one`s electoral chances.`

The National Security Council, made up of the president, premier and top officials, approved its own measures this week.

Tymoshenko wants the resinstatement of the `orange` governing team, which collapsed last month when the president`s Our Ukraine party quit its alliance with the premier`s bloc.

Joining the president in backing the early election is opposition leader and ex-prime minister Viktor Yanukovich, whose Regions Party is parliament`s biggest group.

A poll published this week showed an election unlikely to produce much change in the chamber. Tymoshenko`s bloc led with 20.7 percent, followed by the Regions Party with 19.5 percent and Our Ukraine far behind with 7.3 percent.

Forbes, Reuters


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