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Ukrainian lawmakers vote for simultaneous early presidential, parliamentary ballot

Ukrainian lawmakers vote for simultaneous early presidential, parliamentary ballot

Ukrainian lawmakers increased pressure on President Viktor Yushchenko Monday, passing a nonbinding resolution that calls for simultaneous early presidential and parliamentary elections.
Yushchenko signed a decree earlier this month dissolving the 450-seat legislature and ordering new parliamentary elections for late May. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, however, and his majority in parliament have refused to fulfill the decree, and challenged it before the Constitutional Court, which is still deliberating.
Unable to get funding for the election from the Yanukovych-controlled government, Yushchenko postponed the election until June 24, but has said he will not back down from holding it.
Lawmakers in parliament voted 234-0 to hold joint early parliamentary and presidential elections no later than Dec. 9. However, the constitution would have to be changed to force early presidential elections, and lawmakers need a minimum 300 votes to do that.
Currently, only 254 lawmakers are participating in the disbanded parliament; allies of Yushchenko have given up their seats.
Ukraine's political stalemate erupted after Yushchenko accused Yanukovych of trying to usurp power by wooing pro-presidential lawmakers over to the majority coalition. But tension between the two leaders had been building since Yanukovych returned to power as premier after his party won the most votes in last year's election and put together the majority coalition.
Also Monday, Yushchenko signed an order dismissing a Constitutional Court judge from the 18-judge bench, citing "a violation of (his) oath." Yushchenko's office said Valeriy Pshenychny circumvented the chief court justice to ensure that the case was heard, violating court procedure.
Yushchenko has been highly critical of the court, suggesting it was not up to the task of determining if his dissolution decree is constitutional.
Under Ukrainian law, the president gets to appoint six judges to the court; Pshenychny is from the president's quota but he was appointed in 2003 by Yushchenko's predecessor, Leonid Kuchma.
The court needs only a 10-judge quorum to work, and 12 judges to issue rulings so Pshenychny's dismissal was unlikely to have any immediate impact.


Updated : 2021-05-14 21:56 GMT+08:00