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Ukrainian president fires a second Constitutional Court judge

Ukrainian president fires a second Constitutional Court judge

President Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday dismissed a second Constitutional Court judge in as many days, increasing the likelihood that the court will be unable to make a ruling in the more than four-week-old political crisis seizing this ex-Soviet republic.
Yushchenko signed a decree in early April dissolving the 450-seat legislature and ordering new parliamentary elections for late May. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his majority in parliament have refused to fulfill the decree, and have set their hopes on the Constitutional Court to declare it unconstitutional.
Yushchenko's office announced that the president had dismissed Judge Syuzanna Stanik for "a violation of (her) oath." Yushchenko had earlier accused Stanik of corruption, citing an allegation that a member of her family had received expensive real estate. She denied the charge, and the Prosecutor General's Office also defended her.
On Monday, Yushchenko fired another judge on the 18-judge panel, accusing him of violating court procedure. Both judges were part of the six-judge quota that Yushchenko can appoint to the bench, but both were appointed by his predecessor, President Leonid Kuchma.
Under Ukrainian law, the court needs a 12-judge quorum to work. Before the court took the case, five of the 18 judges said that they believed Yushchenko's decree was constitutional and that they would not participate in the hearings. They later showed up to participate, but if those judges _ considered allies of the president _ now bow out, the court will no longer have a quorum.
Many analysts say that Yushchenko is protecting himself in expectation that the court's decision will go against him. Last week, he canceled his previous decree and reissued it, changing the date of elections to June 24. His office then told the court that it should stop considering the earlier decree, but the court continued to deliberate.
Ukraine's political crisis 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 a majority coalition.


Updated : 2021-07-24 11:03 GMT+08:00