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Yushchenko interference unconstitutional - Ukraine parl. speaker

The chairman of Ukraine's unicameral 450-seat parliament, Oleksandr Moroz, said Monday at a meeting with EU and G8 diplomats that the president should not interfere with the Supreme Rada's activity.
KIEV, April 2 (RIA Novosti) - The chairman of Ukraine's unicameral 450-seat parliament, Oleksandr Moroz, said Monday at a meeting with EU and G8 diplomats that the president should not interfere with the Supreme Rada's activity.

After 11 opposition members, from the parliamentary factions of Our Ukraine and the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc, joined the ruling coalition led by President Viktor Yushchenko's arch rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, March 23, Yushchenko said the move was unconstitutional and threatened to dissolve parliament.

Moroz called presidential interference unacceptable and said the Supreme Rada's activity was within the Constitution.

"We will try to reach a compromise on issues that are within the Constitution," he said.

The German and U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine called for a compromise and urged observance of democratic principles.

Moroz also held a meeting with a U.S. Congress commission, where he said the Ukrainian crisis was "artificial."

"I guarantee parliament will work in a stable way. The Supreme Rada will act only within the Constitutional framework, and we will allow no one, not even the president, to go beyond its limits," he said.

First deputy parliament speaker, Adam Martynyuk, told a briefing Monday that there could be some provocation in the Rada Tuesday.

"Some want to bring smoke grenades with them, so access to the session hall will be limited," he said.

The president, who came to power on the back of the "orange revolution" in 2004, demanded Friday that he and the prime minister draft a joint address to the Constitutional Court to hold lawmakers responsible for defections.

Yushchenko said that at the beginning of the Supreme Rada's work, the parliamentary majority numbered 239 votes, but grew to 260 in eight months.

The president has not ruled out the possibility of early elections, and his secretariat has already prepared a draft decree that tentatively schedules polls for May 27.

Martynyuk said Saturday that the coalition could impose a moratorium on deputies joining the parliamentary majority until the Constitutional Court makes a ruling on the issue.

"We are ready to return to the original coalition of 238 deputies and temporarily impose a moratorium on those wanting to join the coalition," Martynyuk told journalists.

Bogatyryova, who is a coordinator of the parliamentary majority, also said the coalition believes President Yushchenko cannot sign a parliament dissolution decree, as it would contradict the Constitution.

She said that if the president signs such a decree, the coalition will turn to the Constitutional Court in protest.

But Yushchenko's representative in the Rada, Roman Zvarych, said presidential decrees are mandatory, and that the Constitutional Court has no authority to suspend any legal act until it has been implemented.

The leader of the Communist Party faction, Petro Simonenko, said Monday the Rada will consider the current political situation in Ukraine Tuesday.

Parliamentary elections in Ukraine in March 2006 saw the Party of Regions come first, followed by the Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine. The Party of Regions, the Socialists and the Communists formed a majority coalition after five months of political wrangling, and elected Yanukovych prime minister in August.

The power struggle between the prime minister and the president broke out after the country was transformed from a presidential into a parliamentary republic by constitutional amendments following the "orange revolution."

Both supporters and those against the dissolution of the Supreme Rada held mass rallies in the center of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, Saturday. Police said more than 30,000 coalition supporters participated, while more than 25,000 took to the streets to support the opposition.

Coalition supporters were also reported earlier Monday to be holding a 15,000-strong rally protesting against the possible dissolution of the Rada, a Party of Regions representative said.

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