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Ukrainian leader expects parliament to settle political crisis

KIEV, May 31 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's president believes parliament will, by the end of the day, pass all bills needed to hold snap elections and overcome an ongoing political crisis, the presidential press service said.

Ukraine's parliament, the Supreme Rada, resumed sittings on Thursday morning to debate the set of laws, after failing to vote them in late Wednesday night.

"I am absolutely certain that we will draw a line under this conflict today," the press service quoted Viktor Yushchenko as saying.

Yushchenko gave lawmakers an extra day to decide on the legislation, in particular on amendments to the 2007 state budget relating to election campaign financing.

The press service said that if lawmakers fail to vote in the necessary bills, the opposition Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine factions will formally recall their deputies from the Supreme Rada at party congresses, and parliament will lose its legal power.

Under this outcome, "elections will be held in 60 days, in accordance with the Ukrainian Constitution" Yushchenko said.

The Tymoshenko Bloc said earlier Thursday that 106 of its 125 members in parliament had submitted formal requests to quit, which will now be considered by the parliamentary executive office.

Yushchenko and his archrival Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych finally agreed on Sunday to hold snap parliamentary elections on September 30, in a bid to end the political crisis simmering since the president dismissed parliament on April 2.

Yushchenko suspended his decree on parliament's dissolution for two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, to allow lawmakers to vote on the election laws, and then offered one extra day.

The decision to suspend the decree was reached after crisis talks between the Western-leaning president, the pro-Kremlin prime minister, and the parliamentary speaker.

The president is now on a visit to Croatia, which he has cut to just one day due to the uncertain situation in Kiev.

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