Ukrainian President dissolves Parliament, calls snap elections

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Moscow, Oct 9 (UNI) Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko dissolved parliament last night weeks after the collapse of the country's ruling pro-Western coalition and announced snap elections.

The coalition collapsed after Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko backed a move to reduce the President's powers.

Mr Yushchenko, who is visiting Italy, announced Ukraine's third general election in less than three years on television, in a pre-recorded speech, accusing the Prime Minister of her ''thirst for power.'' No date was set for the snap polls.

Under the Ukrainian constitution, the President has the right to dissolve parliament, the Supreme Rada, in the event of no coalition being formed within 30 days.

''In conformity with the constitution, I am announcing the termination of the Supreme Rada's powers and the holding of parliamentary elections,'' he said.

The country's pro-Western ruling coalition collapsed on September 3 when the pro-presidential Our Ukraine withdrew from the alliance after Ms Tymoshenko's block joined with the opposition Party of Regions, led by pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych, to approve legislation substantially cutting presidential powers.

The President called the move a ''constitutional coup.'' The coalition was officially dissolved on September 16.

Many analysts believe that Ms Tymoshenko will stand for President in 2010.

She and Mr Yushchenko were allies during the 2004 ''Orange Revolution'' which swept pro-Western forces to power after a discredited presidential election.

Ms Tymoshenko earlier blocked a parliamentary vote to condemn Russia's ''aggression'' in Georgia during the recent conflict over South Ossetia and resisted the President's attempts to impose restrictions on Russia's Black Sea Fleet, currently stationed in Ukraine's Sevastopol port, as ''populist.'' Mr Yushchenko subsequently accused her of being a Kremlin agent.

UNI XC SW PM1404

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