Ukraine's Parliament Extends Session Amid Turmoil

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's parliament has extended its session by one week as the row with the President over the terms of a costly gas deal with Russia rumbled on.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov gestures during an interview with the Associated Press in his office in Kiev, Ukraine.

The Parliament and President Viktor Yushchenko are each accusing the other of violating the constitution after deputies voted to dismiss the government over the deal, just two months before a parliamentary election.

Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said the session would be prolonged until January 20 following Mr Yushchenko's request for parliament to stay on to pass a number of laws that were key to supporting the economy.

It had planned to go into recess on Friday and reconvene on February 17.

"The President wants the passage of another 30 laws," Mr Lytvyn told deputies during the discussions.

A total of 241 deputies in the 450-seat chamber backed the move.

Ukraine was plunged into a constitutional crisis when parliament voted on Tuesday to sack the Government of Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov over the deal under which Ukraine will pay almost double for its natural gas imports from Russia.

Mr Yushchenko says the vote was unconstitutional and has demanded parliament retract it.

He has also said Mr Yekhanurov will stay on as premier until the March 26 elections.

Mr Yushchenko's one-time ally and now rival, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, said the President's demands were unconstitutional and told him to "rethink his role".

The parliamentary election, the first since the West-leaning Yushchenko came to power after the "Orange Revolution" of mass protests in December 2004, will usher in a new system which shifts some powers to parliament from the presidency.

Analysts say the chances of parliament reversing its vote against the government are slim since Ms Tymoshenko has joined forces with the opposition representing the administration ousted in 2004.

Mr Yushchenko allies have less than one third of votes at the moment.

The extension of the session will also provide parliament with time to push the government for more details on the gas deal with Russia.

Ukraine and Russia agreed on higher prices for gas imports this year following months of bitter disputes which peaked on January 1 when Russia's gas giant Gazprom cut off supplies to Kiev, briefly hurting its customers in Europe.

Under the new deal, Ukraine will start paying $US95 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas compared with $US50 previously. The increase is much lower than $US230 initially demanded by Russia but deputies remain angry over the plan.

Source: Reuters


Anonymous said…
Without meaning to be disrespectful to the Ukrainian society how can those wishing to "can" Yuri ever have a clear underestanding of the diplomacy that was applied well by Mr. Yuschenko. This man is pouring every part of his blood and soul and mental well being for better conditions for his Ukrainian People and instead of those opposing officials supporting and acknowledging concessions are a reality to any negotiations they choose to try to "sabotage" any constructive headway.
It's not bad enough that Russia continually it seems wishes to swallow-up and control the Ukraine again, those in positions to help and support the "common good" seem to be continually vying for their own "separate fragmented politcal stages of recognition". The Ukraine needs to rally around positive constructive approaches and stop all the in-fighting and road-blocking to execute as quickly and firmly a good foundation that will benefit the good for the people in the long run. Those in the Ukraine expecting "Quick Fixes" by their own attitudes are un-realistic and sadly neive realizing the extent of the problems that existed before Mr Yuschenko took office and this huge under-taking to "clear-house" to pave the way for improved conditions.
There is a price to pay for freedom, not everyone will individually prosper and benefit immediately, certainly not those who stand in the backgrounds criticizing instead of supporting with optimisim and a confidence in their leader, Mr. Yuschenko. I have been following the political upheaveals for some time now and would have to say that Mr. Yuschenko is the "Best of the Best" person able and capable to make things better for all and I just wished people would unite around him more and trust his judgment, LET HIM DO HIS JOB WITH COOPERATION NOT DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!