Yushchenko, Lytvyn In Talks To End Crisis

KIEV, Ukraine -- President Viktor Yushchenko and Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn have been holding talks Wednesday on ways of ending a political crisis that had aggravated last week following a no-confidence vote in the government.

Yushchenko (L) and Lytvyn (R)

The talks, which continued late Wednesday, have been focused on whether a panel of Constitutional Court judges can be sworn in Thursday in Parliament to finally make the court operational.

The court may be instrumental in resolving an escalating dispute between the president and Parliament over a number of disputes, ranging from the recent government’s dismissal to constitutional amendments.

“The dialog on this matter still continues,” Anatoliy Kinakh, the secretary of National Security and Defense Council, said late Wednesday. “Based on its results there will be the final decision on whether the president can join the parliamentary session on Thursday.”

Lawmakers on Tuesday invited Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov to join the parliamentary session on Thursday in order to exchange views on the resolution of the political crisis.

The crisis escalated Jan. 10 when Parliament had approved the no-confidence vote in the government, while the president and the prime minister had refused to accept the vote. Both, Yushchenko and Yekhanurov said the vote had violated the constitution.

Kinakh said Yushchenko and Yekhanurov could join the session in Parliament under two conditions, namely if the judges are sworn in and if Parliament cancels its no-confidence vote in the government.

The crisis has been worsening as the only court that could resolve the dispute, the Constitutional Court, had been out of service as terms of most of its judges had expired last month.

Parliament, which was supposed to approve its portion of the judges to the court, had failed to do so. It has also refused to sworn in judges that had been earlier nominated by Yushchenko and by an independent panel of judges.

Analysts said Lytvyn had probably sought to delay the appointment of the judges amid concern that the court could also cancel controversial constitutional amendments that had been pushed through by then-President Leonid Kuchma in December 2004.

The amendments reduce powers of the president and increase powers of Parliament, making the parliament speaker a key position in the country’s political system.

Yushchenko has been criticizing the amendments as not well thought-out and even dangerous to the country’s political system.

He has repeatedly threatened to appeal to the Constitutional Court to derail them before working out a new constitution that would be widely debated in the society.

Source: Ukrainian Journal