Political Crisis In Ukraine Enters Critical Stage

KIEV, Ukraine -- The political crisis in Ukraine entered a critical stage today after legislators missed a deadline to form a new government.

Viktor F. Yanukovich, in dark suit at center, at a political gathering in Kiev, Ukraine. He has benefited from dwindling support for President Viktor A. Yushchenko, whose party has been accused of corruption.

Under the constitution, the parliamentary majority had until midnight on July 24 to form a new government. If it failed to do so, the president could dissolve the legislature and call new elections.

But the new, pro-Russian coalition, which has nominated Viktor Yanukovych for prime minister, cannot form a government until the president has formally approved the nomination.

President Viktor Yushchenko says he has until August 2 to consider Yanukovych's nomination.

Yanukovych's fraud-tainted win in the 2004 presidential election sparked the Orange Revolution, the mass street protests that eventually brought Yushchenko into office.

Yushchenko's former Orange Revolution allies have urged him to dissolve parliament and to call new elections to prevent Yanukovych from becoming prime minister.

Source: Radio Free Europe