Ukraine's Interim Parliament Leaders Fail To End Crisis

KIEV, Ukraine -- A session of the Ukrainian parliament's interim presidium that opened Tuesday morning failed to overcome the latest obstacle in attempts to start legislative work following the March 26 elections.

The session made an unsuccessful attempt to end the blockade of the Supreme Rada's rostrum by about 15 members of the opposition Party of Regions, who are continuing a sit-in started last Monday to prevent the start of a plenary session in protest over a coalition formed by three other movements.

The Party of Regions - which gained the most seats in the Rada (186) after the elections but was frozen out of talks between Western-leaning Our Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialist Party (overall 243 seats) - has demanded that the positions of speaker, prime minister, and parliamentary committee portfolios be distributed via a parliamentary vote.

President Viktor Yushchenko is expected to hold a conciliation conference with the leaders of all political forces in parliament, except the Communist Party, later on Tuesday.

The decision to hold the conference was made during a telephone conference between Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych, Party of Regions leader and his main rival in the 2004 presidential elections. The moves follow an unsuccessful roundtable Monday initiated by the president that only the Communist Party leader attended.

Source: RIA Novosti