Ukraine's Parliament Refuses To Fire Security Chief, Dealing Blow To Yushchenko

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine lawmakers on Thursday refused to dismiss the head of the country's state security service, dealing a blow to President Viktor Yushchenko.

Viktor Yushchenko (L) and Ihor Drizhchany (R)

The vote of 183-8 was not enough to push through the president's proposal to sack Ihor Drizhchany, parliament needing a minimum of 226 votes to adopt any decision.

Yushchenko had asked parliament to dismiss Drizhchany late last month and he appointed him the deputy head of the security and defense council without waiting for the lawmakers to act.

The governing coalition in the 450-seat parliament called Yushchenko's move illegal and refused to take part in the vote.

"The president violates the constitution too often," said Taras Chornovil, a member of the majority coalition.

Drizhchany, who has headed the security agency since September 2005, has seen his name linked to many of Ukraine's messy political battles.

The agency has been involved in investigating some of the nation's highest profile crimes, including the still unsolved 2004 dioxin poisoning of Yushchenko and the killing of investigative journalist Heorhiy Gongadze in 2000.

Source: Kyiv Post