Ukraine President Wants Election Day Set

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's president warned political opponents Thursday his patience was running out on setting a date for early parliamentary elections and threatened to turn the decision over to his national security council.

Viktor Yushchenko says his patience with Yanukovych's foot-dragging is running out.

Ukraine has been mired in a political crisis since President Viktor Yushchenko's April 2 decree dissolving parliament and calling snap elections — a move he said was necessary to prevent Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych from usurping power.

Yanukovych and his majority in parliament ignored the decision, calling it unconstitutional.

Last Friday, Yanukovych caved in to the president's call for the early parliamentary vote. But the two leaders did not agree on a date or the procedure for holding the vote, and instead turned those decisions over to a specially created group made up of their allies.

That group has so far failed to make any decisions, with Yushchenko and his allies supporting a vote in July and Yanukovych's allies preferring October.

On Thursday, Yushchenko summoned the group to his office for a nearly two-hour meeting broadcast live on television in which the president harangued them for the lack of progress and the politicians blamed one another.

"You don't have time to drag out the decision," Yushchenko said. "The working group has been meetings for five days. Five days, colleagues, to decide two key questions: the date of the election and a packet (of laws) that must be adopted to guarantee the election. ... That's not such a difficult task."

If the group does not produce results, Yushchenko said he would "be forced to call an extraordinary session of the National Security Council and make a decision there."

The 15-person Security Council run by Yushchenko largely does the president's bidding.

Source: AP