Ukraine's President Signs Law On September 30 Snap Polls

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree Tuesday formalizing his earlier deal with the prime minister to hold early parliamentary elections September 30.

Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko

Yushchenko and his archrival, Viktor Yanukovych, agreed May 27 to hold snap elections in a bid to end the protracted political crisis in Ukraine, which was threatening to turn violent as troops loyal to both leaders were being drawn into the power struggle.

Last week, Yushchenko suspended his April 2 order to dissolve the Supreme Rada for four days to give the legislature time to pass laws clearing the way for snap polls and refresh the Central Election Commission (CEC).

And 195 lawmakers from two factions in opposition to the premier-controlled majority coalition quit the 450-member legislature to prevent the coalition, still reluctant to dissolve, from continuing its work.

Tuesday's decree tasks the CEC, which now comprises eight coalition and eight opposition members, with preparing for the elections and the Cabinet with allocating about $73 million for the polls.

Yushchenko has been pressing for parliament's dissolution and early elections following the defection by 11 opposition members to the ruling coalition, which the president said was an attempt to "usurp power."

Moscow-friendly Yanukovych, who was defeated by Yushchenko in the contested presidential elections in 2004, eventually agreed to early polls, ending two months of political infighting and street rallies.

Yanukovych returned to politics last year, when his party won the majority of seats in parliament and formed the ruling coalition.

Source: RIA Novosti

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