Ukraine Speaker Recalls Parliament Before Elections

KIEV, Ukraine -- The speaker of Ukraine’s parliament recalled lawmakers yesterday for an extraordinary session of parliament on July 31, two months before the country holds a general election.

Speaker Oleksander Moroz

News agencies reported that Speaker Oleksander Moroz, leader of the Socialist Party allied to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, had convened the session to review regulations governing the September 30 vote.

Yanukovich, leader of the Party of Regions based in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east, has been at loggerheads with pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko for much of this year and a deal to go to the polls was meant to break the impasse.

Opposition leaders accused Moroz of reneging on the pact, designed to ensure that campaigning, which starts in early August, is fair.

“Holding an extraordinary session not only poses a threat to a democratic and civilised exit from this crisis by way of elections, but also draws the attention of the international community to Ukraine,” RIA-Novosti quoted Nikolai Tomenko, deputy leader of the Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko, as saying.

Opinion polls show that voters are likely to return a pro-Yanukovich majority, failing to break the political gridlock in Ukraine, a country of 47 million that falls into both the Russian and European spheres of influence.

Commentators also say that Moroz has little interest in the early polls, as opinion surveys show that his Socialists may fail to win enough votes to be returned to the Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament).

Source: Gulf Times