First Ukrainian President Kravchuk Urges Yushchenko To Resign

KIEV, Ukraine -- Leonid Kravchuk, the first president of an independent Ukraine, has called on incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko to resign and call early presidential elections.

First president of independent Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk.

"I see clearly that you are not focusing your attention on Ukraine's problems but thinking how to stay in power and are ready even to take advantage of the global financial crisis to this end," Kravchuk said in an address shown by most Ukrainian television channels on Tuesday evening.

"You apparently see the solution for yourself and your retinue in deliberately bringing the economic situation to the boiling point based on the 'the-worse-is-the-better' principle. Do you really see the imposition of the state of emergency as the best way to stay in power?" Kravchuk said.

He denounced what he sees as Yushchenko's tactic of shifting the blame for all problems to the government.

"As a matter of fact, this is exactly why you, Viktor Andriyovych, are trying to bring the situation to a critical point. However, publicly distancing yourself from the government and from responsibility for the situation in the country, you have refused to perform your constitutional duties," Kravchuk said.

"I see early presidential elections as the only solution. Most people are demanding this. Let me remind you that I agreed to early elections in my time. Did I want to do so? Certainly not," he said.

However, Kravchuk suggested that Yushchenko will act as a true patriot if he thoroughly analyzes the situation and his own position and resigns.

"This step could stop the tide of problems, calm society down, and give the hope for overcoming the crisis," he said.

Kravchuk, who was elected president in 1992, called early elections in 1994 and lost them to Leonid Kuchma, who then served as president for the next 10 years.

Source: Interfax