Ukrainian parliament agree on election plan to end crisis


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Kiev : Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko Friday agreed with his political opponent Viktor Yanukovich to hold national parliament elections, as a first step towards ending the country's month-old constitutional crisis.

Yushchenko and Yanukovich, representing the pro-Europe and pro-Russian wings of Ukrainian politics, had been meeting for talks almost every working day since the crisis began in early April.

"Our main agreement today is that we have taken the decision in principle that there should be early (parliamentary) elections, and that to do that those elections should be free and democratic," Yushchenko said.

A long-time opponent of government corruption, Yushchenko on April 2 ordered parliament dissolved, charging the parliament majority – led by Yanukovich – had violated constitutional statute by allowing MPs elected on one party slate to switch alliances to another.

"We have come to the common conclusion that there is no other way out of this crisis but elections," Yanukovich said. "But they need to be on the basis of law and human rights."

Yanukovich in previous statements has insisted that new parliamentary elections should also include a Presidential vote. Yushchenko in early May rejected the idea outright.

A "working group" with representatives from the two political camps would study "means of going forward" with the elections, Yanukovich said, giving no time line.

Ukraine's parliament which has continued to meet despite Yushchenko's order, Friday morning took a step towards allowing the country's election machinery to work, cancelling a law mandating an overhaul of membership of the national central election committee.

The cancellation was another Yushchenko Friday success, as the members of the CEC now back at their posts are all Yushchenko appointees, and have run two national elections generally acknowledged as fair and open, in December 2004 and in March 2006.