Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Ukrainian Constitutional Crisis

Ukraine's president accused parliament Wednesday of destabilizing the country's political situation with its decision to oust the Cabinet over an agreement with Russia that sharply raises natural gas costs for the ex-Soviet republic.

President Viktor Yushchenko, speaking in Kazakhstan, called Tuesday's parliamentary vote "unclear, illogical and wrong" and criticized lawmakers for taking it 80 days before legislative elections.

"The decision was made by a parliament that was elected four years ago by the old regime and is living its last weeks," Yushchenko told reporters. "The decision only demonstrates one thing: destabilization of the situation."

Top Ukrainian officials, and even some opposition leaders, called the vote a ploy aimed at paralyzing Yushchenko's government ahead of March parliamentary elections. Those elections could determine whether Ukraine will continue on Yushchenko's pro-Western course.

Lawmakers in the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada voted 250-50 with two abstentions to fire Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov and his Cabinet, but required that the government continue working until a new Cabinet is appointed.

Yekhanurov dismissed the vote as illegal and vowed his Cabinet would continue working unimpeded.

From here.

As I thought, the Ukrainians are going into a constitutional crisis. The question is whether by this time next week whether or not the Verkhovna Rada will find common ground enough for the Ukrainian government to function until the elections.

Interestingly, its been suggested that it was Russian interests that pulled down the government. If this gets too out of hand, the Russians will have an excuse to intervene.


Is Putin that estupido?

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