Ukraine will have new president by Christmas

Yushchenko and Yanukovich shake hands after talks

The government of Ukraine has stepped down according to the decision from 229 deputies of the Ukrainian parliament, the Supreme Rada. The deputies presented the vote of no confidence to the government chaired by Viktor Yanukovich and pronounced his program unfulfilled. President Leonid Kuchma and parliament speaker Vladimir Litvin have been charged with establishing a “coalition government of the people's trust.” The new government will have to start working before a new head of state appears in Ukraine.

Deputies of the opposition rejoiced at the news. A crowd of 100,000 people outside the building of the parliament started chanting “Yush-chen-ko!” Having voted for the resignation of the government, the deputies closed the session of the Supreme Rada and told the crowd about the “first victory.”

Viktor Yanukovich's press secretary, Anna German, told reporters that the decision of the Ukrainian parliament had no legal effect without the president's agreement. If Leonid Kuchma does not sign the document, the parliament will have to look for over 300 deputies to beat the president's veto. The parliament, German said, could not pass the vote of no confidence to the government before April 25th, for it approved the program of the ministers' activity in March of this year. According to the law, the government may continue working for 12 more months.

Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovich, the two presidential candidates, sat down to negotiate on Tuesday night in Kiev. Incumbent Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, presidents of Lithuania and Poland Valdas Adamkus and Aleksander Kwasniewski, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov, took part in the talks for the second time (the first meeting took place on Friday). The second discussion was much more productive than the previous one: Leonid Kuchma stated that the sides had found a compromise. The Ukrainian president emphasized that all sides of the talks signed the joint statement, which was approved as a result of the talks.

There are several paragraphs in the agreement. The politicians agreed to form the government of Ukraine on the base of certain amendments to the law about the presidential election and the draft law about the political reform, which stipulates new powers for the parliament and the president of Ukraine. In addition, it was said that the poll crisis would be settled peacefully, without the use of force. Finally, the sides agreed to unblock the national power agencies to give them a possibility to work. The negotiators also called upon the government of Ukraine to do everything possible to preserve the territorial integrity of the nation.

The next discussion is to take place after the Supreme Court of Ukraine brings down its decision regarding the suit filed by the opposition. The decision will make it clear, whether Ukraine holds the new presidential election or conducts another voting. The opposition, however, rejects the opportunity of the new election. Viktor Yushchenko's followers can only accept a revote. Another presidential campaign would not be a guarantee for the opposition's victory. If the government of Ukraine nominates a different candidate instead of Yanukovich, a lot of people might vote for him. Therefore, the opposition insists on a revote, not the new election.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana stated in Kiev that Ukraine would have its new president by Christmas, or a bit later. Solana also hopes for the verdict from the Supreme Court of Ukraine. He believes that the new election or another voting should take place within a month for political and economic reasons. According to the European official, both Yushchenko and Yanukovich must participate in the process.

Supreme Court members find themselves in a very uncomfortable situation: they will have to find a solution that would be good for everyone. A compromise would be out of question otherwise.

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Author`s name Olga Savka